Dave Davies

Wall Street Journal columnist Christopher Mims says the global supply chain has become so cost effective that it can lead to surprising detours. That's the case with cod fish caught in Scotland, which are frozen and sent to China or Southeast Asia to be filleted, and then shipped back to Scotland to be sold.

"It's a journey of many thousands of miles, because transporting that cod is so much cheaper than paying domestic workers to prepare that cod," Mims says.

Grace M. Cho emigrated to the U.S. as a baby, with her Korean mother and her father, a white American who served in the Merchant Marines. They settled in a small, rural town in Washington state, where they were among the only immigrants in the community.

"Children used to tease me and bully me for being Asian," Cho says. "I also started to notice that these kinds of things also happened to my mother, sometimes in ways that were even more dramatic than what I had experienced."

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Author Ryan Busse jokes that he was born with "a shotgun in one hand and a rifle in the other." It's a shorthand he uses to explain the significant role that guns played in his childhood in western Kansas.

"I grew up hunting and shooting with my father. Guns were things we used on the ranch and farm," he says. "The few times that we got to spend together doing something fun and enjoyable, oftentimes it was with a gun. ... [Guns] are things that became very culturally important to us."