Damnit, don't you wish you could eat books and consume their beefy knowledge? Of course you do. But you know what book I'd skip to save room for dessert? The Argument. While I might use this book as a referencing source a good many times, it is for the topics of discussion: social/political/consumer power through media (Internet). I'm sure there are better books for such topic(s), books that read better and contain more qualitative information. As mentioned before, I don't much give a damn about party politics insofar as I enjoy the freak show. The revelations shared by this book are old news to pseudo-wonks and moderately well informed Internet users. And it reads like an Al Franken book: long winded and boringly useless.
I'd rather have a man scream at me about his fears and concerns over our doomed futures. At least that's exciting. At least I'm engaged. Truly, iSpy is heavy handed and maddening in all sorts of always-- but it's informative. I appreciate the attempt of a wake-up call, a thing many do not enjoy receiving, I just wish the optimistic drive of hope featured in the end were more sprinkled throughout. Give us hope or we might not continue.
Unfortunately, I don't have much in the way of alternative suggestions. Postman would be covered in courses before this one and Paglia is too incredibly dense for a whole class to manage. I think it might be best, in all, to cut the books back to 3 or 4 (rather than 5) and assign more assignments of lesser value than the two giant papers, one project, and semester-long blogging. It would encourage more to actually read and participate with more.