As I've mentioned in the Reading-In-June thread, the ultimate rule of thumb for whether a book will be worth reading is the Neil Gaiman Model. If Gaiman says its good, then it must be good. His review for Gene Wolfe's The Knight made me laugh out loud and get the book immediately. I was not dissappointed. I don't have the book with me, but it was something along the lines of "if you don't read this book, all of the cool people will make fun of you."
My primary method, before coming to this board, of finding other authors was to, say, grab a book I loved, like American Gods , and see who commented on it in the back. Based on their comments, I check out what they've written. The cycle continues ad infinitum. And this is a darn good method. I've found good books in all genres doing this.
Having said that, nothing beats good detailed reccs from this board. The next issue is, having a stack of books, what book do I choose to read? Well, having read all the aforementioned detailed reccs, and the quotes on the back, and maybe a bit of the blurb (I find blurbs sometimes give away too much of the story, so I avoid them, except maybe the first sentence or two just to make sure the book isn't a total cheese fest or something), I have all the tools I need to decide which book to read first!
Actually, I just stare at my to-read pile while watching Wheel of Fortune and drooling in a bucket.