The greatest book ever written
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, by Raymond Carver
"That morning she pours Teacher's over my belly and licks it off. That afternoon she tries to jump out the window." And that's not even the best line.
Collected Stories of John Cheever
He knew better than anyone the darkness that hides behind the costume of a carefully manicured lawn.
Deliverance, by James Dickey
A reminder of how close we are to animalism, and because there's so much more to the book than that scene.
Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy
Just try sleeping after the scene in which the Apaches thunder over the hills wearing the dresses of the brides they've killed.
The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Freud and Einstein both hailed it as a masterpiece, and Kurt Vonnegut claimed that everything you need to know in life is smashed down into this book. It still is.
The Known World, by Edward P. Jones
Free black people who own slaves. Slaves who know the world's brutality and, more shockingly, its beauty.