For example, I recently starting reading Eat. Pray. Love., but I'm having trouble getting through it. The lessons and inspiration are there, my heart and head are not. Once I'm emotionally ready for a strong story like Elizabeth Gilbert's, I'll pick it back up, but probably not until then.
2. Timeliness- Timing is another major element I keep in mind when checking out my bookshelf. If there is a film adaptation coming out soon, I will want to read the book before seeing the film. If a book's sequel is set to release soon, I may want to read the previous book(s) in the series to catch up to everyone else. If there is a major social conflict happening, I often want to learn more and seek out titles about the issue.
3. Bestsellers- We've all been there... A book comes out and it's an instant classic or bestseller. Everyone around you is flying through the pages and you're sitting their twiddling your thumbs.
When a book becomes popular, I typically want to jump on that train and read it ASAP before I'm left behind.
4. Previous Purchases- If you're a compulsive and impulsive when it comes to purchasing books, you too will know the feeling of being surrounded by Barnes and Noble receipts, but not having read any of your new titles yet. Don't waste your money, read the books you've bought before you buy any more. It's still a lesson I'm trying to learn, but I'm getting there.
5. Borrowed- For the love of baby Jesus, read the book you borrowed from your friend or co-worker before something happens and your pet spills coffee all over it's beautiful jacket. Just read it. Help yourself make room for other books and help relieve the borrower's anxiety that they'll never get their book back.
All in all, sometimes it's very difficult to pick the next book you want to read. Keep the above tips in mind, and you'll never have a lapse between titles.