Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
Just so 7 slots of this list are not being taken by all the Harry Potter books, I chose only the first one. I am a massive Harry Potter fan and the first book of the series will always have a special place in my heart as this is the book that made me fall in love with this whole magic universe when I was a kid. I don't think I need to say much more as everyone and their mother has heard about the boy who lived.
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Speaking of very well-known books, I would also bring this one. I read it in my first year at uni and I think that this was the first proper novel in English that I read fully (English is not my first language, it's not that I did not read until the age of 18). I thought that the book was so beautiful but at the same time, I was deeply disturbed by the fact that some of the events in the book could still happen today.
Gimme more - Liza Cody
I picked up this one completely by chance, just because I liked the title (the title in French is The Rock'n Roll Widow) and the cover. I read it and it immediately became one of my favourite books. The story is about a woman whose partner used to be a huge star and passed away in an arson and her story trying to protect his legacy and his music. I really like the tone of the writing, it's got a lot of cynicism and dark humour so if these are up your street, I would recommend that you give this book a try.
Mother Goose Tales - Charles Perrault
I don't know how well this is known in the English speaking world but in France, it's a classic. It's the original versions of many very famous children tales like the Little Red Riding Hood or Sleeping Beauty. I have read this one over and over and will probably never get tired of it. I just find it amazing that the stories can be so grim when they were actually written for children, obviously the stories were meant to scare them into being good ! Also, while researching the book to find the English translation of the title, I found that it was published on my birthday in 1697 - which was not my birthday at the time but you know what I mean - so there's a little extra fact thrown in there for you.
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
In case you have not read this one, nor seen its movie adaptation, it is the story of a young girl being brutally murdered and who is witness to the life of her family after her death. It is not a nice story with regards to the actual subject of it but it is really gripping. I find absolutely fascinating the way that the author describes all the human feelings that all the different characters deal with. I personally found that it is one of the stories that leave you emotionally involved and weirdly drained when you have finished it.
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
I think I would pick the Hobbit over The Lord of the Rings - even though I love both stories equally - for the only reason that the former makes me dream a bit more. I also think that this would be a perfect stable to start in the world of fantasy literature. I really wished I had read it sooner since I did not actually read it a fair few years after I read The Lord of the Rings.
Le Chien Bleu - Nadja
This was probably my favourite book as a child, I used to read it over and over. I love it so much that I gave a copy to my partner when he started learning French. This is a story of a little girl befriending a blue dog, despite the fact that everyone is scared about the dog because he is massive - and blue. As a child, I remember not understanding why everyone would reject the blue dog even though he was so beautiful and friendly to the little girl. Obviously as an adult I understand that this was the very purpose of the book: making you understand that you should not judge people by their looks.
Merde Actually - Stephen Clarke
This is the story of a British man moving to France. It is genuinely funny and it actually made me lough out loud. I think being French myself made the book even funnier to me but I knew at times that the author was not exaggerating, it was the actual truth it was describing just adding a bit for comic effect.
The Devil Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger
I don't think I need to introduce this one either. This is one of my feel-good book. It's such an easy read but at the same time funny and interesting that I find it so easy to pick it up when I just feel like reading something light to distract myself. Even though I would say that my preference lies with fantasy and crime / thriller novels, I do enjoy "chick-lit" from time to time and The Devil Wears Prada is such a staple.
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is another classic that is also one of my favourite. I loved the story from the first time that I read it. Again it describes the complexity of human relationships and emotions in such an accurate manner that it almost hurts to read. The book also has one of my favourite quotes of all times: It is a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people.