Index of articles by category

Beyond the Book Articles
Society and Politics

Page 3 of 6

Order books by:
Note: The key icon indicates member-only content.Learn more about membership.
Cigarette Smuggling to New York City (08/18)
In Joan Silber's Improvement, one of the characters starts a cigarette-smuggling venture after getting out of Rikers prison.

A carton of cigarettes might cost around $55 in Virginia but close to double that in New York City because of steep taxes. New York state has the highest state tax on cigarettes and New York City imposes an ...
Domestic Workers in the US (07/18)
Bridget, the Borden family's Irish maid in See What I Have Done, is a young woman who came to the United States with visions of making a decent living and maybe one day getting married. Sadly, young immigrant women with limited skills and education were more often than not put to work as domestic help. Sadder still, with no union or ...
The Benefits of Mentorships (06/18)
Renee Watson's excellent Young Adult novel Piecing Me Together follows the life of a high school junior. Jade, who is African American, receives a scholarship to a new, predominantly white school, and finds herself feeling alone. Her guidance counselor approaches her with information about participating in a mentorship program ...
Nudge Theory (06/18)
In Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, the protagonist's lack of knowledge or understanding of social norms and conventions evokes sympathy, and leaves her lonely and isolated, at odds with the world. She expresses bafflement at many, and rightly so – they simply do not make sense. But social norms are not just cultural oddities ...
The Rise of the Prison-Industrial Complex (05/18)
The Graybar Hotel makes one reflect on the incarceration rates in the United States and the reason for its explosion over recent decades.

Readers might remember the George H. W. Bush vs. then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis presidential campaign. It has been argued that two commercials truly sealed Dukakis's fate: The ...
Prison Labor (05/18)
In Sing, Unburied, Sing, Pop serves time at the notorious Parchman prison in Mississippi, the maximum security state penitentiary. While a prisoner, he toils in the cotton fields. 'I'd worked, but never like that,' he recalls. 'Never sunup to sundown in no cotton field. Never in that kind of heat. It's different up there. The heat. Ain't ...
A Brief Look at the American Communist Party and Labor Unions (05/18)
America prospered at the turn of the 20th century, but that prosperity wasn't reflected in working conditions or compensation for laborers. Many on the left felt the American Federation of Labor leadership was corrupt and began to support Eugene V. Debs' Socialist Party. There was then a further schism, created by those who felt...
American Brain Drain (05/18)
'Brain Drain,' aka 'Human Capital Flight' refers to the exodus of educated, professional adults from locations that fail to provide them with the means of achieving success and fulfillment. As a consequence, the communities these individuals leave behind often suffer economic and cultural stagnation. The phrase's origin lies in the ...
The Origins of the Kashmir Dispute (05/18)
The Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan occupies center stage in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and is a conflict that traces its roots back to the Indo-Pak partition (for more about the partition, see Beyond the Book for An Unrestored Woman).

When the British left India in 1947, Kashmir was not an Indian state, but was ...
Detention Centers (05/18)
In Lisa Ko's The Leavers, one of the female characters is abruptly transported to the fictional Ardsleyville immigration detention center. She is interned in an unheated room with other women, glaring lights on overhead 24/7. She's fed inedible mush, given minimal time outside, and is usually shackled. No attempts are made to secure her ...
Teach For America (04/18)
While finishing her undergraduate degree in 2004, Reading with Patrick author Michelle Kuo connects with a recruiter from Teach For America (TFA), which led her to teach in rural Arkansas. Each year, Teach For America places more than 5,000 pre-K – 12th grade teachers in high-need rural and urban schools across the United States ...
Texting and Driving (03/18)
Over the years, technology has provided many wonderful enhancements to our lives. However, with these perks, we've also found problems. Perhaps we are too consumed by our helpful gadgets. It's nearly impossible to have down time anymore. We've forgotten the meaning of patience. Do we even still appreciate the peace that ...
The History of Homosexuality in Ireland (03/18)
In The Heart's Invisible Furies, author John Boyne traces the evolving acceptance of homosexuality in Ireland through the life of his main character, Cyril Avery.

