King Rat and Shogun by James ClavellRead about another entry on the list.
When I was 13, I was stranded on the island of Sardinia with my father, his young wife, their baby son, a nanny, my older sister, and our two younger half-sisters who didn't speak English. I found a copy of King Rat on a bookshelf and it saved me. Historical fiction then became my favorite genre. Shogun was the first book I devoured as an adult.