Per M.R.'s guidelines, they don't have to be classics, but some of mine will be, solely because I loved them, not because someone made me read them in school.
1. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon should be read by everyone, I believe. This book helps to explain what happens to that magic you felt as a kid, but no longer feel as an adult.
2. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This might be on some lists of classics, but it will always be on mine. The best opening paragraphs EVER.
3. Blackwater: The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell. An epic covering several generations of an Alabama family. And a river monster!
4. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. A fictional story based upon how women were treated by the medical profession, back in the day.
5. The Fisherman by John Langan. This is a fine, fine piece of literary, cosmic horror.
6. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. A true American western.
7. The Cormorant by Stephen Gregory. A literary and chilling quiet horror story about a bird.
8. The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons A quiet haunted house story. Or is it? This was the only book of this type that the author ever wrote.
9. The October Country by Ray Bradbury. A classic collection of stories from Bradbury-a few of which I'll never forget. (The Scythe, especially.)
10. Blue World by Robert McCammon. A more contemporary story collection, but with a wide, wide variety of tales. "Night Calls the Green Falcon" makes me cry every single time I read it. (And I've read it 4 times.)
11. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. My heart broke for poor Lily Bart.
12. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. The classic revenge tale.
13. Bubba Ho-Tep by Joe Lansdale. A totally hilarious story about an Elvis impersonator and a man who believes he is JFK. They're both fighting a mummy in a nursing home. It's hilarious, it's touching and it's gross, all at the same time.
14. The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee. Every dog lover should read this book.
15. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Heartbreaking.
16. East of Eden by John Steinbeck. So. Damn. Good.
17. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. In stark, staccato prose, Levin brings home this tale of motherhood gone wrong.
18. The Auctioneer by Joan Samson. There's nothing overtly horrific here. It's just a building, building and ever building case of dread.
19. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. This book taught me that I could hate every single character in a book, but still be hypnotized by the story.
20. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. A classic that taught me that poetry could be fun and whimsical.
21. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. A faith based story, which really isn't my thing...but it's just beautiful.
22. The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Historical fiction based in NYC and focused on the start of criminal profiling and or psychology.
23. The Sandkings by George R.R. Martin. Long before Game of Thrones, he wrote this rather moral tale. (He also wrote another favorite of mine: Fevre Dream. Vampires on the Mississippi!)
24. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Another case where my heart was broken.
25. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I loved this coming of age tale where a boy is trying to save his mother.
Thanks go out to M.R. for coming up with this idea. It was fun and it gave me a chance to talk about some of my favorite books. What book lover doesn't love that?