How Do You Choose Your Next Book?

I just finished a novel by a Canadian author and while I was still reading that book, I was thinking of what I might want to read next. Every day I picked a title and put it under the book I was reading on my nightstand. The books kept on changing. Some candidates returned more than once and after a while I realized, they all had a common theme: 18th/19th century France. So either I was going to read a historical French novel (Chantal Thomas’ Les Adieux à la reineFarewell my Queen) or a French classic (Maupassant’s Bel-Ami fr. Bel-Ami engl.). Funny enough both books have just been made into movies.

This made me wonder, how other people choose the books they are going to read next. I’m a mood reader and on top of that my moods change quite fast that’s why I never really know what I’m going to read until I finally start it. Before I do so however, I will have begun at least 5 – 10 books, reading first pages and first paragraphs. The only thing that is likely is that the book following the one I just finished will be very different. I will hardly ever read a crime novel after having finished one or a French classic after having come to the end of another French classic. It can happen but it is rare.

Unfortunately my system is faulty. Because I often give in to momentary moods, instead of waiting for an underlying theme to emerge, by the time I’m in the middle of a novel, it’s not always exactly what I wanted anymore. That’s when novellas and short stories come in handy. I’ll put the novel aside and read the one or the other shorter piece in between.

Last November I did something which proved to be really good. I made a list of all the novels, I felt like reading during the month, especially those which kept on returning, and in December I started to read from that list and whenever I finished a book, I picked the next one from my list. It worked really well and I didn’t pick one dud.

So, that’s me, usually, not able to tell you before I started it, what book I’m going to read next. And unfortunately forgetting those I felt like reading unless I make a note. The only exception of course is my readalong and some of the readalongs of others.

I have seen on other blogs that some people make a list for the whole year and stick to it. They will not necessarily read in order but they will pick books from the list. Others love an author so much that they will read their way through his or her books. Some have a small pile they read and then they make another small pile. Someone reads all the books from one editor. I know there are bloggers who only buy a book after having finished one, so the trip to the book shop will determine the next choice. Others will go to the library, bring home a huge amount of books, dip into them and finally settle for a very few.

While I don’t review them very often,when it comes to non-fiction I’m much more systematic. One book will lead to the next and most of them are connected.

As you can see, there is no end to the possibilities. I’m really curious to find out how you do it. Do you follow a plan or a list? Do you pick randomly? Do you stick to a genre?

How do you choose your next book?