1. The book is for a book group or readalong (usually on GoodReads)
I am probably in too many GoodReads groups but I have done at least a few group reads in most of them. One of my groups, the SciFi & Fantasy Book Club, has a challenge of reading current or past group reads every year. It is a little bit like having a bunch of perpetual group reads because people just comment on the old threads.
2. A recommendation from one of my GR friends/bloggers I follow (sometimes these are the same people).
I actually have a GoodReads shelf with books that are favorites of or recommendations from my GoodReads friends.
3. An author I have already read & liked: This is kind of an obvious one. I don’t have very many authors that I’ve read extensively, though. The ones I have read the most books by are probably: J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Ray Bradbury. Maybe Charles Dickens, but I think I have only read 5 books or so out of a much larger body of work.
I want to read more of: Salman Rushdie (still haven’t read The Satanic Verses), Italo Calvino (I loved Cosmicomics, but apparently there is a later version with more stories in it: The Complete Cosmicomics), Kim Stanley Robinson, W.B. Yeats, and probably others I am forgetting right now.
A quick note about Kim Stanley Robinson: He is one of the few authors I have read who has a recent (ish)? book out (New York 2140) but I’m ignoring it because his backlist sounds more interesting to me. (Galileo‘s Dream and The Three Californias trilogy; I am not sure what else he’s written that I haven’t read.
4. Prose style — I am definitely drawn to lyrical writing, and this is one of the reasons that Kim Stanley Robinson is my favorite living sf writer. (I still gave up on Blue Mars though. But I have been impressed with every other book of his I have read.) More recently: A Stranger in Olondria definitely fits here.
5. Awards! I don’t read a huge number of award-winning books, but I get some recommendations from the Nebula Awards, the Hugo Awards and the World Fantasy Awards.
6. Genre — Another obvious one. I lean toward fantasy and science fiction but I’m pretty flexible about definitions of either. I’m not sure why I so rarely find anything outside of these genres that I really like, but on the other hand, I think I am pretty adventurous about what I read within SF/F. There are a few things I avoid: I don’t like military sf, and I am one of those people who doesn’t read epic fantasy except Tolkien. (I have heard good things about Tigana and The Grace of Kings, though; hopefully, I will get around to reading at least one of them this year.) But that is about as specific as I can get, I think.
I can’t think of ten things today, so I guess I will leave it there!