I want to whole-heartedly recommend the collection of New York Times essays and reporting that has been published under the title Class Matters. Ranging from fairly data-driven studies of how people's perception and the economic reality of class has changed in America over decades, to closely studied features of a wide range of archetypes that populate the current understandings of class in America. The reporting and analysis is excellent, and paired with often moving personal accounts that give weight and texture to the more abstract data, make this collection very compelling. The Times has also made much of the reporting available online, here, a site which I have not yet explored in detail. I expect to address many of the specific themes raised by different articles in the collection on their own terms, when I am a little less side-tracked by work, but definitely recommend this book - perfect subway or airplane reading, and thought-provoking through and through.