|To Kill a Mockingbird|
By Harper Lee
Though this 1960 Pulitzer Prize-wining book takes place in the south, its main theme - not to judge people and to look beyond the superficial - are pretty universal. My favorite character is Atticus Finch, a lawyer appointed to defend ablack man on a rape charge, because he's both strong and moral. Without being preachy, the book makes readers think carefully about racial divisions.
She's Come Undone|
By Wally Lamb
I really love the character Dolores Price, whose story is told from childhoodto middle age. Altough things get rather traumatic for her at times, her sardonic wit is comforting and almost distracts you from her pain. Lamb has a great way of exploring and revealing a character's suffering while diluting it with wry humor.