There are so many books in the world, that I often wonder how people go about choosing what they read. Some people always stick to the same genre, whilst others work their way through the library alphabetically. My Dad went through a phrase of only reading non- fiction [though now he's back into reading fiction]. Still others only read books they have been given, or just read books that have been made into films. I personally don't have any one particular system for choosing what to read next, I tend to choose what I want to read in several ways:
1. Based purely on the cover
It's rare for me to choose a piece of fiction based on the cover alone, but it does happen occassionally. For instance I don't think I would have ever got round to reading Generation X by Douglas Coupland if it hadn't had such a bright cover [even though it had been recommended to me by my English teacher and the premise sounded intriguing] and that would have been a shame, because it's a fantastic book and led me to discover Coupland's other books [I actually chose to write about Douglas Coupland for my dissertation at University because I like his work so much!]. Of course book covers can be misleading, which is why I don't usually choose books based just on their cover alone, but I find it interesting when I do. However, in many instances, a book's cover will attract me, and then I'll read the blurb and be put off.
2. Through Goodreads/Online
I'll often stumble across books that look really inviting when I'm just moseying around the internet [on blogs like this one or on one of my favourite sites ever Goodreads], and when this happens I make a mental note of the books title and author. Then if I see the book out in the wild, more often than not I'll give it a try.
3. Through friends or family
This is probably the least common way for me to choose a book. It's not that I don't trust the judgement of my friends and family, but usually when they recommend a book to me I've already read it or it's not quite to my taste, even though my taste is quite broad. Sometimes though, someone I know will recommend something that I grow to love, and then I'm always grateful to them. For example, I wouldn't have gotten to Harry Potter without the help of my friend's sister, and that would have been a very sad state of affairs.
4. Through a book itself
Often, author's will allude to books that have influenced them in their own books, leaving a kind of literary trail over the pages. If I've particulary enjoyed an author's work, sometimes I'll read something that they have enjoyed or have recommended. Author's also allude to books as a way of giving information about their characters, and again if I particulary like a character, then I might read a book that the character reads. For example, in the Twilight Series, Bella Swan's favourite book is Wuthering Heights. If I hadn't already read Wuthering Heights before reading the Twilight books, I probably would have read it after, since it's mentioned so often in the text, and I like Bella as a character. This also applies to TV characters who read. For instance, since I'm a Gilmore Girls fan, I am interested in what Rory Gilmore reads. Lots of people seem to feel the same way as me as there is a Rory Gilmore Booklist circulating the internet! For me, following in the literary footsteps of an author or character is just a way of getting deeper into a story, and whilst I won't always read something just because a character I love has read it, I will at least consider reading it.
5. My Old Standby's
There are some authors that I love so much that I if I'm undecided about what to read next, I'll choose them. I read most of what these authors write, and I'm always happy when they have a new book out. My standby authors include Marian Keyes, Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella, Terry Pratchet, Dyan Sheldon, John Green and Maureen Johnson. When I was younger, my standby's were Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Judy Blume.
Sometimes I'll choose a book for no discernable reason. Sometimes I'll choose a book because of its title. Sometimes I'll just read something because I liked the film. Sometimes I'm won over by library propaganda.
How do you choose what you read?