1. On The Road - Jack Kerouac: This is the first book that "changed my life." I read it while I was in high school and I LOVED it. Rabidly loved it. I reread it a million times and made notes in the margins, etc. I tried to reread it recently and the grammar/writing style drove me up the wall. I could not get past the first few pages. :( In high school I remember embracing the stream of conscious writing in it......but I guess if you proof read 8 hours a day as your job then it's harder to embrace it. I read quite a few of his other novels and liked them a lot also (back in the day).
2. The Winter of Our Discontent - John Steinbeck: This was another I read in high school (I spent all my free time in the library searching the card catalog for weird books). Now, Steinbeck is a TIMELESS author. I've been meaning to re-read some of his books. (Travels with Charley - hint Charley is a doggy, Log From the Sea of Cortez - I always wanted to be a marine biologist, East of Eden - think family saga).
4. Vampire Chronicles - Anne Rice: I feel like this is so cliche, but this is another book/series that I read in high school that absolutely blew my mind. I remember standing in the book aisle in Wal-Mart looking for a new book to read, when a woman also looking suggested I read Interview with a Vampire. I can still remember the way those books smelled. For me, it was my generation's Twilight except for not as candy ass ;). I tried to re-read this series a few years ago and I couldn't stomach the flowery writing and seriousness of it all. :/ I have read other books by Anne Rice since with no problem. In fact, I am contemplating reading her book The Wolf Gift.
5. Sookie Stackhouse Series - Charlaine Harris: Yes I know, not really the same caliber as Steinbeck, and it's another vampire series, but I still love Sookie. :) This series is quite lighthearted at times. A lot of tongue-in-cheek humor. This series is a more recent find, as in within the last couple of years. (Google - Eric Northman. You're welcome.)
6. Lara - Bertrice Small - This is book one of the World of Hetar series. I really did not want to put this one on the list. Why? Because it has smutty parts. Because the author also writes for Harlequin. However, these books have hung with me since I read them (about a year ago). They were good. They were not my usual fare, outer space, fairies, etc...but for some reason I want to re-read them. I keep wanting to say that they are stuck in my craw, but that just sounds horrifying. Side note- When I was in high school my aunt gave me a paper grocery bag full of Harlequin romance novels. I remember sitting beside my window and reading that entire bag of books within a couple of weeks.
Lastly, what am I reading now, right this very second? I am reading the newest book in the Dulcie O'Neil series, Malice in Wonderland. It's good, although it hasn't kept me hanging on like the previous books in the series. It's another paranormal series - although with the humor I appreciate. The author, H.P. Mallory, has also written another series (Jolie Wilkin series) that is equally as entertaining and somewhat reminiscent of the World of Hetar series.
I hope I didn't bore you to death! I <3 books, and I love to talk about books. :) I have a run planned for this morning so I am sure I will update later with that!