Reading books are important because books, like nothing else except personal contact, build empathy. Empathy is the ability to experience another person’s feelings and thoughts. Poetry or music also builds empathy. Empathy is sorely needed in this world, so full of misunderstanding and refusal to even try to understand another person’s culture or religion
If we just inform enough about other religions and other cultures people will change their behavior and peace will advance. No! That is not enough. We have to enter into the lives of other people and a great way of doing that is through literature, music and art. Information is important, discussion is important, but empathy is even more important.
Lack of empathy is like HIV for a society, it opens up to other problems that are lethal. When someone can continue to kick a person laying down, he is suffering from lack of empathy.
Is it at all possible that someone can think different than I do? Feel different that I do? Have different preferences in life? Empathy challenges egoism and helps us to discover the lives of other people.