Random list of favorite books:
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenedes
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Portrait in Sepia by Isabelle Allende
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Any of the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Hunger by Knut Hamsun
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Usually, those books that I truly love I will read repeatedly. I also love to read a book and then get an audio copy to hear it in someone else's voice. The Harry Potter series are an exception here, because I've only actually "read" the fifth one. The rest I've only listened to, albeit over and over and over again... love you, Jim Dale! He's such an amazing reader.
Some of the books in my list, however, are books I've only read once, but could not put down. Or I actually took the time in college, when there were many other demands on my time, not the least of which was dinking around with friends, to read the book because it captivated me. I think a book that can hold onto you, despite your very strong urge to slack off, deserves some credit, don't you?
Then there's my candy reading. I'm a sucker for murder mysteries. I dearly love me a Patricia Cornwell book where you get to follow the whole forensic investigation. Or Kathy Reichs. I'm partial to the John Sandford books because they take place in my beloved Twin Cities. Lucas Davenport apprehended a suspect at the gas station just a block from my old apartment, and I love being able to see exactly where things are taking place in my mind. I also adore the Dianne Mott Davidson books featuring the caterer/crime-solver extraordinaire, Goldy Schultz. Yes, I know. A caterer who always happens to be around when people are dying. Or else she knows the people who are dying. And her husband's a cop. But come on! Murder mystery + recipes? Fantastic. I love to combine my candy reading and food. I've made several of the recipes in the books, too. Excellent.
I also love completely unique worlds. Like Hogwarts, like Narnia, like the Old Kingdom in the Garth Nix books. I'm a little more choosy when it comes to fantasy books. I'm much less inclined to pick up just anything. But there's something wonderful about completely escaping the world I inhabit.
I'm sure I'll remember a dozen wonderful books, left off the list. There will probably be an addendum once I return home, scan the bookshelves and see favorites jumping off the shelves at me.