Bob from Brockley has pointed the finger in this direction, laying on me the task of making two lists of books. The first is a list of novels read in my teens and early twenties, books that shaped or inspired me. I'm taking the age of 25 as my cut-off point here, and dumping 'shaped'. I don't know what novels, if any, shaped me. So the first list is simply of novels that had a big impact when I read them and which I've never forgotten; unlike the many books one reads that leave only a vague trace. This first list I found relatively easy to make.
The second list is of novels I've read as an (older) adult and loved - and it's impossible. I mean it's impossible given the limit I set myself of 15 books per list. There are just too many in this second category and consequently I have had to be quite arbitrary in my choices, putting together a sample, no more. One result of this has been that I've omitted from the second list some of my favourite writers - Henry James, Anthony Powell, Philip Roth, Anne Tyler, Richard Yates - through being unable to fix on the book of theirs I'd choose (another self-imposed rule being that no writer gets more than one title on a list).
Here, after all that, are the two lists. The books aren't ranked on either, but given in the chronological order in which I read them.
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
Howard Fast, Spartacus
Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human
Franz Kafka, The Trial
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenhet 451
Upton Sinclair, The Jungle
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Émile Zola, Germinal
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
José Saramago, Blindness
Jane Austen, Emma
Patrick Hamilton, The Slaves of Solitude
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
John McGahern, Amongst Women
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
Margaret Forster, Have the Men Had Enough?
Elizabeth Taylor, Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
Edith Wharton, The Reef
Sebastian Barry, A Long Long Way
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina