1. Beth. High school classmate. She was the first girl I fell hard for. She became a library director.
Edward Eager, Magic by the Lake, Half Magic, etc. These are children's books. I never read kiddy lit when I was a kid (I was mainly into astronomy, space flight, and aviation), so I was catching up here. Pretty good stuff. It was fascinating to me that (1) she still read kiddy lit and (2) she was willing to admit it. Mrs. Woolf still reads kiddy lit herself.
Richard Brautigan, In Watermelon Sugar, etc. Ages 17-18 were my heyday for 1960s weird. I also read Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and others for a senior English paper, and there were others I forgot.
Joseph Heller, Catch-22. You must read this.
2. Misling, aka Mrs. Woolf. We met at college.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince. I was surprised at how touching this was. Misling compared herself to the fox and said that I had tamed her. (Awwwwwwww!)
Ursula K. Le Guin, the Earthsea trilogy (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore). I had read some Le Guin, but this was classified as Kiddy Lit and I had ignored it. Don't.
Robert Nye, Merlin. A retelling of the Arthurian legend from Merlin's point of view -- and Satan's. Bawdy, morally reprehensible, and funny as hell.
Fritz Leiber, the Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories (Swords and Deviltry, Swords and Sorcery, etc.). The only sword-and-sorcery fiction I have read. Their cynical wit puts them above the rest.
Barry Hughart, the Master Li novels (Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone, Eight Skilled Gentlemen). Set in ancient China with some artistic license. More cynical wit. I wish Hughart would write more.
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. A pleasant surprise. I intend to read the other HP novels but haven't got around to it.
Barbara Hambly, A Free Man of Color. A murder mystery set in the 1833 New Orleans Creole and "colored" communities. It was as alien a world to me as something out of science fiction. Fascinating.
3. shygirl. I knew her on a message board. I nearly fell for her based on her written words alone. She was into literary fiction as well as puns.
Peter Hoeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow. What makes this mystery/suspense novel is the character of Smilla, a 37-year-old single half-Greenlander-half-Dane who is an expert on snow and ice and has a personality to match.
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things. Good, but I won't read it again.
Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace. Based on the 1843 murder case involving 16-year-old Grace Marks, an Irish immigrant to Canada. Ambiguous, sometimes appalling in a Dickensian way, a good book.
"At points of clarity, I realize that my life on earth is meaningless, and that I am merely a pawn in a bigger game. A game I cannot possibly understand or have control of. Thankfully, before depression sets in, I drift back into my cloudy, bewildered daily routine." **Joel Patrick Warneke**
I went to a pratchett book signing once, and I mentioned that I had noticed that there are few people out there who had found his books on their own. He said that he actually found that most of the collections of his books started with nicked books (books lent to a friend and never returned). I have lost so many of his books that way. I think I have lost three copies of "Soul Music" over the years.
Anyways back on topic
Harry Potter. I resited it for many years. But was convinced to try it by of couple of bright, female HP fanatics and though I was only mildly impressed by the first one (kinda scooby-doo-sih) they got better as the serise went on.
"Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller. Though I detest most christian writting, I was again convinced to read it by a Female friend. It was crazy how the guy's thought process parralells my own.
Those are the only ones that stick out in my head. I am usually able to find books quite well on my own.
"And if you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme,
To your tambourine in time.
It's just a ragged clown behind,
I wouldn't pay it any mind,
It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing."