I've been submitting sections from my next novel as short stories to competitions. Managed to get to the short list of the Wordsmith's competition but no further. Curses. Fortunately they were generous with feedback and I've incorporated their ideas to, hopefully, make a better short story. By abstracting sections like this, it does make me focus on the writing even more than I did before. So it could be that an enforced delay (how could the publishing world be so short sighted?) is a benefit - and I don't just mean sparing the discerning reading public - I've suffered for my art now it's their turn.
In my own reading, I took a brief diversion for Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One, a brilliant title and a great plot. A love story given the Waugh treatment. It does make modern writers seem earnest and po-faced.