5 books to read, because I can't narrow it down to my prior 1 entry, even if you are going to shoot me!
1. The Bluest Eye, or anything actually, by Toni Morrisson- covers Women's Lit, Black History, and Nobel prize winning authors
2. Junky by William S. Burroughs (especially you KnightS) covers the beatniks, in its truest messed-up form.
3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers- it is what it says it is- also won an award, Eggers also edits Mc Sweeneys, an acclaimed lit. mag based in San Fra (subscribe)
4. Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahunik- not for those of the weak stomach or mind, covers modernism
5. The Stranger, by Camus- existensialism at its finest
I'm going to add anyything by Shakespeare, but that's a given right? Titus Andronicus is a little known work that I personally love, but I like the twisted stuff.
I'd also appreciate lists for others, as my family has now realized that books are my life, and have all gotten me B&N gift cards for the holidays, they are burning a hole...