THE PHANTOM TOLBOOTH by Norton Juster

This is my absolute favorite book, and although it is technically a children's story, its message is for all ages. I have read it at least once a year since I stole it from my younger brother when I was ten.

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexander Dumas

This is the ultimate story of loss, revenge and reconciliation. It has sword fights, pirates, prison escapes and Napoleon Bonaparte. Plus, it's also a classic, and reading it will automatically provide you with impressive conversation fodder at parties.

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE by Anne Rice

The current nationwide fascination with lovey-dovey vampires that sparkle in the sunlight is disgusting. Richard Simmons sparkles. Anne Rice is the master of vampiric literature, and Lestat could pulverize Edward Cullen in a heartbeat. The hordes of Cullen-obsessed pre-teens should ditch Stephanie Meyer and get with the program.

COLD COMFORT FARM by Stella Gibbons

Vastly underrated, this book is hysterical. Shamelessly mocking popular period literature, Stella Gibbons creates characters that are both ridiculous and sad. Unfortunately, no one will ever know what Aunt Ada Doom saw in the woodshed.