That "desert island" question down below reminds me of another book I guess I'd have to take: Joseph Heller's Catch-22. It's beyond a doubt one of my favorites.
Flashback to Spring, 1963. I'm doing my student teaching at A. S. Johnston High in Austin, Texas. There's a kid named Ronald Swank in my class, kind of a rough and tumble guy, but he likes to read, and we get along. One day after class he comes up to talk, and he's holding a blue paperback. "I like to read war books," he says. "I thought this was a war book, but it's not. Do you want it?" I take the book and look it over. It's Catch-22. I've heard about it, so I thank him and take it back to the dorm with me. That night I start reading it. It's different from anything I've ever read before. The characters all appear to be crazy, there are great one-liners on every page, the plot (if there is one) sure isn't linear. And I love it. Ronald Swank has changed my life.
Over the years, I've probably read Catch-22 a dozen times. I picked it up again last week and started it again. It's just as fresh to me now as it was 42 years ago. A great book? I don't know what the ultimate judgment of history will be. Who reads it now? Anybody? Or is it already forgotten? All I know is that for me it will always be one of the best books of the late lamented 20th century.