Well, there's a difference in how you perceive fiction that you have to read for school and such that you read on your own. for example, I'm not a great fan of Salinger, whereas I read Goethe on my own and... well, hated it, but the point still stands
I think the fact that I haven't read "Mitty" (I'm printing the story right now, though) has more to do with other things:
- In Germany, short stories are not held in big regard, seen mostly as a stepping stone on the way to greater things, so you don't treat them very extensively in school
- Furthermore, it takes a while for English lessons to contain literature other than school-book-prose (being a foreign language and all)
- Finally, most of what you have to read for school is by design some "important" piece of literature that may, in fact, be not very good or at least hasn't aged well. I guess that's so those who like to read can continue to feel superior to those who don't, as not many pupils are inclined to read more after "Effi Briest".