Does reading make you a better person?

Reading is a solitary pleasure, but what exactly does it do to you as a human being? Make you better, worse, same? Salon has an article up about the topic and I’ll just quote the subtitle, which I think should be enough for you to want to read it (did the trick with me):

A critic says Jane Austen taught him to be a more decent man, but the world is full of well-read jerks.

I haven’t read much Jane Austen, so I may be a jerk because or despite of it.