I have a hard time reading good writers I admire. Why? Because I am insanely jealous of their skill. Every time I read something clever, well written- so right I just sigh and think "I wish I had said that."
My taste in reading wanders all over the map and encompasses everything I can get my hands on. Since I work in the technical department at the library I get to see all the new books being processed and browse through the random collection on the carts before they are shelved in the oh so orderly Dewey Decimal way. A biography of Napoleon's sister, a book on architecture through the ages. An memoir by Adam Nimoy son of -yeah that guy. Every thing and anything catches my eye and I greedily read It. I tell my friends they are just raw material for my writing and reading is the same thing. Raw material.
My mom was a huge sci-fi/ fantasy fiction reader so I was raised on Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and Ursula Le Guin. Barbara Hambley's "Dragonsbane" has one of the most awesome dragons I've ever seen. "Lord of the Rings" is without a doubt a modern classic. It's also a long slog. This is the only time you will hear me say this but - watch the movie version, it's as good as the book.
When I started writing it was short stories that were my genre and inspiration. I read "The Stranger" by Mark Twain and "The Lottery" a famous short story by Shirley Jackson. I finally got around to reading her story and was left puzzled by it for a couple of days until I happen to be watching the news and the latest incident of insanity then I understood.
"The Commitment" by Dan Savage. His writing flows from humor to pathos with the ease of a magician. Damn, how can I write like that? Kathy Griffin's memoir is like sitting with her at a bar, spilling out her sorrows and buying you drinks. Christopher Buckley's book about the death of his mother and father -the other famous Buckley is the funniest thing I've ever read.
All I can say kids is that reading will never go out of fashion as long as there is a story to tell and there will always be a story to tell.