From the Stone Age onward, Papaver somniferum has been the source of medicinal and recreational drugs alike, and its trade powered the British empire's worldwide expansion. Clinical pathologist Dr. Thomas Dormandy traces its influence on inspired artists, desperate addicts, criminal gangs, and dedicated healers in this potent work of narrative history.

April 16: ""Blue pottery vases and bowls for flowers are most attractive, and certain blue books...will repeat and emphasize color."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…