College ‘beach books’ are new, easy

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a 2010 book on a black cancer victim whose cells were used for medical research, is by far the most popular book assigned to new college students as “common summer reading,” concludes a survey by the National Association of Scholars.

Almost 90 percent of college chose books published since the start of 2000; only two selected books published before 1972. Only two books — one by Mark Twain and one by Aldous Huxley — could be considered classics.

It’s not just political correctness, says Peter Wood, president of NAS. “Colleges have lowered their expectations of what college students are capable of understanding.”

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  1. Wayworn Wanderer says:

    We went with “The Last Lecture” this year. Independent of the book itself, the effort was a disaster. The morons running our New Student Orientation failed to get the students to the discussion time.

  2. Not related to Joanne’s post, but if you have only read “The Last Lecture” book, I highly recommend watching the actual lecture. Randy presents very well and the talk is well worth the time watching it. Youtube has it, as does iTunes (and probably a lot of other sites).