“A novel can change lives. Reading fiction is a more intimate – and as a result a more potentially profound – experience than watching a film, or a television series, or even hearing new music.
It is one person talking to another. If it is the right book at the right time, it can convey an important message of comfort and reassurance: you are not alone.
However determinedly schools and universities instil the importance of reading critically, a novel can break through society’s carefully erected barriers of respectability, responsible behaviour and correct thinking. For this reason, it is unlikely to have been tamed and institutionalised by being included on a reading list for exams.”