Are you familiar with the expression “Coffee Table Books”?
I was pretty shocked when I heard it first, as I had no idea what on earth that was, and I pretended to know, while making a mental note in my head to remember to Google it at home. Which I did, the first time this happened. It was an interesting find, and since then, I have a little obsession into actually finding the best ones. Plus I love reading and perusing beautiful photographs and interesting designs, so coffee table books are my saviours in terms of that.
Besides the definition you can find above, of course there is a tiny bit of history(I am not sure how accurate it is, to be honest) about the Coffee Table Book origins. I have obviously prepared a little bit of curated research and a snippet of it’s story for everyone reading this article now.
David R. Bower is often credited to be the “inventor” of the coffee table books. While being the executive director of the Sierra Club, he came up with the idea to create a series of books that combined nature photography and writings about nature in a good size for the yee to be able to see properly the beauty of the photographs. The series, containing photographs by Ansel Adams and several others and texts by Nancy Newhall, was published in 1960, under the name of “Exhibit Format”, and contained 20 volumes until its end.
However, the reason why he is only often credited and not actually completely believed to be the “inventor” of this term, is because the expression was circulating in Britain from the early 19th century and was of habitual use in the 1950s and 1960s, when Bower’s series was published. From this we can deduce the fact that, he merely introduced the term in the United States, rather than actually inventing it.
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Enough with the history now, let’s talk about the actual Coffe Table Books. I really truly love them, and when doing my research for the best ones, my Amazon wishlist, literally exploded because I’ve kept compulsively adding them there. So, in the next lines, you will find 4 different categories, and some examples for each of them, so that you can flick through a larger array of coffee table books.
#1 Travel Books
Maybe it is not particularly the season to travel, but it is the season of presents. So, if you are a complete day-dreamer, as I often am, you should have AT LEAST one Travel Book on your shelves. Like this, you can see what you would like and what you wouldn’t, and so, maybe even plan the next trip with your loved one or with your best friend in an exotic place. Besides this, the fcat that Christmas is super close, makes it even better to ask for this extra treat as your present. What do you think?
Lonely Planet’s Travel Guides of any kind should be in your library and in your bag whenever you go visit other countries. With a great array of tips, and amazing photos from across the globe, The Book Of Everything is everything you could ask for in terms of travel coffee table books.
An amazing journey through the best cities in the world, this book is made especially for those of you who can’t decide where to go on their next holiday. If you want to see some amazing photographs and things to see in your future travels, this is also the book for you! The Cities Book is exactly what the title says it is and, travel aficionado or not, you should own one of them.
You Only Live Once is the perfect book for the explorer in all of us! It presents experiences rather than facts and it is a great asset to have when you feel demotivated and down and you don’t want to do anything… It’s good to remember that you only have one life and you should take advantage of every second of it!
Food Lover’s Guide To The World
I will admit it, I am a foodie. I love food and everything about it, and this travel guide is my total cup of tea! If you want to experience local foods and amazing cuisines, but this coffee table book and maybe, you and your friends can plan your future travels around the main theme of the book: food!
Lonely Planet’s Best Ever Travel Tips
As I said before, Lonely Planet seems to have the best ever travel tips for everything you could possibly think of! It is a great choice for your coffee table, but also for your everyday read when daydreaming about amazing places to visit in the world.
#2 Photography Books
This is a MUST in every person’s library! Having photography books around not only opens your eyer to the world around us, but it also gives an insight (most of the time) into the global issues, providing interesting facts as you flip the page. “A picture is worth a thousand words” is not a great quote for nothing! Invest in a good quality Photography book and you will not regret it a second.
I absolutely adore this book. It has simply perfect photographs that I wish I can also make one day! It is created specially for the visual of us, but you can simply sit and stare at these beauties for the whole day without even noticing!
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
If you are a fan of portraits, National Geographic has it in there for you! We all know the great magazine and maybe secretly wish to be their photographer (or maybe that is just me), but their series of portraits is inspiring and amazing! Worth the read!
