Just got done reading James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, and I was roaring with laughter. At one point the dialogue between Centipede and Earthworm made me lose my voice, and I simply fell to the floor, gasping. Forget big important adult books.
READ THIS FOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.
I swear by children's books. They are so simple and genius at the same time, you will see how it works, all the bones. It's amazing. I will read all of Dahl's work. And then, of course, as a perk, most of his books are illustrated by delicious Quentin Blake.
Now, as an added perk, if you read this 50th Anniversary edition, there is an interview with Roald Dahl at the very end. It was conducted 2 years before his death, and in it he talks about his writing process. It's fascinating.