Here are my five:
1. The Archivist's Story, by Travis Holland. This book is just out, and I haven't actually read it yet. But I am studying to be an archivist, so I thought it would be a good choice. I love book that have librarians or archaeologists or historians having adventures. As someone who studies those fields, I can only hope that I get to experience such things.
2. Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae, by Steven Pressfield. I am an ancient history nerd, and the Battle of Thermopylae is my favorite battle. When I studied abroad in Greece, I visited the place where the battle took place...and totally geeked out.
3. Great Books, by David Denby. When I was having a hard time trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life after college, my professors in the history department gave me this book to remind me what it is that I love about academia. It gave me a new perspective towards books I've read numerous times. It's one I will revisit again, as it helped remind me of the different ways the same piece of literature can speak to us.
4. The Iliad, by Homer. This is my favorite book of all time. It shows the best and worst of all of us. While I strive to be Hector who balances work (the war) and family, and tries to do the honorable thing, I can understand how Achilles desires being remembered. Plus, it has some of the most beautiful words in all of literature (see scenes with Andromache and Hector as well as Priam's speech to Achilles at the end).
5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. This is one of the first "great books" I read, as a young girl in elementary school, and one that I have read and re-read. I love Jo March. I respect her ambition, creativity, and stubborn-ness and think I share those qualities. She taught me at an early age that girls can strive for anything, and with hard work may just achieve their dreams, but also that making mistakes is a greath path to understanding and educating oneself.