The first book in Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series. Check out the audio version in which a full-character cast includes the author’s dynamic narration. I find the daemon to be one of the most remarkable conceits in literature.
If I’d pursued a dissertation, it would have involved the Aubrey/Maturin books, with a particular emphasis on his three major female characters. O’Brian is a master of the anti-climax, and this series is superb.
Oh, the best of Munro’s short story collections. Violence often informs these stories; though frequently outside the action, it is ever present. No one compresses time and characterization as well. The title story in this collection is unforgettable.
Ann Patchett's State of Wonder is a difficult novel to shake. With her usual subtle elegance, she's pulling apart race and class and art and sex and the primitive. She's writing about children and parents. She's writing about arrogance and science. Come to the Amazon.