That's a very good idea, and something I like to do. You don't have to make money to enjoy and pursue the things you love to do. In between jobs I have always done personal art work, and sometimes the personal work is inspired by skills or new methods I learned and developed while working on a job. I also get inspired by what I see traveling to Greece, Turkey, Rome, Mexico or where ever, and then paint what I've photographed or seen. Of course...I get inspired just walking around my yard or as you say, reading a book!
My job has given me the chance to travel a little bit and I was definitely inspired by the new places but it seems that between the job, the house and cooking I don't have a whole lot of time for art, personal or otherwise (I would only disappoint someone if they commissioned me)! I try to make time, and it comes and goes in spurts but until I can find a way to stay home I don't think I will develop to my full artistic potential (its a real area of contention for me...only one more year left in my contract though)!