Unless you're a botanist, you're not likely to take an interest in the sex life of a strawberry. But leaf through Taschen's reprint of Pomona Britannica, a stunning book of nineteenth-century botanical drawings and scientific facts, and you might be titillated. First published in 1812, the book is filled with engraver George Brookshaw's illustrations of 256 species of 15 fruits; all drawings were originally hand-colored. This reissue, made from a copy that was once owned by Princess Elizabeth, daughter of George III, is bolstered with fascinating nutritional and historical tidbits about fruits. And in case the vibrantly colorful drawings make you hungry, the book includes nineteenth-century recipes for dishes like melon ice and fig soup (

—Salma Abdelnour