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Librarian's Picks: One-Word Wonders

Detail from the cover of Toby Cecchini's <i>Cosmopolitan: A Bartender's Life</i>.
Detail from the cover of Toby Cecchini's Cosmopolitan: A Bartender's Life.

Readers of history have become accustomed to their favorite books having a certain heft to them. But the trend of micro-histories, books that explore a specific -- sometimes absurdly so -- subject in depth, is threatening to leave weighty tomes on bookstore shelves.

From cod to pencils -- or even screwdrivers -- writers are taking an historical approach to subjects that are often overlooked in modern life. But at their best, the books that result can shed light on obscure topics, or provide a new way of looking at history itself.

Librarian Nancy Pearl is the author of a book of recommended reading, and the model for a librarian action figure.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Nancy Pearl is a regular commentator about books on NPR's Morning Edition and NPR affiliate stations KUOW in Seattle and KWGS in Tulsa.