I have a certain "method" of choosing my next book. In my bookshelf, I have two designated areas. One is for my favorite authors, like Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Charlie Huston, and more. The other shelf is for “New” authors, who I’ve never read before. To guarantee that I have truly satisfying reading experiences, I alternate between reading a “New” author and a “Favorite” author. This way I read books written by up-and-coming or classic authors and then I can fall back to the characters who I really love. Sometimes a “New” author becomes a “Favorite,” which is exactly what to happen.

On the same note, I alternate between sub-genres too. For example, if I just read a police procedural, the next book might be a hard-boiled P.I. or a historical mystery. Sometimes if I just read a mystery, I might read a thriller afterward. This way, I never tire of reading my favorite genre.

What about you? How do you choose your next book?

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I'm kinda anal in that I alternate: one book from the library, then one that I own. Every couple months I'll peruse the bestselling list from a year ago (easier to find books that way at the library). I've also been working on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's top 100 list of 20th century, the reading list in Stephen King's Danse Macabre, and Wikipedia's Young Adult Books (honor roll). Pretty soon I'll start the reading list in Georffrey O'brien's Hardboiled America -- really looking forward to that.
I used to have a strict rotation: mystery, non-fiction, mystery, fiction (but not mystery). I liked doing it that way, but I fell out of the habit when my schedule got a little more hectic. Now that you've got me thinking about it, I may go back to that.

I have a very precise method of deciding which of a stack of library books to read: alphabetical order, by title. I got tired of fussing over which one of four or five books I wanted to read first.
Gee, I must be wierd. I usually go to the bookstore, see something that catches my eye, maybe read a page or two. If I am interested then I buy it, and if I like it, I will generally pick up one or more of that authors work. I also use amazon's little service of what readers who bought also bought, and check that out. That is how I found Javier Sierra, and I love his work. It is also how I stumbled on Harlan Coben.

I do not have a system for reading, I just try not to read too many "heavy" stories, and keep it light once in a while, which is what Coben, Konrath are very good at.
I used to tend to consume one series at a time, but I'm trying to get away from that, as it's not always practical (and it's nice to stretch out a favorite author from time to time). I've been making a concerted effort to branch out to new authors, and lately I've been alternating with a new author and something tried-and-true.
I "geek out" at book stores (especially used or 1/2 price stores) and buy about a dozen titles at once (just found a 1st edition Mickey Spillane!)... Then I place each new book in a different room of my house. Depending on which room my very active 2-year-old takes me, that's the book I'm reading.
Oooh, I've been known to do that too! I have a rather large purse (it's actually a "man bag" I bought at Target, cooler than most of the women's stuff) and there have been times when I have had one book in there, one in the bedroom, one in the living room.
My mother wont go into book stores with me anymore, because I try and buy everything I see!
Choosing my next book involves lots of outside factors: Where I'm going to read it? What time of day I'm starting it? What I read last? Do I need something to round out a program topic? How long do I have to read in one setting? I'm fortunate that, as a reviewer, I usually have several shelves of new material waiting for me. Sometimes I ignore all my questions and pick up the title that piques my interest most in the group that came in today. As I've often said, it's a tough job—but somebody's gotta do it!


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