One of the readers in my family makes a point to read all the award-winners and notable books each year. By this method, she's guaranteed to always be reading something good, and less likely for a good read to slip through the cracks.
If you're also looking for a sure-fire list of good books, the New York Times has just released their 100 Notable Books of 2008, with links to book reviews from the past year. Whether you like to read fiction, poetry or non-fiction, there's a good book on the list for almost every taste. Even better, many of these books either aren't checked out, or the hold queues are much shorter than those for the best sellers.