I happened to be listening to NPR this afternoon and heard one in a series of segments they're doing on what they call "buttonhole books"--"the ones you urge passionately on friends, colleagues and passersby." They're asking authors to talk about their favorite buttonhole books. Julie Powell talked about Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.
I'm not a fan of the whole trilogy, but I thought the first book, known as The Golden Compass in this country, was incredible. Just breathtaking. I've probably said that here before. It was one of the first kids' books I recall crossing over and being popular with adults, too.
And I did go around urging it "passionately on friends." I believe I bought an audio version for a gift for someone who was going to be traveling with kids.