To celebrate the fact that I finished my 51st book of the year last night, George Orwell's 1984, and also because I started reading my 52nd book in my FIFTY TWO BOOKS challenge - Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary - I'm going to address some of the book questions I've gotten!
(Sidenote: yes, I'm did a happy dance last night in my living room by myself.)
Though Austen wrote the book a couple hundred years ago, her themes are still relevant, she's funny, and she wrote the first fictional man I ever fell in love with. I've read this book several times, and will read it several times more in my lifetime.
The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
White Teeth, Zadie Smith
Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote
Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Come Together, Fall Apart, Cristina Henriquez
I make my book selections a number of ways - I read The Time Traveler's Wife because I read over someone's shoulder on the subway. I read the first sentence and had to read it - and now I love that book. I peruse in the bookstore. Any books that I've heard of before in terms of classics always catch my eye (I hate Nathaniel Hawthorne with a passion, though).
This year, for the most part I've used lists! There are tons of lists on the internet that I found useful for material - I'm making my way through Jezebel's 75 Books Every Woman Should Read and the Guardian has a list of 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read, split my genre. All these year-end lists help, as well, because when I see a description of a book that sounds interesting I just pop over to Goodreads and add it as a "to-read" so I can just bring up the list on my iPhone the next time I'm perusing in a bookstore.
I used to arrange my books alphabetically, by author's last name. Since I have so many more books now, and a giant bookshelf as our bed's headboard, I made the asthetically-pleasing decision to also arrange the books by the color of their binding! I posted this pic a couple months ago -