Honestly, the crap they threw in front of me in highschool was RARELY absorbed. Some british poetry in the 12th grade was pretty rememberable (John Donne, etc..), but the only things I walked away from school with some retention:
The Scarlet Letter: Symbolism. Yay... meh
Great Gadspy or whatever: Eh, wasn't tough to read, but didn't go nuts over it.
The Divine Comedy - Dante: Some people read the Inferno, which I enjoyed... the Pergatorium was just like Inferno, except no fire and an extremely dim sense of hope... Paradiso was boring as hell (I really truely hope heaven isn't that boring)
MacBeth - that famous british playwright dude: The only Shakespeare I really enjoyed reading.
And that's all I got outta high school. Yup, that was it. I'm not an avid reader, and engineers only had to take english 101 and 102, so I didn't have to read crap for school, either.
After graduating, though, I started picking up books again:
The Forever War - Joseph Haldeman. First scifi I read. Really enjoyed it, too. He really dealt with the whole travelling through 'space causes hundreds of years to pass' thing well.
Forever Peace - Joe Haldeman. Thought I'd try the sequel since I enjoyed the first so much. Was good, although it ended quickly and abruptly.
Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy Yeah, I didn't read this till I was in my mid 20s (and haven't read the other 4 yet)
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexander Dumas (that's doo mas, Em, not Dumbass). Loved the movie, so I gave the book a try. Holy crap was that a fantastic story. You don't truely know revenge until you've read this book. I may pick up another Dumas. Really liked his style.
Contact - Carl Sagan. Well, give me a day or two... almost done.
LotR - Started reading the trilogy after the first movie. Finished before the last one. I read slow, sue me
That's it. I have such a short list compaired to everyone else that I could write something about each book. Rather sad, isn't it? To defend myself, I really enjoy reading anthologies of scifi shortstories, and that's what I usually read.
Oh, and one other thing, I've been collecting classic stories to read to Joey when he gets old enough to understand them and remember them. Like Gulliver's Travels, the whole CS Lewis Narnia books, etc... I figured I'm a little too old to not know classics, but at least Joey will be well learned before going to school and is 'forced' to read them.