After reading all of your excellent suggestions for good reads (my already sagging shelf may now overflow, thanks), I've decided to ask you all for a bit of advice on school reads as well. The general question is: what book (or books) would you recommend for a British Literature course? This, or course, means that the book has to be written by a British author (or at a stretch, Scottish, Irish, or Welsh). No limitations other than that.
If you're really feeling ambitious, how would you group them? For example, a semester course on Dystopian literature, I could teach Brave New World, 1984, and.... what else? A semester course on Shakesepeare could include Macbeth, Othello, King Lear.... recommendations? Contemporary British Lit could include High Fidelity (by Nick Hornby).... others? A class on British mythology could feature Irish lore, King Arthur, Robin Hood (recommendations on books in those areas?). But where does Virginia Woolf fit? Or Thomas Hardy? Or Sherlock Holmes? Or Harry Potter? (yes, I know I've mixed authors and characters there, but you get the idea)
I'd love any suggestions on topics and books that go with them. Or just give me suggestions on Brit books you like, and I'll figure out what to do with them. :)
(In case you're wondering, I'm all fired up because Alicia and I continued plotting the restructuring of the junior and senior years of English, and I'm excited about planning some interesting new classes--key word = "interesting.)
And yes, lurkers, this is another plea to come out of the woodwork. :)