I usually stick to classic books, and by classic I mean they must have time proven popularity. My favourites are Frank Herbert's Dune series, JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, George Orwell's Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, and Stephen King's novels, especially the older ones.
Sometimes I feel adventurous, and I may be tempted to read a book if
everybody around me is reading it. These would be JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, and Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Actually I enjoyed Dan Brown's book so much I read everything else he wrote up to that point (although I still have to read The Lost Symbol). I preferred Angels and Demons to The Da Vinci Code, but my absolute favourite is the lesser known Deception Point.
Even more rarely I might read a book if I watch a movie based on it and I'm impressed enough. That's how I originally go to know about the Dune series. After watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 and 1978) I read the book on which they are based, The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney which became another favourite. The only other example I can think of is Let the Right One In by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. I watched the Swedish movie based on the book (Hollywood remade it later), and I was so impressed, besides still having unanswered questions, that I got the book immediately.
I have many books in my reading list, besides some that I'd like to re-read. I read all Frank Herbert's classic dune novels, so next I'll try his son's additions to the Dune world. Next in the queue are Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, and Alexander Key's The Incredible Tide (on which the Japanese anime series Future Boy Conan is based), George Orwell's autobiographical books, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (haven't read that one yet).
I'd like to write my own Steampunk mystery thriller, so this will affect my reading list. I'll re-read Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, and read The Lost World. Through the movies I'm familiar with most of Charles Dickens' work, but I never actually read his books, so this would be the perfect occasion to do so.
I watched movies based on H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and The War of the Worlds. To tell the truth I wasn't impressed by any of these movies, but I'll give the books a chance. On the other hand I was impressed by anything related to Jules Verne's work, but have never read his books. I'll definitely read those, followed by some of Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo's books.
I haven't read any steampunk novels yet, so I'll start with the classics, and I'll use the books recommended in my Steampunk Books article as a guide.
Part I of this article series - My Favourite Childhood Books