As a writer, reading is paramount in importance. Reading is as essential to the writing process as food is to eating. At first, I resisted this notion because I didn't have a lot of time to read. I thought, "I can still write and not read!" True, you can.
However, I realized the writing is very much a collaboration. Often, in the midst of competition and pride, this sense gets lost and discarded for the sake of maintaining one's sense of writer dignity. I am blessed to be a part of two workshops in which the attendees all understand that we can be brutally honest when we constructively critique each other's work. We understand that their input is vital, and we respect each other.
So, reading is a collaboration. But what about published books?
Some people argue that listening to a book isn't as "legit" as reading it. I think both have their pluses and minuses. (That could be a whole blog post by itself. We'll save it for another time.) Nevertheless, audio books, though they will never replace the tangible book, have given me an opportunity to get consistent reading in.
The results? I find that I'm more consistently enthusiastic to write. Reading other people's stories gets me excited about mine. And not even considering all of the rest of possible consequences, I'd say that's a pretty good deal.