I always want to know about the author--where they were born, when they were born, and what is the typical subject or theme of their novels?. That tells me a lot. If the answers are not "1971", US", and " magic and werewolves", then I might move forward and see what the book is actually about. I usually won't read "genre-based" novels, like mysteries, thrillers, romance, horror, science fiction, fantasy, westerns, or even historical fictions. I like honest novels that speak of humaness with no labeled genre. There are exceptions to my rule, depending on the author. I have more or less given up on reading new novels and prefer to go and re-read old favorites and even classics. In historical non-fiction I am only interested in primary source works or serious scholarly works that I can only find out about via the American Historical Association.