Imponderables (book series)
Imponderables is a series of eleven books written by David Feldman and published by HarperCollins. The books examine, investigate, and explain common, yet puzzling phenomena. Examples include "Why do your eyes hurt when you are tired?", "Why do judges wear black robes?", and "Why do you rarely see purple Christmas lights?", among many others. The word "imponderable" is used to describe such mysteries of everyday life. The books are effectively a frequently asked questions list for people who wonder why and how the world works as it does.
The first book in this series, Imponderables: The Solution to the Mysteries of Everyday Life, was illustrated by Kas Schwan and was published in 1986.
The books in the series (each named after an imponderable covered in the book) are:
- Imponderables (1986, reissued as Why Don't Cats Like to Swim? in 2004), Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-075148-7
- Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? (1987), Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-074092-4
- When Do Fish Sleep? (1989), Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-074093-1
- Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? (1990), HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-06-092111-8
- Do Penguins Have Knees? (1991), Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-074091-7
- When Did Wild Poodles Roam the Earth? (1992, reissued as Are Lobsters Ambidextrous? in 2005), Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-076295-7
- How Does Aspirin Find a Headache? (1993), Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-074094-8
- What Are Hyenas Laughing At, Anyway? (1995), Berkley, ISBN 978-0-425-15451-9
- How Do Astronauts Scratch an Itch? (1996), Berkley, ISBN 978-0-425-15984-2
- Do Elephants Jump? (2004), HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-06-053913-9
- Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? (2006), Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-088843-5
The books feature additional chapters on Frustables, which are defined as imponderables that are uniquely frustrating because they lack a clear answer. Some of the recurring frustables are:
- Why do you so often see one shoe lying along the side of the road?
- Why do the English drive on the left and most other countries on the right?
- Why do American women shave their armpits?
- Why do doctors have such messy handwriting?
Feldman also wrote a book solely about linguistic mysteries, titled Who Put the Butter in Butterfly? (1989). The book deals with the mysterious origins of names and phrases in the English language.
The term "Imponderables" is a trademark.
- Feldman, David. Imponderables: the solution to the mysteries of everyday life. ISBN 0-688-05914-7. Quill; 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. 1986.