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.”