I couldn't have said it better myself! I think it's interesting that almost everything everyone's mentioned so far has been a "classic" or one sort or another. I hear a lot of schools are trying to make their curricula more "hip" by including "cool" books that are often below grade level and generally just not that great. But it looks like the books that stick with people are usually those that have survived the test of time.
That rings a bell, but I'm not familiar with it. I'll have to look into it!
I started reading the Cliff's Notes of that in middle school...I almost threw up. XD Definitely an important book, just not one that agrees with my constitution.
Have you tried his Dupin short stories? They were the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, and I believe are less macabre than some of his other famous works.