10 Books To Humble You Into Wonderment

“Wonder,” wrote Richard Harvell in a recent NPR article, “is that feeling you get when some new idea springs open your imagination to reveal that the world is so much vaster and richer than you ever thought.” Although Harvell goes on to recommended Perfume: The Story of a Murder, The Age of Wonder, and Candide, Or Optimism as “Three Books to Rekindle Your Sense of Wonder,” we couldn’t help but consider a more bite-sized approach to the conundrum. These ten richly detailed micro-histories will humble you into reveling in the vastness of the world — or, at the very least, open your imagination to some good trivia points.

Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization

Iain Gately chronicles the long history and cultural manifestations of this multi-purpose plant, from its early use in Amerindian culture through the infamous Clinton/Lewinsky cigar. Whether you’re tobacco addicted or totally averse, the book offers trivia about everything from the origins of the smoking jacket and strike-anywhere matches to tobacco’s medical applications and hazards.