Saluting Jean Baudrillard.
Baudrillard followed up America with several other journal-like, aphoristic volumes. Some criticized him for his seeming abandonment of formal argument and analysis. But the casual Baudrillard is my favorite Baudrillard, a wellspring of ideas that turn you sideways. So, before Baudrillard becomes required reading (he was a big despiser of academe), let your mind bounce off this book. You'll get a sense of what the grad-student fuss is about, why he is a "password into the next universe," an heir to Tocqueville, and an irreplaceable original.