"There are several foreign works on the list with no recommended translations"
Oh, guess I'd overlooked that. But that makes sense and is probably in the list-creators' best interest (again, otherwise they'd have to put up with all the voices of dissent arguing over definitive translations).
"Except for On the Road and LOTR/The Hobbit I think every 20th-century book I've read was for a school assignment."
Are you including nonfiction? Either way, that's pretty bizarre.