15 Coffee Table Books For The Readers On Your Holiday Shopping List
As a book-lover, one of my absolute favorite things to do when I visit someone’s home is peruse their bookshelves (friends and acquaintances, you’ve now officially been warned.) If they just so happen to have a stack of books hanging out on the coffee table, free for the page-flipping, even better. Nothing gives me a better glimpse of the surprising, unexpected obsessions of a friend or family member like the over-sized, illustrated hardcovers they stack on their coffee table. (My little sister, for example, is OBSESSED with bridges. Who knew?)
Furthermore, coffee table books make great gifts for the book-lovers on your holiday gift list — they’re colorful and festive, they celebrate unique interests and tastes, and most importantly: we’re not all that likely to buy them for ourselves (at least, not in the experience of this book-lover.) Each year, brand new coffee table books compile some of the best and most fascinating art, photography, and illustrations alongside stories, recipes, science, history, advice, and lots more. Chances are, if someone on your gift list has a particular interest — no matter how obscure it might be — there’s a coffee table book for it.
Here are 15 coffee table books that will make great holiday gifts for anyone on your list this year.
'Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016' by Annie Leibovitz
Even if you’re not up-to-date on your photography-world trivia, chances are you definitely know the name Annie Leibovitz. One of the most iconic photographers of all time, Leibovitz portrait-taking has put her in rooms with the most important people in the world. Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 by Annie Leibovitz is a collection of the last decade of her photography.
'Flowerevolution: Blooming into Your Full Potential with the Magic of Flowers' by Katie Hess and Louie Schwartzberg
This is definitely not the book of floral photography your grandmother kept on her coffee table for generations. Flowerevolution: Blooming into Your Full Potential with the Magic of Flowers by Katie Hess and Louie Schwartzberg aims at reconnecting humans with the natural world, in an effort to show how that connection strengthens, empowers, rejuvenates, and inspires. Plus, there are tons of stories about how to incorporate the power of flowers into your daily life: from their positive effects on pregnancy, jet lag, addiction, and more.
'#girlgaze: How Girls See the World' by Amanda de Cadenet
Feminist photography at its finest, #girlgaze: How Girls See the World by Amanda de Cadenet is a striking and powerful collection of photographs taken by young, female-identifying photographers — mixing life with art, portraiture with selfies, formal shots with everyday candids, and more, all from the vantage point of women just living their lives in the world today.
'200 Women: Who Will Change The Way You See The World' by Kieran Scott
Part coffee table book, part tome to feminist leaders, 200 Women Who Will Change The Way You See The World by photographer Kieran Scott features interviews and photographs of 200 women making change around the world: including Jane Goodall, Roxane Gay, Margaret Atwood, Alicia Garza, Dolores Huerta, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and hundreds more.
'Houseplants and Hot Sauce: A Seek-and-Find Book for Grown-Ups' by Sally Nixon
If you loved Where’s Waldo and I-Spy books as a kid (or hey, if you still love them now) then Houseplants and Hot Sauce: A Seek-and-Find Book for Grown-Ups by Sally Nixon is the coffee table book your adult self will totally geek out over. Fun and funny, this seek-and-find book for adults merges illustrated scenes from modern gal life with clever visual puzzles.
'What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky' by Kelsey Oseid
Humans have been fascinated with the night sky for probably as long as there have been humans, and Kelsey Oseid’s What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky is just one more indulgence into that totally celestial obsession. Tackling the myths, history, and science of everything from constellations and planets to comets and the northern lights, and more, What We See in the Stars will give you a whole new perspective on what it means to marvel at the night sky.
'Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York' by Roz Chast
This fun and funny graphic memoir-turned coffee table book reads like a love letter to New York — albeit, a bemused one. Inspired by the trips she would take with her children from their home in the city suburbs to the City that Never Sleeps, Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast will leave you laughing out loud and planning your own trip to the city (assuming you don’t already live there, that is.)
'On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen' by Jeremy Fox
I don’t know about you, but I could look at food photos forever — I mean, that’s basically how Instagram started, right? From the mastermind behind Los Angeles restaurant, Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen, Jeremy Fox, On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen is a collection of food philosophy, vegetarian-centered recipes, and mouth watering pics that you’ll want on your coffee table and in your kitchen.
'Bridges' by Judith Dupré
If you’re anything like me, bridges both mesmerize and terrify you. IMO, the best way to take in their beauty is from the comfort of your living room, coffee table book-style. Bridges by Judith Dupré is the tall, slim, totally re-vamped 20th-anniversary edition of the book that takes readers across bridges around the world, elevating the landmarks from mode of transportation to works of art (and, feats of engineering.)
The Harry Potter Illustrated Editions by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay
If you’re a self-proclaimed Potterhead, Harry Potter books are kind of like Pokémon — you’ve just got to catch them all. These brand-new Harry Potter Illustrated Editions are the stories you love by J.K. Rowling, complete with gorgeous full-color illustrations by artist Jim Kay. You’ll swear they’re a little magic.
'The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations' by Oprah Winfrey
It’s Super Soul Sunday, in book form. The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by Oprah Winfrey is a collection of ten of the Emmy Award-winning television host and producer’s personal essays about her own journey of growth and spirituality, paired with the wisdom garnered from Winfrey and some of the most influential guests she’s hosted on her show.
'Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles' by Cipe Pineles
If you haven’t heard of Cipe Pineles, after reading this book you’ll be glad you did. The first female art director at Condé Nast, Pineles was an artist, illustrator, and total foodie whose newly-discovered illustrated cookbook, Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles by Cipe Pineles, will leave you torn between which is more beautiful: the food, or the illustrations of it.
'Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City' by Julia Wertz
This coffee table book is New York City as you’ve never seen it before — or, if you do happen to be familiar with NYC outside of its Sex and the City fame, it’s probably the New York you see every day. Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City by Julia Wertz is a funny, up close and personal look at the history, blocks, buildings — and yeah, a little trash — of New York, told in illustrated, graphic novel style.
'Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs' by Pete Souza
We loved him. We miss him. We really, REALLY want him back now. Get all your President O. nostalgia out of your system with Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs by Pete Souza. He was the Chief Official White House Photographer for both of President Obama's terms — so you know he pretty much captured it all.
'Highbrow, Lowbrow, Brilliant, Despicable: Fifty Years of New York Magazine' by the Editors of New York Magazine
One final title that will take you through the life, times, history, and evolution of one of the greatest cities on the globe is Highbrow, Lowbrow, Brilliant, Despicable: Fifty Years of New York Magazine — compiled by some folks who know the Big Apple best: the editors of New York Magazine.