So many books, so little time! How do I choose what to read next?

The illustration for this post is some of my giant To Be Read pile, extracted from its boxes and strewn all over my bed for its photo opportunity. (And let me tell you, that was a terrifying experience. I suspect the TBR weighs more than I do.)

Mostly, I keep books in boxes to cut down on dust, but it also helps me to prioritize. Books out of sight are out of mind. If I get a long-awaited book by a particularly beloved author who does not publish a lot, I will often stow that book away for a while, saving it for a special occasion. It helps if I can’t see the book lying there begging me to read it. Laura Kinsale’s newest, Lessons in French, is hidden away for that reason, as is the newest Caroline Stevermer, a middle-grade fantasy titled Magic Below Stairs, and Molly Gloss’ most recent novel, The Hearts of Horses, which I’ve been saving for quite a while. Can you tell I’m not a “dessert first” reader most of the time?

I’ve been known to save books for years after buying them in hardcover as soon as they were available, not reading them until long after they’ve come out in mass market paperback. Yeah, I know, it’s weird.

There are times when I will read a book immediately after I’ve received it. I do this if, for example, the book is a galley or ARC given to me by a friend for review (I often chat about books in my LiveJournal / Dreamwidth Journal). Or I’ll sometimes be enticed to read the book quickly because there’s a lot of online discussion of it, and I want to be able to follow along with the various reviews and discussions.

Mostly, though, I choose by impulse, from the one open box in my TBR. The books I feel I’m probably going to read in the near future are in that box. Sometimes I rotate books in and out of that box, or rearrange several of the TBR boxes, and perhaps even cull out a book or two I’ve decided I no longer want to read. I can’t describe the sense of luxury I get from looking at all I have stocked up to read. It’s a pleasure every time I look through and choose which book to read next.

What about you? How do you choose what to read next?