I have to say that actually, I had pretty decent book selections in my English classes. I pretty much liked every book I was assigned to read. (Catcher in the Rye, not so much, sorry K Peacock, and The Scarlet Letter was kind of deadly). My hugest issue was that it took SO LONG for us to finish a book because they assigned a chapter a week, even in honors classes, that by the time we reached the end, I had forgotten the beginning.
So basically, I think there's room for plenty more:
The Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden - murder and maturity
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
Regeneration, Pat Barker
Bellweather, Connie Willis - Kids need this one
Poetry by Yates, ee cummings, Dickenson, Matthew Arnold
Plays and Musicals by David Mamet, Sondheim, Oscar Wilde
For middle school - Only You Can Save Mankind, Terry Pratchett; Kidnapped RL Stevenson; Captain Blood, Sabatini; Ivanhoe, Scott; A Connecticut Yankee, Twain.
I would do a segment on international mystery novels, with everyone reading a mystery from a different country/region and then making projects comparing them.
Let them do Ovid, stories from the Heike, the Ramayana, the ones with a lot of blood and honor. I'd do a project on Joseph Campbell and let them write their own hero myth.
Basically, I think the most important thing you can learn in English is how to laugh out loud when you're reading, how to yell and cry and be engaged with books that are just honestly good books, not ones that people say are classics, but the ones people read because they love. You should be able to get enough out of language that you can say, oh yeah, I love Shakespeare, he's hilarious, because you're good enough at reading that you get all the jokes. English class should be an opportunity, not a punishment. And students should be allowed to ask for the kind of stories they want to read, and be given stories that they'll enjoy, but might not have found on their own.