The power of literature is largely in imagination. Reading allows me to escape myself, to experience the world for someone, somewhere, somewhen else. The stories we read are largely imagined by the authors, and re-imagined by the readers. Reading takes us away from our own narrow experiences and into another experience.
But when I read, I do not set myself aside. I am a vegetarian, and when I read descriptions of animals being hunted or eaten, I became conscious of myself. I am a pacifist, and when I read depictions of violence, I become hyper-aware: what is happening, why is it happening, how is it being represented, etc.
And that is the paradoxical power of literature. Even as it can take you away from your Self, it thrusts you deeper into your Self.