Historically speaking, The Republic of Ireland has a conservative reputation, but homosexuality was actually accepted and accounted for in the set of medieval laws known ...
Ten Facts about the New York City Police Department (03/18)
In Proving Ground, Blauner's modern noir mystery, the colossus that is the New York City Police Department, one of the largest civil law enforcement entities in the world, is a supporting character in its own right.

Here are ten fascinating facts about the NYPD:

  1. NYPD has over 49,000 employees of which 34,000 are uniformed ...

Disenfranchisement and Voter Suppression (02/18)
Despite the fact that voting in a federal election is a primary and vital constitutional right held by American citizens over 18 years of age, the playing field for voters is not equal from one state to another.

In Fortress America, Elaine Tyler May argues that disenfranchisement holds individuals back from contributing to their ...
The Bathroom Bills (01/18)
The joys and perils of raising a transgender child are beautifully brought to life in Laurie Frankel's This is How it Always Is. The question of where Poppy should go the bathroom when at school is a sensitive issue.

In the United States, since 2013, more than 24 state legislatures have proposed so-called 'Bathroom Bills' with the ...
Child Welfare Services - Falling Through the Cracks (11/17)
In A List of Cages, even though fourteen-year-old Julian displays all the symptoms of an abused child – missing school, frequent lies, keeping friends at arm's length, poor grades, etc. – he doesn't receive the attention he needs from his teachers or his school district's social services. The authorities ask the ...
Americans with Disabilities (11/17)
In the story 'No Place for Good People,' one of the short stories in Homesick for Another World by Otessa Moshfegh, a lonely widower takes a job overseeing the daily needs of three men with 'moderate developmental disabilities.' Despite his personal problems, the protagonist is able to see these men as 'reasonable enough people.' This ...
Building a Wall Between Impartiality and Personal Opinion (10/17)
The protagonist in The Boat Rocker, Feng Danlin, is a journalist who prides himself on being impartial in his reporting and principled about expressing his opinion. Throughout the book he wrestles with the importance of maintaining objectivity. He researches facts and scrupulously reports his findings, calling out fraud where he sees it. ...
A 2015 Snapshot of the Global Refugee Crisis (10/17)
Go, Went, Gone is set in Berlin during the thick of the ongoing international refugee crisis. Germany and many other countries have become a destination for those who leave home for reasons of violence, conflict, persecution, human rights violations, poverty, and war.

The historic event, now termed the Global Refugee Crisis or European...
Age of Consent (10/17)
The age of consent, according to western law, is the age at which a person is capable of agreeing to engagement in sexual activity. Stephen Robertson, in his article 'Age of Consent Laws', states: 'Narrowly concerned with sexual violence, and with girls, originally, since the 19th century the age of consent has occupied a central place in...
Food Insecurity and Education (09/17)
There is no question that Little's life is affected by both his circumstances and the environment he lives in – and the Pierce, Idaho in which Hoffneister sets Too Shattered For Mending is not a figment of his imagination, but a real place, which means that it isn't a question of if there are real teens with the same ...
Hospice Care (09/17)
Hospice is a medical specialty that focuses on end-of-life care for individuals and support for their families. Its roots come from the Latin for hostis meaning stranger, and more specifically from hospitem meaning a guesthouse - from these roots we also get hospital, hotel and hospitality.

The idea of caring for those suffering from ...
The Cult of Personality (07/17)
In Julian Barnes' The Noise of Time, Dmitri Shostakovich notes that under Stalin, '[Russians] would listen to [Stalin's] insane daily insistence that all was for the best in the best possible of worlds, that Paradise had been created, or would be created quite soon…when a few more saboteurs had been shot. That happier times ...
Late 19th Century Texas (07/17)
Paulette Jiles' News of the World takes place in late 19th century Texas. Much of the state's land was untamed and rugged, but in this time between the end of the Reconstruction and the beginning of the Progressive Era, Texas changed and grew, as did much of the western frontier and the New South.

It was the era of cotton, cattle and ...
Immigration to Australia (07/17)
Author Stephanie Bishop's maternal grandparents left England for Australia in 1965. Her grandmother was reluctant to make the move and never truly warmed to the country. Their experience forms the basis of The Other Side of the World. (Bishop's Guardian article gives the whole story.)

