During Left Coast Crime 2016 #LLC2016 I was a little, I was going to say alarmed, but lets cut it down to concerned, to hear comments to the point that as authors we don't read very much anymore; we are too busy writing. Makes you wonder do we read each others books? Mystery writers are very friendly willing to help their fellow writers with advise, marketing ideas, passing on of knowledge etc. but to what avail if we don't stop and smell the book glue?
Doubling duty as a reviewer as well as author, I do read many of my friends books and there are some magnificant books to be consumed. I also feel that even as genre writers we don't need to pigeon-hole our style and should feel the ability to pass on a little literature into our work. I asked some if they had read particular authors that I have made a habit of reading just because they are gosh, just darn good storytellers and was surprised to be met with blank looks.
Now while these authors names may not trip off the tongue as easily as say John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Wouk, Norman Mailer, Daphne du Maurier, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, Stephen King the following as especially worthy of your attention (recommended books in parentheses). Nevil Shute (A Town Like Alice; The Pied Piper; The Chequer Board), Jim Crace (Harvest; Quarantine; The Pest House; All That Follows), Jennifer McMahon (Winter People; Dismantled; Promise Not To Tell), Jo Nesbo (the Harry Hole detective series), David Morrell - pick any you can't go wrong, Paul Cleave (his Theodore Tate detective series), Luis Alberto Urrea (The Hummingbird's Daughter; Queen of America; Into The Beautiful North).
It’s okay to put down the laptop for a little while and get lost in someone else’s world for the moment. It may expand your horizons and expand the grey matter and who knows, improve your writing.