I've been a Fran Lebowitz fan for a long time. She's all over youtube at the moment because of the excellent Martin Scorsese film, Public Speaking (available on Netflix!)
Here's a clip of Lebowitz discussing Austen. I was especially interested in her remarks on reading, starting at about 1:18.
To lose yourself in a book is the desire of the bookworm .. I mean to be taken. That is my desire ... I want to be taken.
... This is the opposite way that people are taught to read now -- people are consistently told, you know, "what can you learn about your own life from this novel? What lessons will this teach you ...? How can you use this in your ...?" This is a Philistine idea. This is beyond vulgar, and I think that it's an awful way to approach anything. A book should be the same. It should take you away. A book is not supposed to be a mirror, it's supposed to be a door.