Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel - I am surprised I didn't weep all over the pages, or drip food onto them. Oh, how wonderful this book is.
Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund - WOW, this book is amazing!
The L.A. Quartet by James Ellroy, consisting of The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz. GRITTY. Like Sam Spade meets David Lynch
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - a fascinating, whimsical fairy tale. Literally.
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier- Gripping from the first sentence to the last. This is my No.1 book.
One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - one of the most beautiful stories ever, I thought it was better than Love In The Time Of Cholera.
Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal by Thomas Harris - I read the first two when Hannibal hadn't been written yet, and thought Red Dragon was a vastly superior book. I considered Silence of the Lambs to be good, but Clarice Starling a bit fluffy and vapid compared to Will Graham. Then Hannibal was published and I reread them. The second reading reversed my judgement; I saw that SotL was more subtle, the characters more developed, and best of all, my favorite guy, Dr. Lecter himself, played a far more central role. They are all outstanding, in my opinion.
My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk - translated from Turkish, set in the height of Ottoman power.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury - actually this was the first real book I ever read, and to this day I love every bit of it.
The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton - blew me away.
The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson - a Japanese fairytale with very unexpected turns.
Tales of Paradys, and Tales of Venus by Tanith Lee - very weird, very imaginative, and the best last sentence of a story ever. Also Black Unicorn, Gold Unicorn, and Red Unicorn.
The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis - one of three non-fiction books I've really enjoyed. It's about the culture of Haiti, voudoun, zombies, and secret societies. The others (non-fiction I liked) were Rush Limbaugh Is A Big, Fat Idiot by Al Franken - outdated now, but it was a riot when I read it in the 90's - and How To Cook A Wolf by M.K. Fischer.
Anais Nin - anything, especially Little Birds and Delta Of Venus.
Cosmic Banditos by A.C. Weisbecker. Hilarious. Brilliant.
Neverwhere and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Actually, everything by Neil Gaiman.
A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - every woman should read it.
The Diary of Adam and Eve's Diary by Mark Twain - will make you laugh and cry.
The Talisman by Stephen King - Yes, that's what I said. I've read it three times and love it dearly.
Portrait of A Young Man Drowning by Charles Perry - I read this after seeing the movie that was (very loosely) based on it. The movie is a dark comedy. There is nothing funny about the book, but it's excellent.
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson - this book was excerpted in an anthology (haha) of female-authored erotica. Wonderful. Sigh.
Photographing Fairies by Steve Szilagyi - hee hee! A fairy tale of ironic proportions.
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Outrageous Sci-fi adventure/thriller/romance(?)/...etc. It's REALLY wacky. The Count of Monte Cristo, in space, on acid.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck - I loved it when I read it (twice) in high school, and loved it enough to read it again along with the two sequels. Pearl Buck wrote a lot of other wonderful stories set in China, but this is my favorite.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - these are the first real stories my mother read to me. I can remember when I was 3 and 4 years old, getting a chapter at a time, learning to say 'Rumblebuffin'.
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - well, of course. How could I not love them? Dragons!
The Keys To The Kingdom by Garth Nix - this series is still being written, but I loved it from the beginning. It's similar to Harry Potter in some ways, but more imaginative and ironic, I think. Style very similar to Neil Gaiman.
Watership Down by Richard Adams - I don't particularly like rabbits, they are slightly cuter-than-usual rodents IMO, and are just fast-moving food to me. However, this book did change my perspective a bit. I know it's fiction, and rabbits don't really have organized societies like this, but still, it makes you sympathize deeply. The sequel was disappointing; I wouldn't bother. Other books in the same genre I've read are The Plague Dogs, also by Richard Adams, which is excellent but heartbreaking to the point of making any animal lover homicidal, and Mrs. Brisbee And The Rats of NIMH.
All of the Conan stories by Robert E. Howard. You don't know Conan if you're thinking Ah-nold in those goofy movies. Adventure, mayhem, magic, and good old-fashioned barbarian fun!
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - I read this last year, and after all this time I realize it was a great book. It sticks in my mind so richly.