11 cool coffee table books for Christmas
Ahh, the coffee table book - the perfect blend of form and function. Here are some of the best releases of the year to add to your Christmas list...
It’s getting to that time of year again when you start wracking your brains for something suitable to send to Uncle Doug. You haven’t seen him in five years and you’re really not clear on what he does in his spare time, but this is the moment in the annual calendar when you have to acknowledge his existence, at the very least. And then there’s Aunty Brenda in Scotland. And your cousin’s kids should have something little. And hasn’t your other half been banging on about a Star Wars Mandalorian thing for the past six months? I mean.. it’s hard to say, isn’t it, when one day just merges into the other?
But, by hook and by crook, we’ve arrived at Christmas 2020 and gifts need to be dispatched. So we’re on hand to suggest options and ideas for those in your life who require and deserve a gift come Christmas Day. And who doesn’t like a beautiful tome to idly flick through on a crisp winter’s day, glass of wine in hand, fire roaring in the grate? Exactly.
Chanel Catwalk: The Complete Collections (Thames & Hudson, 2020)
This revised edition includes every single collection Karl Lagerfeld created for the famed French fashion house and even some of his right-hand woman and successor, Virginie Viard. Gorgeous both inside and out.
Andy Warhol: Love, Sex & Desire (Taschen, 2020)
Perhaps not one to leave around for the kids to rifle through, but this collection of rarely seen, erotic line drawings created between 1950 and 1962 celebrate both male beauty and the pop artist’s sense of humour.
Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America (Phaidon, 2020)
More timely a book you could not come across. Tackling the very real issues that America has had to face this year, famed Nigerian/American curator Okwui Enwezor helmed this one, which looks at the movements and expressions that have evolved from black grief.
Terra Incognita: 100 Maps to Survive the Next 100 Years (Century, 2020)
If you know someone who is a fan of the map and its best pal, the infographic, this is the one. Packed full of data including the global impact of Covid and how the Australia wildfires spread, it’s a fascinating but terrifying visual feast.
Her Majesty: A Photographic History 1926-Today (Taschen, 2020)
The glamour. The dresses. The photographers. The tours to countries we used to colonise. Yes, it’s all here in a rather lovely book to celebrate HRM (and our favourite great-grandmother’s) incredible life.
The Golden Age of British Short Stories 1890-1914 (Penguin Classics, 2020)
This works as coffee table book in that it looks beautiful and would certainly pique interest. The only issue being that it’s so riveting, it’ll probably end up on the bedside table too. Katherine Mansfield, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde… all the greats in one book. Perfect Christmas afternoon reading.
The Garden: Elements and Styles (Phaidon, 2020)
Wannabe garden designers will love this reference book that documents 200 garden styles and gives endless inspiration (even if it is just to rework that little 2x4m patch of green outside your back door).
Walter Chandoha: Dogs. Photographs 1941- 1991 (Taschen, 2020)
Famed American cat photographer Walter Chandoha is celebrated here for his expansive collection of, er, dog pictures. But it turns out Walter had a soft spot for all furry creatures. A perfect present for dog-lovers everywhere.
Life Meets Art (Phaidon, 2020)
It’s the best time of year to peer into strangers homes: it’s dark outside yet lights are on and curtains are open. So as well as rating your neighbour’s interior design choices, this book allows you to pass judgement on the homes of some of the world’s most noted creatives, such as Rudyard Kipling and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Dolly Parton: Songteller. My Life in Lyrics (Hodder & Stoughton, 2020)
Singer, songwriter, actor, amusement park owner, philanthropist, and now, following last week’s vaccine news, potentially saviour of the entire human race. Fans of Dolly (and who isn’t?) will find lyrics of 175 of her hits inside this brand new book along with archive photographs and anecdotes in her own words. Glorious.
Mayflower A Sea Change (Juliet Coombe Publishing, 2020)
As you well know, Plymouth rocks, and this 250-page love-letter to the city cleverly weaves the story of the Mayflower and its 102 brave passengers 400 years ago with the vibrant lives and places of today, with a quarter of the book dedicated to showcasing hidden gems you won’t find on Google. A must for history buffs, ex-pat Plymothians missing the city’s vibe, and anyone who wants to get under the skin of Devon’s awesome Ocean City.