I believe that, if you really want to be a good writer, you have to be a reader. My high school English teacher, Mr. Kopacki, showed me the riches that are found in books. It was because of Mr. Kopacki that I decided to major in English in college and become an English teacher (I teach at Fullerton College and Cal State Fullerton).
The writer C.S. Lewis once said, "We read to know we're not alone." A lot of great literature is about people trying to understand life. Reading is an exercise in empathy. Books continue to challenge and inspire me. In our modern technological age, choosing to read a book can be a statement, an act of rebellion. My favorite portable media device is still a book.