Via Patti Abbot's blog (and a bunch of others) AKA a swift post as I rush through last minute things:
Alice in Wonderland: the book of my life, the set me up for a lifetime of absurdity and nonsense -- and wonder;
Mary Poppins: ditto -- the books have little to do with the wretchedly painful Disney version (of COURSE), but I read ALL of them; magic without the twee fluff;
Shrieks at Midnight: gave me a taste for the macabre at a very young age, which has never changed either;
Beowulf: read with Njal's Saga in Stephen Mitchell's course and literally changed my life -- grad school, academia, a whole new level of writing inspired;
The Books of Blood: fearless imagination, bold writing, horror inside out;
Lucky Jim: One of the first books that both touched on my love/hate relationship with academia and made me laugh so hard that I cried;
The Bloody Chamber: Fearless writing, grotesque and beautiful, infinitely inspiring;
Pride and Prejudice: The genius, sheer genius of her observation, the rapier intensity of her wit, the horrible weight of her knowledge;
Waiting for Godot: hilarious and painfully sad, not a wasted word in the text, the ultimate in efficient writing;
The Dagenham Dialogues: funniest damn thing ever; that they live on the page without the impeccable delivery of Cook and Moore is miraculous wonder.
In half an hour, I would give totally different answers, but at this moment, with these things sifting around my brain and writing furiously, these are the ones...