Beginning in the latter decades of the eighteenth ...
Community Gardens (05/17)
In The Garden of Small Beginnings, the book's heroine becomes involved in a community garden.

A community garden is generally a piece of public land set aside for use by individuals who don't have the real-estate or resources to create gardens of their own. Although the idea of a shared planting space has been around for centuries, ...
Multigenerational Homes (05/17)
In We Are the Ants, Henry Denton's maternal grandmother, Nana, lives with him. Early on, it's clear that Nana has Alzheimer's and lives with his family because she can no longer live on her own. Henry is very fond of her and although she has moments of clarity, she is becoming a challenge:

Nana's forgetfulness was...

Restoration Path (05/17)
In his memoir Boy Erased, Garrard Conley discusses both his struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality and his parents' attempt to return him to heterosexuality through Love in Action (LIA), which was renamed Restoration Path in 2012. According to the program's website, 'Restoration Path is a Christian discipleship ...
The Pew Research Center (04/17)
In Agnostic, author Lesley Hazelton states: 'The most respected polls on faith and belief are run by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which has been taking the pulse of both the American and the international soul, as it were, since 2001.'

According to their website, 'Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that ...
India's Partition and Its Lingering Effects (03/17)
At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, Britain withdrew from India and the country split into two so as to form an independent Muslim country to the north-east and north-west of India. Although the British withdrew essentially without incident, the decision to partition India set off a tsunami of violence and what is considered the...
What Teenagers Value (03/17)
Siobhan Vivian's YA novel, The Last Boy and Girl in the World, tells the story of Keeley Hewitt, who is a normal teenager except for one thing: her world is falling apart. Torrential rains are causing trees to crash and houses to crumble, and adults in the community are doing everything they can to protect the place that they call ...
Housing Choice Voucher Program: Does it Work? (03/17)
In Evicted, one of the solutions that Matthew Desmond recommends is the expansion of the government Housing Choice Voucher program. Called Section 8, this aid was created by Congress in 1974, and is different from public housing in that the latter restricts participants to only certain locations and buildings – the infamous Robert ...
Kendra's Law (02/17)
While the City Slept is a searing indictment of the mental health system in the United States, showing step-by-step how the failure of an overworked, underfunded bureaucracy led to a likely preventable human tragedy.

Among the many challenges communities face is in ensuring that those experiencing mental illness get proper ...
Parenting a Prodigy (11/16)
In Gilly Macmillan's The Perfect Girl, seventeen-year old Zoe Maisey is a musical prodigy. Her genius, Zoe says, is 'temptingly bright' to other people but she sounds a strong note of caution: 'Be careful what you wish for, because everything has a price.' Her mother and stepfather, she explains 'are disguising a level of ambition for ...
Perfecting Humanity - The British Eugenics Movement (10/16)
As mentioned in Anna Hope's historical novel The Ballroom, just over 100 years ago in 1912, London hosted the first International Eugenics Conference, an event attended by people who believed in the prevention of those deemed inferior – whom they labeled 'feeble-minded' – from reproducing. It was a categorization ...
Nigeria's Stance Against Homosexuality (09/16)
Over the course of Under the Udala Trees, the heroine, Ijeoma, discovers she's a lesbian, at first fighting her inclinations and trying to fit in, but later accepting that she's different from many of her peers.

Although homosexuals have gained more acceptance over the past decade in the United States and other Western countries, ...
Criminal Justice Theories (09/16)
In the second half of her memoir, Riverine, Angela Palm uses terms she learned from her college criminal justice classes as headings to organize the material. Here's a closer look at a few:

The Broken Windows Theory

In 1982, social scientists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling proposed the broken windows theory to explain why ...
Homeless By Choice (09/16)
U.S. Marine veteran Peter Ash in The Drifter is homeless – well, houseless. By choice. While he has little money he is not a vagrant. He has skills and does odd jobs. Outdoor jobs. Because Peter is incapable of staying indoors for any amount of time. This incapacity is a consequence of his military tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan ...
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (07/16)
In Bull Mountain, one of the main characters is a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, commonly known as the ATF.

