1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.- The first time I read this I was in Mr. Wallace's grade 7 English class and I have read it every couple of years since. It's my favourite book of all time.
2. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay - This is a close second to To Kill A Mockingbird. It's simply one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. It's a fantasy, yes, but the magic or fantastical parts are far from the most important thing about it. Everything about it is perfect. Including the ending which has the most perfect cliffhanger EVER. And it stops there. No sequel, no series, this is a one shot deal. And couldn't have ended any other way.
3. A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan - An excellent romance. This was the first historical m/m romance I had read and the characters were so beautifully flawed. I think this is the book where I fell in love with Heidi's writing.
4. High Deryni by Katherine Kurtz - This was the first fantasy book I ever read and it began an odyssey that has spanned over 40 years now. At the time, I was a teenager, maybe 14 or 15 and hooked on historical romances. I found this book in a pile of second hand books at my aunt's that had come from a friend of hers. It had kings and queens and, how interesting, magic! So I gave it a try. The Deryni books are still favourites today. :)
5. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas - I was around 12 or 13 when I read this for the first time. It was my dad's book. It was also the first 'classic' I had ever read. I loved it! I have read most of the others in the D'Artagnan romances since.
6. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (Vol. 3 in the Song of Fire and Ice saga) - This was the book that taught me that authors were not to be trusted and I mean that in the best way, really. I learned that favourite characters are expendable no matter how 'main' they are. I learned what a ruthless storyteller really is and that I could adore an author while hating him with the fire of 10 burning suns.
7. The Golden Hawk by Frank Yerby - The first 'grown-up' book I remember reading. Pirates. Big blond heroes. Action, adventure, romance. A real pot-boiler. :) I LOVE IT!
8. Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams - Really the most charming anthropomorphic book. Better than Watership Down even and not just because it's about cats! It's a really beautifully written book.
9. Swordspoint by Ellen Kusher - You've seen my love for swashbuckling and historical settings in many of the other books of this list. Swordspoint was special in that it was probably the first book I read where the heroes weren't straight. It's also a terrific story and wonderfully crafted and written.
10. Under the Rushes by Amy Lane - I just recently read this book and I cannot get it out of my mind. Even though I have read a couple of really good books since, I find that when not otherwise occupied, my thoughts continue to stray back to this wonderful world that Amy created and peopled with such enchanting characters. Superhero Steampunk Sci-Fi - that's how I classify it.