i used to read tons, devouring one book after another at times. sometimes taking a break in between. before i had kids. now i rarely find the time to read. when i hit the library i get a nice big stack of books that look so good and then i find that i don't have the time to finish them. usually when i do it's the middle of the night after the children and the man have gone to bed. i stay up horribly late, 2 or 3am some nights, partly because I'm enjoying the story and partly because i know i wont be able to pick it up again for a while.
and in the meantime my daughters, especially the oldest who is now 12, devour their books. reading one after another, (including most of the books that i picked up from the library that i haven't gotten to) thick books being finished in a day or two. some times i'm a little jealous.
i generally stay in the youth and young adults (although, unfortunately, sometimes even these are iffy. do 13yr olds really need to read about having sex?) book section only rarely venturing to the 'adult' section. i don't like smut books, i don't want to read horrible, graphic details about some tragic event or some crazed weirdo, and i don't want to expose myself to an excess of vile language because the characters (or author) couldn't come up with more intelligent words. (as mike wazowski says 'if you're going to insult me, do it properly' or something like that.) (if you're interested, you can find some really great insults on the Elizabethan insults page. classic stuff)
but as for all time favorites, we have a few. there's the old and modern classics like peter pan, ann of green gables, enders game, and ruby hollar.
for younger children i love the gossie book by olivier dunrea . the text is pretty simple but i just love the artwork. soft painted water colors and bright little sketches.
i also love the books by peter h. reynolds, especially 'the dot' and 'ish'.
again, the paintings are simple but beautiful (and i love how he uses tea for one of his mediums!) and the stories are essential for anyone who wants to teach art to children (or even adults). never say 'i cant make art' or 'i cant draw' because anyone can draw anything and it is all art.
(even if it's only art-ish) i also used these books to remind the children that art is in the eye of the beholder, so just because they wouldn't have done it that way, or they don't think it's a good job, doesn't give them the right to insult each other or their own work for that matter. 'ish' is good enough, just look at Picasso.
and lastly i have my small but expanding collection of 'alice in wonderland' books. there's the color book, the annotated book, the old book, the sticker book, and 2 awesome pop ups.
in fact i had to replace one of them because the kids played with too much and it didn't want to pop anymore.
Mimus' by Lilli Thal, one of the few that i actually got to read before she took it from me. it is a tale of adventure and betrayal, of understanding peoples and understanding yourself, and of jesters.