We the Media by Dan Gillmor
Complaining about the media is a popular pastime but no one did anything about it, says Gillmor, until Weblogs came along. The California-based columnist explains why the legion of blogs--several million to date--are on a collision course with big media as it slides steadily toward cheaper and dumber news. Gillmor's world is one of heroes (the journalists and concerned citizens taking the press to task one HTML link at a time) and villains (the Disneys and Microsofts using copyright law to stymie innovation and freedom of speech). Like the best blogs, Gillmor's primer is occasionally scattered, but its insights are indispensable.
Frenchy by Benjamin Cros (in French)
Political thrillers about persecuted minorities in the American South may be a subgenre all their own. But the hyphenated Americans under threat in Cros's first novel are novel indeed: Parisian-Texans. As anti-French animosity roils to a fever pitch in the Lone Star town of Hornflat, the Duchenes, a family of French emigres, become victims. Terrorized by uncouth (and invariably chubby) thugs, their Gallic-goods shop decimated, the family finds no sympathy in the war-happy sheriff's office. "Frenchy" sheds an outsiders' light on an America trying to find itself as it looks for enemies within.
Mill, Alm, Money, Lemon: A Family Conversation by Bolivar Lamounier (in Portuguese)
What's in a name? Countless scholars have asked, but few have gone as far as Lamounier, a Brazilian political scientist. Tracking his own family, Lamounier wanders back a millennium or more, when a single name was enough to distinguish one soul from another. As populations grew and prospered, the surname was born to tell us apart, usually by profession or land of origin. The author reckons he hails from an ancient line of European laborers--millers, lemon growers, financiers or almsgivers. In pursuit of his ancestors, he winds up tracing much of world history. This is ultimately a story about all of us, whatever our names may be.