At my US high school, we had a pretty big list of options to choose from for book reports, and the teacher was willing to accept out suggestions for additions if they were good ones. In Israel, my school had a program where we got an interdisciplinary approach to history and literature - we would read books either from the period that we studying about, or about it. That seemed to work fairly well.
They also had us read Shai Agnon - Israeli's only Nobel laureate in literature. I hated it. Then at university 7-8 years later, I took a literature and psychology elective, and came across Agnon again, and it was great. I simply wasn't at the right age and frame of mind to appreciate his work in high school. I also found it much more interesting to approach literature from a psychological perspective rather than a literary one. Maybe the issue isn't what is being taught, but how it is being taught.