The ATF website states the organization is the oldest tax-collection agency in the United States. It was initially part of the U.S. Treasury and traces its roots back to 1789, when ...
On Becoming a Private Investigator (03/16)
In Honky Tonk Samurai, private investigative agency owner, former police lieutenant Marvin Hanson decides to sell the agency and go back to work for the police department. When he offers protagonists Hap Collins and Leonard Pine the opportunity to buy him out he's met with a certain amount of resistance. 'Us?' Hap says, 'You're ...
Admiralty Law (03/16)
Pirate Hunters, Robert Kurson's real-life tale recounts the struggle to locate and recover sunken treasure. The obstacles are numerous: little or no historical documentation, inaccurate maps, bad weather, and rival scavengers. Additionally, as the book makes clear, a formidable challenge faced by both amateur and professional salvagers of...
Farmers' Cooperatives (02/16)
As Michael Meyer's book, In Manchuria, explains, in the village of Wasteland, 'Eastern Fortune is offering apartments in exchange for farmers' homes, which will be razed and the land converted to paddies.' It remains unclear exactly how much — if any — control the farmers will have over their plots of land. Will they ...
Colorism (02/16)
In the opening paragraph of God Help the Child, Toni Morrison gives voice to Sweetness, a woman describing herself as 'light-skinned with good hair, what we call high yellow,' who gives birth to a child with very dark skin. She says, 'It didn't take no more than an hour after they pulled her out from between my legs to realize something ...
Propaganda and its Uses (02/16)
A Kim-Jong Il Production is set in the North Korea of the 1970s when Kim Jong-Il was head of the Ministry of Propaganda. North Korea's motives might have been sinister, but propaganda — defined as information especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view &#...
The Hawala System (01/16)
In A Man Of Good Hope, many monetary transactions are carried out by the informal system known as hawala. At its most basic, hawala is a method of money transfer that is used to send remittances without using standard channels such as banks. While the system made headlines shortly after 9-11, where it was alleged that hawala was used to ...
Migrant Smuggling (01/16)
The Jaguar's Children is based on a real-life example of migrant smuggling gone awry. Unfortunately such incidents are becoming increasingly common around the world.

It's important to note that there are differences between migrant smuggling and human trafficking even if there might be overlap between the two kinds of ...
Interpol and Red Notices (11/15)
The title Red Notice refers to one of the many alerts issued by Interpol, the world's largest international police organization.

The idea of an international police force was originally proposed at the First International Criminal Police Congress in Monaco in 1914, although the organization didn't come into being until an initiative ...
The Psychology of Debt (11/15)
In Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld, Jake Halpern examines the afterlife of a debt once it has been declared 'bad.' But is there ever such a thing as a 'good' debt? What would you do if you won a million dollars? Would you buy that grand house you've always dreamed of? Or the big sports car? ...
Trafficking in Antiquities (10/15)
In De Potter's Grand Tour, Armand de Potter uses his tourism business as a front to amass a large private collection of illicit antiquities: 'You could say that he had become a spy of sorts, on a self-contained mission to gather antiquities instead of secrets, with his travel bureau providing an excuse to visit places that were out ...
Order books by:

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.25 per month.

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    The Personal Librarian
    by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
    The Personal Librarian drew a robust positive response from our First Impressions reviewers, ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Book Woman's Daughter
    by Kim Michele Richardson
    Kim Michele Richardson's The Book Woman's Daughter follows Honey Lovett, 16-year-old daughter of ...
  • Book Jacket: Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    by Clare Pooley
    For the many years that I've been reading, one realization has always come to mind for me after ...
  • Book Jacket: We Had to Remove This Post
    We Had to Remove This Post
    by Hanna Bervoets
    It's not about money. Kayleigh, the protagonist and narrator of We Had to Remove This Post, a newly ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
by Maggie O'Farrell
"Of all the stories...about Shakespeare’s life, [Hamnet] is so gorgeously written that it transports you."
The Boston Globe

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden
    by Zhuqing Li

    A beautifully woven family memoir that coalesces into a vivid history of two very different Chinas.

  • Book Jacket

    The Lies I Tell
    by Julie Clark

    The new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight!

Win This Book!
Win Where the Crawdads Sing

Win a signed copy of Where the Crawdads Sing

In celebration of the movie release on July 15, we have three signed copies to give away.



Solve this clue:

T O Thing W H T F I F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.