Many pilots I know do some light reading but I’m not an avid reader (plus reading makes me tired which is worse than being bored). Me I usually use it as an excuse to look things up in the manuals. While some companies actually will list things not to do (music, movies etc), most just say you shouldn’t do things that will distract or prevent you from performing your duties. Much of the time there are things to keep you busy (sending position reports, checking fuel and occasionally plotting the course when you’re not on a “track”) plus on the longer flights we get rest breaks so it’s really not that bad.
Right now with the current shortage it really is a matter of building your time because the demand is so high. The airlines really don’t look at resumes as intently as other professions. It’s really a question of meeting their mins AND their corporate culture. You can have a great resume and all the time requirements but if you interview like a jerk you’re not getting hired and I think people forget that. Make sure you’re comfortable in an interview and just talking to people as a professional. As for what you can do to increase your ability to get hired I’d say don’t do anything that will make you less desirable. The airlines are still very conservative and the public has certain expectations as to how a pilot should look. Piercings and visible tattoos are still frowned upon and DUI/DWI’s are major career killers but far too many pilots don’t think about those things and end their careers before they even start.
Personally I believe flight instructing (while not everyone’s favorite) is still the best way to hone your skills. New pilots will do some wacky things and you must remain on your toes at all times or you could have a really bad day. That said some people don’t enjoy teaching or maybe aren’t particularly good at it. If you can get on with Moku there’s definitely nothing wrong with that.
While no one knows for certain it’s going to be a while. A friend told me United alone is looking at having 18,000 pilots by 2020 and Hawaiian (my airline) is looking to double the size of the pilot group in the same time frame. Things look very strong for the future.
Btw, you mention Moku, are you in Hawaii?