James Harriet - For many years I was dead set on being a veterinarian, so stories about life as a vet were very appealing to me. Some stories are funny, some sad, others downright hilarious or depressing, and all completely true. A great read for animal lovers!
Fantasy & Science Fiction
William Goldman - If there is anyone out there who has not yet read The Princess Bride or seen the movie, then you need to immediately go out and find yourself a copy of either one or both. For everyone else, I shouldn't even have to explain why this fantastic story is on my list. This is the kind of tale I can only dream of creating; a lighthearted fairy tale that jokes around and is complete nonsense but at the same time can be deep and emotional too. There is fencing, fighting, chases, escapes, giants, monsters, true love, miracles, and so much more. Don't take my word for it though, go watch or read it!!
Anne McCaffrey - The Dragonriders of Pern is my all-time favorite series. These books inspired me to want to craft my own stories in the first place. In few words, these books are about a planet filled with people who ride dragons. Seriously what could be better than that? McCaffrey is so detailed in her world building and descriptions that Pern sounds like a very believable place. Filled with intricate timelines, hundreds of characters, and a brilliant blend of science fiction and fantasy elements, I highly recommend.
Marissa Meyer - Her series The Lunar Chronicles is fantastic!! Futuristic versions of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White? YES! It may seem like an unusual combination, but it's definitely one of my favorites. Her characters are so unique that I have a hard time picking my favorite. She sticks to the original story while at the same time making it her own, which is really cool. She also has a superhero series called Renegades, which I still need to read, but I'm sure it's also fantastic!
Ursula K LeGuin - Catwings were probably my first ever introduction to fantasy before Anne McCaffrey. These books are very short and you can literally read all 4 in one afternoon, but they are delightful little stories and I will always treasure them dearly.
Bridge to Terabithia - I have to admit, I didn't really read this book until well after I had a firm foundation of Laminar because I was afraid of copying it. As it turned out, that wasn't the problem. While the two have their similarities, I don't think there's any way Laminar can possibly be mistaken for Terabithia!
Arthur Conon Doyle - There's never a bad time for a good mystery, especially when it's Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.
Jack London - The Call of the Wild and White Fang fueled my love of wolves and huskies about as much as the movie Balto did.
Johnathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels! I read this in high school my senior year and loved it.