I was reading a post by anothor author who suggested a "reading list" of the best book to read if you aspire to become a writer. He was not wrong with his rota, read a book you wish to read then a "classic" but I simply wished to put in my thoughts as he is not wrong. "Yet I think me fine sir's and ladies that thee will no wish to pander to the language and nuances of the classics too often, erstwhile you may lose popular appeal, methinks.
So I think added to those classics of from an older age you should, every so often read a book that you would never consider reading, a genre that is alien to you, a style that you, at first, do not like, a book where you like the cover and nothing else. I was given this advice by a well known and rather prolific author many years ago. I have found it it to be great advice. Not only do you discover authors and styles that you may never have come across but it is an education in it’s own way. It also encourages you to jump genres.
Originaly my genre was Science fiction, unsurprisingly I also tackled a little fantasy here and there (the two were always linked). I have now written Romances, Historical fiction, Historical fact, and even a book of Faerie Tales. All because I followed this advice.
I hope that the aspiring authours out there will heed this advice. Good advice given and passed on. It often surprises me what I end up enjoying and what different styles influence my work.