I would periodically browse through amazon.com's site and window-shop for good deals, enjoying going through some selected pages as if I'm leafing through real books in a bookstore. I'd put them on my shopping cart after but won't actually purchase until I'm certain someone can bring it here to the Philippines if I have it mailed to family in California. Sometimes, the deal gets taken and their system will replace it with a pricier equivalent.
For some reason, this National Geographic book is one that's been parked for a long time and never made it to the virtual check-out counter. I've not been to the US for some time, for one. I guess I've also just forgotten about it. But to my sheer excitement, I found a clean and marked-down copy some months back in Book Sale in my neighborhood grocery!
It is sumptuously illustrated, with awesome botanical prints in every single turn! It is a romantic gardener's prized book, with rare and delightful visuals that would fascinate you just as much as the plants themselves. Since I had it, I've been trying to get another copy with the intent of tearing off the pages and framing them as wall decór!
The author, Catherine Herbert Howell selects important historical plants that shaped our present culture and lifestyle today: wheat, rice, sugarcane, tobacco, tomato, cannabis, and orchids, just to name a few. It explains the plants in the context of parallel historical events to help the reader better understand and appreciate just how important and influential plants really are in our daily lives. There are even timelines (below), sidebars with historical notes, striking quotations that would make us see history from a new point of view.