We read, I think, to repair our solitude, though pragmatically the better we read, the more solitary we become. I cannot regard reading as a vice, but then also it is not a virtue. Thinking in Hegel is one thing; in Goethe, it is quite another. Hegel is not a wisdom writer; Goethe is. The deepest motive for reading has to be the quest for wisdom. Worldly wisdom is rarely wise, or even prudential. Shakespeare, grandest of entertainers, also is the wisest of teachers, though the burden of his teaching may be nihilism, which is the lesson of King Lear. I am not a joyous nihilist, since I am a schoolteacher by profession.
Sometimes one loneliness meeting another looks like prayer in the darkness. Sometimes it looks like a sandwich. Sometimes it gives rise to those more recognizable ways we collaborate on dissolving solitude: getting married, having a child.
Leslie Jamison reviewing Lila by Marilynne Robinson, (from here)