Via Bitch, PhD, a graphical essay by Alison Bechdel on compulsory reading. I sort of have to dispute her conclusion: kids who read a lot on their own are indeed put off anything that's made compulsory (or such was my experience, anyway). But parents who "want [their] children to read something" are by definition not talking about kids who read a lot on their own.
I think some kids just won't read unless you make them, so in that case, if you think reading is important for its own sake, you don't have much choice but to "put it on a list." Or alternatively, rethink the importance of reading except as a means to an end.