How do you decide what to read?

It’s a new year, and I’m excited to have a new stack of exciting books on my plate. I’m already diving into the quirky, odd, and oddly fantastical Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, and also digging happily into this year’s Best American Short Stories 2010, edited by Richard Russo. You can expect reviews of those coming up in the next few weeks as I finish them. In addition to those, I’m looking forward to Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, which was on a lot of year-end best-of-2010 lists. Also coming up from my Christmas list: the Dickens classic David Copperfield, the new Pushcart Prize anthology, The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk, and several others.I’m lucky to be given these books for my own enjoyment and edification, but it’s gotten me wondering how you decide what books are the best to have on your list. Do you go from a best-of list? Do you take recommendations from friends? From siblings? From parents? From enemies? Do you go into a bookstore and pick based on the covers or back-cover blurbs? How do you decide? And what do you do to ensure you’re getting a thorough and satisfying fiction experience?


I’m opening it up to you, readers — how do you decide what to read next?