1. It- Stephen King
First read- age 11
My father gave me this book to read when I was eleven, because my parents were always cool with my love of horror. It was my first Stephen King experience, and I read my first copy of the book until the pages were, literally, falling out. Perhaps it was because the kids were around my age at the time, perhaps it was simply the story, but I loved this book to the point of obsession, and would reread it at least once a month.
2. The Lords of Discipline- Pat Conroy
First read- age 17
Pat Conroy is a local author. Was, in fact, my parents' high school English teacher for a while. I grew up with his books around the house, but never really picked one up myself. Until this book. Again, maybe because the protagonists were around my age, or maybe it was the story, but I got obsessed with this book, too. A book about the Citadel. But even now reading this makes me laugh, and cry, and feel angry, and hurt, and involved. You become involved with the characters in this story.
3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter S. Thompson
First read- age 20
This book came as a recommendation from my friend, Lee. He and I were jolly good pot-smoking buddies at the time, and it was during one of our pot-soaked rap sessions that the topic of this book came about. I got myself a copy, and read it, and obsession born! This was and still is one of the funniest books I have ever read.
Bonus- Harriet the Spy- Louise Fitzhugh
First read- age 7(ish)
I'm not entirely sure where I first heard about this book, or exactly how old I was when I read it. Before my love of horror bloomed out of control, I was also into detectives and spies, etc. And Harriet was awesome, Harriet was who I wanted to be when I was 11. Thanks to her, I started carrying my notebook with me everywhere. Not to spy on people, but to write down all the thoughts in my head. Which, a lot of the time, I turned into stories. I still have a notebook obsession to this day, as well as my love of this book.
*I do not mean that I can recite the entire book from memory, only that I have read the particular book in question enough to have whole chunks of it permanently etched into my brain. I didn't choose the book life, the book life chose me.