1. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - This is a gimme, right?
2. Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling - And so is this, for that matter.
3. The Road by Cormac McCarthy - McCarthy's stark, grey, post-apocalyptic world is as vivid as it is realistic and, of course, terrifying.
4. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray - Busy Indian markets, spooky English boarding schools, with a side of incredible magical realms, Bray has great,vivid settings down pat.
5. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer - You have to be doing a pretty good job making your post-apocalyptic setting vivid, even if it's a little vague, if I put the book down and wonder where I am and if things are all right with the world.
6. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson - San Piedro Island - "Late in the afternoon, at about four-thirty, heavy clouds shadowed the strawberry fields. The clean June light went softly gray and a breeze came up in the southwest. It was possible, then, to feel the cool pause before the first drops fell. The air turned thick; sudden gusts caught the cedars at the edge of the fields and flailed their tops and branches... The pickers craned their necks to watch the clouds and held their palms out to check for rain. At first just a few drops raised tiny wisps of dust around them and then, as if a hole had been punched in the sky, and island summer rain poured hard against their faces..." Yes? I thought so.
7. Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor - I read this on a dreary early spring day, but it felt like the long, warm, langorous days of summer because of how well O'Connor brought her former orphanage/current artists' retreat farmhouse and grounds to life.
8. That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx - Before I read Proulx, her reputation for capturing the west in her books preceded her. Proulx's small Texas Panhandle town, Woolybucket, is so vivid I felt like I could live there, or did live there. It's dry as a bone, rich with history, and maybe stinks a little like a hog farm.
9. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables is practically a travel brochure for Prince Edward Island. I have absolutely no idea what PEI is like, but if it's half so nice as Montgomery's description, I pretty much need to go there.
10. The Legacy by Katherine Webb - Webb hits it right on the head with the big old manor house and the dreary yet somehow appealing grounds that go with it.