As a writer, I tend to look upon literature in a very critical way. When I write a novel, I intend to bring about a change in the reader's view of the particular subject matter I am dealing with. I look for an 'expansion of consciousness' that may help the reader enhance her comprehension of issues that, quite often, she has already tagged, labeled, and committed to the back of her mind.
Bad literature leaves me cold, whereas good books set me thinking about issues that are either new to me or that are presented in an original form. In general, places, characters, and events depicted in literature arouse my curiosity, so one book leads to many others.
One advantage of reading is that I am free to imagine people and settings, avoiding the spoonfeeding provided by TV or movies. Reading is an interactive process. Let me quote a short paragraph from my book Reading for Personal Development (Jorge Pinto Books Inc., New York, 2011)
"Books call for intervention, in the same way as some forms of contemporary visual art appropriate an object and make a new imprint on it, thus turning it into a unique object, for every intervention is exclusive and individual. The key, indeed, is appropriation. Your copy, your interaction with the story, your conclusions. Books have an ending, but are not truly finished until readers reinterpret and actualize them."