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Photos That Have Changed The World
There are photos that we can see anytime, but there are also photos that catch the perfect moment that has had an impact on the world we live in. From the front cover to the back cover, this book is a treasure to behold in terms of change.
As the name states it, this book is made to be on your coffee table. It has an inspiring array of photographs and hopefuly it will motivate you to do more with your day after perusing it! Have you ever seen it?
Through The Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs
As mentioned before, National Geographic is the badass in terms of photography and your coffee table should hold at least one of the beauties presented before. This last but not least in terms of photographs, which is my ultimate favourite comprises all National Geographic‘s greatest photos and makes you get emotionally attached to it ( as I did with my own book of this kind).
#3 Art Books
I live by the idea that it is always good to know a bit about everything, and art makes no exception. When you go to art galleries, try to remember some of the names or of the works, you never know when you might need it, and it looks good to know that in a super smart conversation. However, make sure you have the names right! I have always loved art, and probably that is why I have just stated the aforementioned facts, but having a coffee table book from the art section, automatically puts you on a different place in the eyes of society, and makes you look good and very intellectual. Make sure that you know what the books is about before you ‘leave’ it there, but otherwise, go buy one asap!
Personally, I love his graffitti art. I do find that sometimes graffitti can be considered vandalism (very rarely, when it is very random and in places it really shouldn’t be), but otherwise, I find it a great form of modern art. Banksy is, I find the purpetrator of this art, creating visually inspiring art that revolutionizes the way we see graffitti! A book to own!
Wes Anderson has the prettiest movies I have seen in a very long while. The great pastel colours and the sort of same actors make his movies magical, perfect and absolutely thoughtful! I love the fact that he makes you think about the meaning behind the words and colours and this is what makes his movies great!
I have added this book in the Art section instead of the Photography one because I find that it is a form of street art and that Brandon Stanton, its author creates these inspiring stories through simple photographs of everyday life.
Taschen is a great series of books that I recomment anyone of you to buy. It is about different forms of art and it is worth having at least one of the vrious collections. I chose the Basic Art series as they present a series of great artists and their greatest works and it is the easy way out to find something extra and develop your artistic culture.
Passionate about sculpture or anything that is 3D? This is the right book for you then. Providing a great insight into the art of sculpting it gives you 10 years of sculpture in one single book, for you to be able to visualize world’s wonders in this domain!
#4 Fashion Books
Because we are a fashion and lifestyle website at the end of the day, I couldn’t have possibly missed my absolute favourite category. Fashion books are great assets to own… The same as art books, they show that you are interested in a certain niche, which makes you look good in the eyes of the visitor, but also shows that you invest in your spare time with an intellectual activity(this especially if you also own a big library of your own). The trick is to know what you are talking about if you own such books and you invite someone very passionate about this domain over at your place.
A super smart magazine, the Vanity Fair 100 Years is a celebration of the fashion world as we know it. It gives you an insight into the magazine’s origins and into its development and it is a journey to take if you are passionate about the power of the media!
Vintage Fashion And Couture: From Poiret to McQueen
Another great read, Vintage Fashion & Couture gives you an insight into the full world of fashion, giving you visuals of the world’s most prominent designs that have revolutionized the fashion world as we know it!
If you are truly passionate about fashion, I suggest you pick a designer! Each has their own book, so you have plenty to pick from. I have picked Lanvin, as anyone who knows the inside of fashion should know how much Jeanne Lanvin has revolutionized the fashion world and what an amazing brand she has created!
Couture is the art of fashion. It gives you great insights into the evolution of couture, but also into the beauty of it! It is an art, and not everyone can enter it’s world, but once you do, you can never go back!
A lot can change in 100 years, and fashion is no exception. The depth of it, you can only find it in this book. See how the world was changed and by whom and get amazing visuals into the ideas behind teh revolutions.
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