What is your favorite classic? I don't really have a desire to discuss the definition of classic, so just think of classic as meaning whatever you want.
I wrote my high school senior research paper on Shaw, so I must have put high value on him at one point. Everyone should be familiar with Gilgamesh, Odysseus, and Beowulf, even if only in summary, because epic heroes are, well, epic. And frankly, Moby Dick is quoted too often to be missed. My boys have read quite a bit of Shakespeare, but while I have included the required Macbeth, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet, they are not my favorites. Oh, also, while I see the value of discussing The Scarlet Letter, I detest Hawthorne's writing! Basically, I am really girly when it comes to my favorites of classic literature. I mean I do adore Lord of the Flies, value the message of Animal Farm, think that Poe should be mandatory reading, and appreciate Great Expectations, but my favorites are just plain girly. So, while these all of the previously mentioned literature may be of value none are favorites.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is the work that leaps to mind as a favorite, because it is delightful. Everyone should see it as a ballet before reading and then after reading they should all memorize Puck's ending monologue. This should be done about 7th grade or at least before high school. (If a family enjoys bawdy humor, I also recommend Much Ado About Nothing. All boys should memorize at least one of Benedick's monologues. If a family wants a strong female character and to discuss the treatment of Jews and the trade of money lending in Europe, The Merchant of Venice is fabulous!)
Branching out from Shakespeare into my other girly favorites, I really like Alice in Wonderland and Sense and Sensibility. Along with A Midsummer's Night's Dream, these are the stories that I will read again, because I want to revisit the characters and the plot. How corny is that?
On the other hand, outside of what is probably considered classic into modern science fiction, if your family can deal with a lot of sex, Stranger in a Strange Land should not be missed. This is another that I have read again just because I wanted to watch the message in reruns. Hhmm- well, now I guess I must reconsider Poe, I go back and read him again and again.