13 Coffee Table Books For Christmas

One of my closet friends is a staunch book-giver. Whether or not her parents or siblings or friends or coworkers read anything more than their Instagram captions or emails is unimportant. Perhaps you're like my friend, for whom giving books for the holidays is almost political statement. Read, this friend's gifts demand, or at least pretend like you do. I've sometimes admired this friend. One year, I even followed suit, gifting novels to even my least-literary-minded chums. You guys, it was a disaster. I'm pretty sure that holiday ruined all previously amassed gifting cred. 

That's why I'm so glad that coffee table books exist. They're big and beautiful, sumptuous, objets d'art, if you will. They can make even the blandest living room look fashionable and erudite. Best of all, they're easy to choose: you need only know a thing or two about the person for whom you're shopping to find an entire bounty of bound options. Foodies, fashionistas, fangirls and feminists all on your to-buy list? Not a problem. And, if you're a devout book-giver like my friend, you don't need to worry about the word-phobic. Yes, coffee table books have terrific writing but, TBH, the pictures are worth ... well, you know. All those words.  

1. Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill

Written in a tone that's snarky to the max, this book is full of disturbing/thrilling details that will stick with you for years to come (seriously: why do the grossest things always hang in our memory?). An unromanticized portrait of Victorian women, Unmentionable is funny and even tragic, especially when you consider what our forebears endured in the name of femaleness. 

Click here to buy. 

2. Glop: Non-Toxic, Expensive Ideas that Will Make You Look Ridiculous and Feel Pretentious by Gabrielle Moss 

Bustle editor Gaby Moss lovingly takes on Gwyneth Paltrow's goop brand/lifestyle/cult. A hysterical and perfect gift for the bestie or mom or sister with whom you've begrudgingly detoxed. 

Click here to buy.

3. Wonder Women by Sam Maggs

We could all stand to learn more about women in STEM fields, and Maggs', whose book The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy is a gem, is just the writer to lead the way. The illustrations by Sophia Foster-Dimino are quirky without being overly precious. 

Click here to buy.

4. Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed The World by Ann Shen

Shen introduces readers to innovators from Nora Ephron to Josephine Baker. The illustrations are fun and the bios are quick--perfect blips to give your guests a factoid as they flip pages. 

Click here to buy.

5. Peter Lindbergh: A Different Vision on Fashion Photography by Thierry-Maxime Loriot with photographs by Peter Lindbergh 

If you've already got Kate: The Kate Moss Book and Kate Moss by Mario Testino in your collection, you need to meet Peter Lindbergh. Sure, he photographs people other than the great Kate but ... well, enough said. 

Click here to buy.

6. Millennials Of New York by Connor Toole and Alec MacDonald 

Light on the text because, um, Millenials? 

7. Footnotes From The World's Greatest Bookstores by Bob Eckstein


It's not quite a pop-up book, but Eckstein's illustrated love letter to renowned, indie, and otherwise remarkable bookstores does open up like a garage door. 

Click here to buy. 

8. Emotionary: A Dictionary Of Words That Don't Exist For Feelings That Do by Eden Sher and Julia Wertz

Can you use contrangst in a sentence? ("Contrangst: n. the anxiety of not being able to control your or another's behavior, or a course of events.") If you've just found your happy place, this book is for you... and your unnamable feelings.

Click here to buy.

9. Hair By Sam McKnight by Tim Blanks, Karl Lagerfeld, and Sam McKnight


McKnight has coiffed the fashion world for decades, and this book is a compendium of looks, sure to please and inspire your favorite stylistas. 

Click here to buy.

10. The Book Of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images by Ami Ronnberg


You don't have to value Gisele Bündchen's endorsement to see the need for this book in your life. 

Click here to buy.

11. The Complete Peanuts by Charles Schulz

A must-have for anyone on Team Snoopy. 

Click here to buy. 

12. Les Dîners De Gala by Salvador Dalí

The artist and his wife and lifelong inspiration, Gala, threw baller dinner parties. What's incredible about this cookbook--other than the stunning Surrealist illustrations--is its unbridled embrace of decadence that you can actually bring to your own kitchen. 

Click here to buy.

13. Nasty Galaxy by Sophia Amoruso

Packed with lush photographs, tips you didn't know you needed (wanna go commando, anyone?), and homages to bad bitches past and present, the Nasty Gal honcho's inspo-book is sure to liven up any living room. 

Click here to buy.

Images: Alisa Anton/Unsplash

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