I've always been terrible at deciding what to read next. I've gone through various systems: random number generators for #TheList, closing my eyes and pointing at my bookshelf, reading in age group patterns (children's, YA, adult), or just letting the library gods control my fate by reading whatever holds come in first. But regardless of the system, I always try to read something I'm in the mood for. If I'm craving a history lesson, I reach for historical fiction or, you know, actual nonfiction. If I want to laugh, I'm more likely to read The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things than I am The Book Thief. And so on, and so forth.
Recently, a student has been placing holds left and right (using my system, apparently) and reading whatever came in first. Recently, three came in at once (Divergent, The Outsiders, and The Maze Runner) and she looked like she was about to have a panic attack.
Me: What's wrong?!
Student: (in literally the saddest voice possible) I don't know which one to read first.
M: Well, which one were you looking forward to the most?
S: I don't know.
M: Okay, let's try this. What kind of book are you in the mood to read?
S: Something happy.
M: Yikes. None of those are particularly happy books.
S: They aren't?
M: Wait, tell me what you know about these books.
S: I don't know anything. Someone told me they were good.
Our conversation continued with me giving a quick book talk for the three books and she realized that they were not the books she was looking for.
She still thought they sounded interesting but having just read back to back sad/depressing books, she wanted the polar opposite. We talked some more and I found out that she liked Lois Lowry as an author, but had only ever read her serious books. So I pulled out Anastasia Krupnik, and told her to give it a try. She came back after the weekend and told me she LOVED it. Now she's ready to work on Divergent because her palate has been cleansed. You just have to go with what you're in the mood for to really enjoy a book.