Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you for better or for worse. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
Here are my choices in no particular order:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it when I was quite young (maybe 12?) and I can still remember the details vividly. Strong characters and tough subject matter.
2. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. I read this when I was about 14 and I honestly felt ashamed to be white after I read this.
3. The Secret Garden by by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was probably about 10 when I read this book. I loved it! I was going to grow up and have a garden hidden by walls. I read this book to my kids last year and fell in love with it again all over. Still wish I could have my own secret garden.
4. The Firm by John Grisham. Shortly after graduating from college with a degree in English Literature, I was longing for a "beach read" type of book. I devoured The Firm and all of Grisham's other books for years. They were a fun escape. Sadly, I think his newer books are extremely boring.
5. Harry Potter - ALL of them! I think Book 4 might have been my favorite one to read but I honestly love these books. I think JK Rowling is brilliant and I love her for creating books that people lined up for. I LOVE the cds of the books, Jim Dale does such an amazing job. The movies are just ok for me, nothing compared to the books. I feel sad that the series is over. I'm not sure there will ever be another Harry Potter.
6. When Fish Fly: Lessons For Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace From the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market by John Yokoyama and Joseph Michelli. This might seem like an odd choice and it is just a short little book, but it had a real impact on me. It was the first time I realized that people have "stories" that color their interactions with others. I love the way he overcame his challenges.
7. Emma by Jane Austen. Jane Austen was the author I chose to focus on when I went on a literature-based study abroad to England. I gave my presentation on the book Emma right on the lawn of Jane Austen's house. That was back in 1989. What an experience!
8. Activity Schedules for Children With Autism: Teaching Independent Behavior (Topics in Autism) by Lynn E. McClannahan; Patricia J. Krantz. I have read A LOT of books about autism, but I think this one was the most useful from a practical standpoint. I probably read it in 1999. I used the ideas in this book and made actual schedules for Alex that I know helped him in many ways. I even taught 2 parent training classes at the Pingree School based on what I learned from this book.
9. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. I read this book a few years ago after hearing a speaker at a science awards dinner talk about it. It's not like this one is a real "page turner" but it made me think hard about how our world has changed. Every time I see this one on my shelf I want to be better about giving my children the experience of growing up with an appreciation of nature. This is a real challenge for us.
10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. How could this not be on my list? I majored in English Literature for Pete's sake! I especially love British Literature and the Bronte sisters are a big part of that passion for me. One of the highlights of my life was actually visiting the moors that inspired this book. Yes, I ran on the moors! Loved that college study-abroad trip.
11. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I read all the Anne series books when I was young (maybe 9 or 10?). I was an avid reader and thankfully, my Mom kept me well stocked with books. I couldn't remember much about these books except for the fact that I loved them so much. I re-read these with my daughter last year and enjoyed them so much.
12. I read a book about the Donner Party in 7th grade - it was required reading. I don't remember the title of the book, but I know I was horrified that people actually ate other people. It stuck with me for a long time.
13. Native Son by Richard Wright. I read this in college when I took an African American literature course. It is one of those books that stays with you forever. Very disturbing in many ways, but an important work in African American literature. It deals with so much racial hatred and sadness.
14. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown (and most of his other books). I know people get all worked up over this one, but I really loved it. Even if it was all true, it doesn't really bother me, in fact it would make sense to me in many ways. It was a wonderful book to get lost in, one of those you can't put down. I really like his other books also, especially Deception Point. I did not care for Angels and Demons though, and I have no desire to see that movie or the movie of the DaVinci Code.
15. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. One of those books that just stays with you. I must have been about 12 when I read this and I still remember it so well. I love the episode of Friends where Rachel makes Joey read it and he has to put it in the freezer when it gets too sad. ;)