I would say, it is very common. Of course we would need to define how much is "a lot" or how much is "too little." But some economist do read fiction: Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, probably Greg Mankiw, probably Paul Krugman, and I am sure there are many others out there. Steven Landsburg has been a voracious reader of fiction these days. In a recent post he explains a project of going back and read great novels. This is his opinion on two of them:
The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky) (for the fourth time!). Arguably the greatest novel ever. The issue with the Brothers K is always the choice of a translation. The last time around (maybe ten years ago or so), I went with Pevear and Volokhonsky, and pronounced it by far the best. This time I went back to the classic Constance Garnett translation that I last read at age 16 — and reminded myself that this one is also great.
Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson): It depresses me that there’s a market for a book this bad. I slogged through the whole thing, but oh my God it was painful. What kept me going was the sprinkling of brilliant passages, and the occasional brilliant chapter — and when they were brilliant, they were very very brilliant. (Also, the vision of future technology, though dated, was clever and insightful.) But there was precious little of that, compared to the endless passages that made me feel like I was trapped in a theater, watching a really really bad movie directed by a no-talent hack who thought he could make me care about the heroine trapped in the basement by dragging the scene out for twenty minutes.
May be economists who read fiction are better writers, and probably fiction readers are overrepresented among economic bloggers. I also tend to think that neoclassical-economists and real-business cycle economists read less fiction than say Keynesian, New-Keynesian, or Post-Keynesian, or even Austrians (I could be totally wrong!!!). Do you know other economic bloggers or famous economist who also read fiction?