War and Peace: for me, it's the greatest of all novels, and Tolstoy is the Shakespeare of fiction.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: intensely intellectual, intensely relevant, immensely rewarding.
The Lord of the Rings: can't think of anything more fun to read.
Charles Dickens: makes me smile, keeps me turning pages, has the most memorable characters.
Mark Twain: my favorite American author.
Sir Walter Scott: entertaining and informative, despite the blasts of hot air.
Jane Austen: timeless and intelligent characters, great stories.
Joseph Conrad: good "guy" stories.
Wilkie Collins: not Dickens, but definitely fun in the Victorian vein.
Gone with the Wind: the movie's not even close. Scarlett lives!
John LeCarré: satisfyingly intelligent spy stories, love this guy!
John Grisham: always makes me stay up too late, reading "just one more chapter. . . ."
Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth: never lets up once in a thousand pages; World Without End is even better.
Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny is classic: it has love, hate, war and other madness, courtroom dramaalmost everything.
Daniel Silva: great page-turners, with each novel I love him more. Probably my favorite working author today.
Leon Uris: Battle Cry is the W.W.II novel; Trinity makes me wish I were Irish; Mila 18 makes me cry and cheer; The Haj makes the Middle East make sense.
Lee Child: I read Jack Reacher novels faster than any others. Engrossing escapist fun!
Agatha Christie: the best whodunits, hands down.
Stieg Larsson: incredibly gripping. If only he had left more books behind!
Pat Conroy: "literary-like," eminently Southern, and entertaining all at the same time.
James Clavell: Tai-Pan and Noble House especially.
Nelson DeMille: check-plus.
Larry Rogers: Sword and Scalpel, and M. Gazi Yasargil: Father of Modern Neurosurgery: well-written, informative, engrossing and memorable. Attaboy, Pop!
Stephen R. Donaldson: the Thomas Covenant trilogies are dark and wonderful fantasy.
C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narniamake me miss childhood, bad.
The Hardy Boys: made me love reading.
I'd keep going, but I just got Lee Child's latest and need to get back to it. I dearly love Scarlett O'Hara and Austen's Elizabeth Bennet, but Woodrow F. Call and Augustus McCrae are my two favorite characters in all of fiction. Next to War and Peace, McMurtry's Lonesome Dove is the one book I'd most want to have if I had to change places with Robinson Crusoe. Maybe I'll add to this list later. Right now Jack Reacher is calling. Gotta go!
I am a teacher, student, and lover of "literature," but I mainly like books that tell gripping good stories. I love reading books that keep me up long past bedtime because I'm dying to find out what happens next. I spend so much time reading for work, it's hard to keep up with good current fiction. If you have suggestions for contemporary authors or books guaranteed to cut into my much-needed beauty sleep, please do share them with me: just say Yo Chip!