In no particular order.
1) Gone With the Wind
For all the great lines:
"After all, tomorrow is another day."
"As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
First read this when I was 9, and even then I thought Ashley was a twit.
Also, Scarlett may have had some major faults, but she was tenacious, practical, loyal to her parents, and unafraid of doing a man's work in an era when women were supposed to sit at home and look pretty. Which just goes to show that nobody's all bad.
2) A Wrinkle in Time and sequels
The first book that made me look at reality differently...made me realize there's more to it than meets the eye.
3) Wuthering Heights
The only book I know that can be described as both "horrible" and "wonderful."
4) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Made me laugh, cry, shudder, and hope. What more can you ask from a book?
For a Mercatornet review of this book, click here.
5) Wives and Daughters
A big, fat, satisfying wedge of a book - if you overlook the fact that it isn't quite finished! But you can watch the BBC movie to see how they ended it, based on letters and notes written by Elizabeth Gaskell before she died.
6) The Shell Seekers
Rosamunde Pilcher has a marvellous way of making ordinary things sound beautiful, and simple food sound delicious. Her language is simple and elegant. And I love how this story switches back and forth in time so effortlessly.
7) The Canterville Ghost
Witty and hauntingly beautiful (pun intended).
8) The Phantom Lover
Just because it can still make me laugh out loud. A particularly well-written Regency romance, which I'm amazed to find still in print!
9) Cheaper By the Dozen
Same reason as #8.
True story about a very brave woman, written by her son, after a lifetime of searching for the truth.
11) Letters to a Young Catholic
George Weigel is my favourite journalist. He can explain the most profound realities in the simplest language, without stripping them of truth or splendour.
12) The Nurse Kathy books I read in grade school.
I enjoyed reading about Kathy because she loved nursing and made it sound so interesting, exciting and noble. Also because she dated Steve the hunky fireman.
13) A World of Folk Tales
Mom and Papa gave me this beautifully illustrated book of magical tales from around the world for my 8th birthday. I still have it.
14) Merlin's Mistake
I must have checked this book out of the school library at least half a dozen times. So happy when I found it years later on Amazon Marketplace. A clever story with a neat twist and a particularly satisfying ending.
15) The Hunchback of Notre Dame
So tragically lovely. The classic love triangle with the ultimate anti-hero. A book that taught me not to be fooled by appearances.