Recently, in her blog, fellow Doctor Who author Kelly Hale said that when she's writing something, she doesn't tend to read other books.
Different authors have different approaches - there's no right way and wrong way to do this - and I'm the exact opposite, throwing myself at crazy amounts of books.
Now, I quite understand a writer not reading while they are writing something of their own. But Kelly was celebrating the fact she'd finished writing and could get back to her stack of books. Any aspiring writer has to read, and read widely, for all sorts of reasons. You don't want to be able to boast, as Garth Marenghi does, that he's written more books than he's read.
Here's what I read in the four months or so I was writing The Eyeless, courtesy of the lovely and highly-recommended Library Thing website.
Some of that is re-reading (I've lost count of the times I've read Name of the Rose, Kavalier and Clay and Casino Royale), very little of it is directly relevant to the book, some of those things are directly relevant to other things I'm working on. There are a couple of books in there that are pure research. And I was obviously on a James Bond and Iain Banks kick. Good luck trying to work out what The Eyeless is about from the list!