1) Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Because...it's Dickens. It's set on the north Kent marshes. And it has the most beautiful characterisation. Actually there are many, many more reasons but I'll save those for later.
2) A Crime In The Neighbourhood - Susanne Berne
I didn't really expect this to be much more than a holiday read (and holiday reads can be great) but it really stayed with me. Her second book was disappointing.
3) Hamlet - Shakespeare
Amazing. All of it.
4) Nightwatch - Terry Pratchett
I know Terry probably isn't cool but I don't care! I could pick most of his Discworld novels, and certainly any featuring the Watch but I'll go for this just in terms of character development.
5) North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
I'd quite like to marry John Thornton, despite his horrible mother.
6) The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides
I love the lack of a solution or resolution. The book is full of questions.
7) "Oh, Whistle, and I'll come to You, My Lad" - MR James
I can't actually read this anymore, it scared me so much. Which makes it the perfect ghost story. Any MR James rocks though.
8) The Red Headed League - Arthur Conan Doyle
I could pick any Sherlock Holmes. This one is part of a long running family joke though, so it's especially memorable.
9) The End Of The Affair - Graham Greene
I've never thought as much, or had as many in depth conversations, as I did after reading this for the first time.
10) The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Addams
I first read this when I was 10 and adored it. The second one is pretty good too and then the quality drops right off.
Do we have to have ten? Because I want to mention James Elroy. And Philip Pullman. And Susan Cooper. And Chaucer.
B*llocks too it.
11) Elidor - Alan Garner
Best children's book ever. I've read it 15 odd times over the years and there are parts which still give me goosebumps.