The Hague, The Netherlands
I can no longer resist the urge to answer your question: "What do you read and why ?", especially after reading the rest of this discussion.
I used to read anything that came at hand, but these days my preferences are:
fantasy, the occasional informative book on whatever my mind is interested in that particular moment, and of course..... poetry.
Most of the time I will reach for a Fantasy novel, as it requires no real effort from my mind. Itís a nice distraction from the real world and Iíll just read whatever theyíve written down. It really asks nothing more from me than to absorb whatever is there, and therefore easily forgotten aswell.
However, good poetry and prose do ask more of me than merely read.
It is an invitation to philosophize, to get in touch with my true self, and once on my mind, will stay there for at least a couple of hours, sometimes days.
I love to read R.M. Rilke, but always find I cannot read this any longer than half an hour, even in my own language (yes, English is not my native language). After that my mind is so filled with feelings, I have to think about it, let the feelings flow, explore all possibilities, and yes, sometimes it teaches me something new. Gives me a new and better view on life, my own feelings and something to work with, so whenever I read poetry or prose, it is time I need most. Maybe it is best compared to music. I may have the radio on most of the time, but like most people, will not know whatever song is on and will only really listen whenever thereís something of my interest. I also love classical music, but need time for this too, as Iíll enjoy it more when I really listen to the music, to be part of, to float away on the music... to the unknown......to get in touch with my true self.
So yes, maybe poetry is too close to the real world for a lot of people, as all they really want is to relax in words, as an escape from reality, and do not find it a challange to discover and explore their true self, maybe are even afraid of it.
Letís face it. Itís one of the hardest things in life: to look at yourself and see who and what you truly are, even the bad qualities, and to accept. : ) I always found it a challange and hope Iíll always keep an open mind, for thereís always room for improvement, and poetry does exactly that for me.