My list will be pretty skewed towards fantasy since that's what I read the most of, and I'm limiting myself to one book or series per author so as not to have only like 2 authors taking up the list. Some of these like Atlas, are just what I consider exceptional writing that anyone might appreciate, while others like the Belgariad are just dear to my heart because of when/where I first read them.
1. Atlas Shrugged ~ Ayn Rand (u all saw that one coming.)
2. A Song of Ice and Fire ~ George R.R. Martin (best-written fantasy series I've ever read)
3. The Belgariad ~ David Eddings. (read these in 7th grade when I was first in children's homes, reignited my love of reading)
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ~ Mark Twain (my favorite classic)
5. Ender's Game ~ Orson Scott Card (my favorite sci-fi book, the followup's never got to me quite like the original did.)
6. Mistborn Series ~ Brandon Sanderson (second best-written fantasy series I've ever read)
7. Harry Potter Series ~ J.K. Rowling (incredibly popular, but still unappreciated. It's hard not to enjoy these)
8. Wheel of Time ~ Robert Jordan (got me through basic training, soo much downtime to read while waiting in line everywhere)
9. Dresden Files ~ Jim Butcher (Nothing amazing from a literary standpoint, but you just plain like the characters.)
10. Othello ~ William Shakespeare (cause it's a crime to have a list of stories without Shakespeare)
11. Hannibal Lecter Series ~ Thomas Harris (Very well written and scary, and I needed at least 1 more non-fantasy on the list)
Ok so it's 11. I'll stop.
I believe it's time for mankind to set aside the crutch of religion and embrace morality born of reason and truth. Those crutches have long since proven treacherous when the ground gets slippery.