A lot of writers hear over and over, “Reading makes you a better writer.” It is true, and then again it isn’t true. Reading for pleasure is certainly a good thing, and should be done! But to improve as writers, we have to open our mind up further and see how the words on the page affect us, whether positively or negatively.
We need to read as writers: pull our the elements of craft, character, POV, setting, plot and realize how they are being used. Sometimes it takes multiple passes to catch, and others not much. This allows us to incorporate other styles of writing, and use what we like to read.
I don’t always read like this, but I do notice the elements as I read, and try to figure out how a particular author uses them in his/her story. It’s much easier for shorter pieces, but harder on longer works.
Anyway, as writers we need to read, read, read. Even if you only read for pleasure, you’ll still pick up bits and pieces here and there. Try though, to read as a writer the next time you pick up your favorite book.