I was never overly impressed by the CYOA books themselves; they always seemed a bit thin and two-dimensional. For me the heights of the genre were the pleasantly sardonic Grailquest series (http://gamebooks.org/show_series.php?id=188
) and the Fighting Fantasy series (http://gamebooks.org/show_series.php?id=11
). The Grailquest books were actually funny and sarcastic and always had this pleasantly ironic meta feel to them: there was a running joke about being sent to Page 14 (which was always the "you die" page), and you'd have fearsome characters show up at the beginning of the book with piles of life points that you were supposed to fight, but then they'd choke and die by accident. The Fighting Fantasy books were just awesome in that young-boy way; Freeway Fighter was probably the best (http://gamebooks.org/show_item.php?id=50
), although I seem to remember that Starship Traveller (http://gamebooks.org/show_item.php?id=40
) was actually broken and couldn't be won, although the description on that site claims that it's not the case, it's just very hard to win. I note that I don't actually remember any of the *60* books in the series past Freeway Fighter, #13
I should also point out that these books all had elaborate schemes of dice rolling and the like for combat, and not once could I be bothered to do that.
Oh, and that site, gamebooks.org, omg. It's like a little part of my childhood coming out of nowhere on the internets.