Overall, what factor most influences your choice of your next read?
What is it that makes you want to read a book by an author you have never read before?
Well, those are two different questions!
I have a rule—I can’t read the same genre twice in a row. For instance, right now, I’m reading (well, dragging my feet about) Under Heaven, so I can’t read another fantasy novel after that. I’m thinking Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or Rock and Roll is Here to Stay. I usually rent about four to six books at once, so I try and pick which one interests me the most out of that limited pile. Too many choices is so crippling, as I learn every time I try to watch something on Netflix without knowing what I want. After the big reading list and my golden rule, it’s mostly whim and mood.
Now, what makes me want to read an author I’ve never read before is the story of the novel. While I love and appreciate beautiful writing, it doesn’t mean a thing unless it has a story with which to explore the human condition. So if the story intrigues me, I’ll give it a whirl, regardless of author. Word of mouth does help, but, ultimately, I need to be interested in it. This differs from the books I read next, since all of those are already from the list, so I’m already interested.