|Not a bad read.|
One, because they're awesome, and, two, because you suck.
The last book I read, "A Very Private Gentleman," was awesome. Similarly, Joe Abercrombie's "Best Served Cold," which I'm reading right now, is awesome. And, on the one hand, that's awesome. There's no greater feeling to have when you're going about your day than knowing that you have a phenomenal book to get to at the end of it. Indeed, I sometimes find myself quite literally shivering - sometimes even dancing in my chair - at the prospect of a good read.
But, by all the darns in the heck, a good book is a terrible thing for a writer. The whole time I read Martin Booth's assassin story, I just wished I could write an assassin story. Now, reading Abercrombie's fight-fest, I just want to write really bloody heroic fantasy.
This actually happens to me quite frequently. Sometimes, it can be a real pain, because I will actually start projects in whatever genre I'm reading just because the book I'm engrossed in is so darn good. The problem is, just because someone else can make a good go of it, doesn't always mean you can. Every writer tends to be stronger in some genres than others; I, for example, write really terrible magic systems, whereas I tend to write absolutely deadly puns.
(What? Don't bereave me?)
You want the solution? Please allow me to tell you: read books unrelated to your current project. While reading "A Very Private Gentleman," I worked on an epic fantasy story; now, reading "Best Served Cold," I'm writing steampunk. This means that these great books, while they might encourage me to write better, won't induce me to... plagiarize.
How about you kids? Do you get charged up by the books you read? Are you an insatiable copy-cat at heart like me?
Wait. I didn't say that last one. I got it from... another author.