21 Books - 25 Books - Attempt # 1

This list is by no means comprehensive - as noted in the additions tacked on at the bottom. But here goes:

1. Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
(Anyone who grew up alongside Harry Potter and his friends can understand the excitment. Completely immersive. I waiting for a letter...)
2. Matilda by Roald Dahl
(The best story ever about a little girl who loved books)
3. The Island by Athol Fugard
(Post-colonial protest play-writing at it's absolute best. Powerful writing, powerful theatre)
4. Untold Stories by Alan Bennett
(A wonderful insight into the life of a favourite writer)
5. The History Boys by Alan Bennet
(A favourite play for the wit, the boys, the truth, the words)
6. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinely
(Great fantasty, beautifully written, wonderful world)
7. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
(Don't judge a book by an ugly cover. Laugh until you cry and learn at the same time!)
8. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
(Best/most complete and wonderful ending... ever.)
9. Each, Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Alan Allbergh
(The only book I know off by heart)
10. Mothertongue by Bill Bryson
(If you speak English and write English it is a good thing to understand English. Love Bryson's accessibilty)
11. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
(Utterly gorgeous in every way. So is Mr. Darcy!)
12. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
(First insight into how an enthusiastic teacher can transform the reading/understanding of a book. Post-colonial reading = worrying. But there we go!)
13. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
(Brillian historical fiction - again great ending)
14. The Scarlett Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
(ooooh: adventure, romance, mystery!)
15. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
(My introduction to the mystery genre. Completely changed my reading habits. Haven't looked back back - neither has Phryne!)
16. The Protector of the Small Quartet by Tamora Pierce
(Taught such wonderful lessons about sticking up to bullies and being true to yourself. Perfect teen read)
17. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransom
(Better than the famous five, wonderful adventure, food and writing. I don't even like sailing!)
18. The Faraway Tree Series by Enid Blyton
(Escapist: such imagination)
19. Lady Chatterly's Lover by DH Lawrence
(Read after reading the trial transcripts. Surprising! Who'd have thought that the swearing and 'smut' was necessary and completely romantic)
20. Everything is Illuminated by Johnothan Safran Foer
(Writing about WWII is difficult. This brings family and personal journeys into a whole new genre. As for the writing: wow!)
21. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
(How you should write short stories)

... had to extend to the full 25!

22. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack
(For the children who were born after the Holocaust. For Everyone.)
23. Journey to Bright Water by Janine Burke
(Coming of age. Local and real with just a sparkle of magic)
24. Animalia by Grahame Base
(Pictures? Art! Alphabets! Aardvarks!)
25. Women of Troy by Euripedes
(A true Epic Tragedy, apply to all war - Classical or otherwise)

Others Shortlisted: Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, The Willow Tree and Olive by Trini Savvides; Ex Libris by Anne Fadmiman; A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare