The Last Opium Den
Crammed into this tiny 74-page tome is everything you ever wanted to know about opium — its history, politics, chemistry — except for one detail: what it’s like to actually smoke it. For Tosches’ sake, one hopes the experience was as mind-blowing as he hints, because he certainly logged enough frequent-flier miles searching for the stuff. Fortunately, his long quest for the elusive drug — which took him from New York to Hong Kong to Bangkok to Cambodia (where he finally scores) — makes for a delightfully readable travelogue. In fact, Tosches’ playfully rococo prose packs a buzz all its own.