Reading allows us to travel to times, places and situations that we might not otherwise experience. Most of use will never travel the entire world and unless science changes dramatically none of us will ever see the past! Reading allows us to experience so many things we would never otherwise experience.
In addition I think it is VERY important to read and learn about people, places and experiences that are unlike your own. If you are only ever exposed to one type of life, it is easy to form misconceptions and prejudices about other people, places and ways of life. The best way to end racism, prejudice, discrimination, religious tension and overall violence and hatred is education. If we can read and learn about other people and their cultures and beliefs we can start to understand them better. Understanding is the key to harmony. The more we read about those different from us, the more we understand our similarities, but also how and why we are different and how to move past those differences.
Lastly, if we only ever read about things we can easily relate to, stories that are like us, reading quickly becomes boring rather than always being a new and exciting adventure.