For me, I think the books would be, probably, and with no The Collected Works of, which I think would be cheating:
- Leaves of Grass
- Underworld (Don Delillo)
- Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson)
- Harriet the Spy (Louise Fitzhugh)
- The Big Sleep (Raymond Chandler)
- King Lear or maybe The Tempest
- King James Bible
- Perdido Street Station (China Mieville)
- maybe Coming Into the Country (John McPhee)
- Family Happiness (Laurie Colwin) or maybe Another Marvelous Thing
- Winter Stars (Larry Levis)
- One Hundred Years of Solitude (Garcia Marquez)
--let me pause to note, putting your list on display is like inviting people to your house and hoping against hope that your house is in order and that people won't judge you for your lapses of taste.
What would be on your ideal bookshelf? The historian says that on his shelf would reside American Minds by Stow Persons, The Communist Manifesto, Love and Capital by Mary Gabriel, the biography of Thelonious Monk by Robin D. G. Kelly, and The Making of the English Working Class (E. P. Thompson). He also said my book, but we agreed it was so slim it shouldn't count against the total.
For more ideas, you should click on the link and see what others said. It's a really interesting discussion. I wanted to take notes.