The 20 Best Coffee Table Books
A coffee table book is the best of both worlds: It's one of those gifts that are easy to give and always a joy to receive. Here are 20 of the best coffee table books you can buy.
1. Gray Malin: Italy by Gray Malin
Italy is one of the hottest travel destinations of the moment thanks to picturesque cliffside beach towns and sprawling vineyards. Famed photographer Gray Malin perfectly captures la vita è bella with his signature overhead and straight-on shots of some of the country's most popular destinations like Lake Como, Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast. Pour yourself an Aperol Spritz and leaf through the pages for hours.
2. I Do Not Cook, I Do Not Clean, I Do Not Fly Commercial by Ashley Longshore
The New Orleans-based, self-taught pop artist Ashley Longshore is known for so much more than her bold fashion portraits—this book also captures her larger-than-life personality. With contributors like Linda Fargo, Blake Lively, Diane von Furstenberg and Tommy Hilfiger, it's the perfect gift for your fashion-obsessed sister.
3. A Great Party: Designing the Perfect Celebration by Bryan Rafanelli
Ever wonder what it was like to be at the White House for one of Barack Obama's parties? Or perhaps you wish you were a fly on the wall at Chelsea Clinton's wedding? Acclaimed event designer Bryan Rafanelli (who was named one of the best wedding planners in the world by Vogue) takes readers through his creative process and shares his secrets for creating parties we could only dream of attending.
4. HausMagick: Transform Your Home with Witchcraft by Erica Feldmann
Crystals, sage, spells, you name it and this book will show you how to use modern witchcraft to your home's advantage. On each page, you'll find tips from the founder of HausWitch, the popular Salem, Massachusetts, store and online lifestyle brand, which demonstrates how to curate your ideal home, full of positive energy and beauty. Not into magic? That's cool, too. Anyone will appreciate the unique illustrated guide inside.
5. A Booklover's Guide to New York by Cleo Le-Tan
What to get the person who will read anything and everything about New York City? This guidebook, specifically for book lovers, which showcases the city's best bookshops, libraries, homes and haunts of world-famous writers and scenes from literary classics.
6. CAMP: Notes on Fashion by Andrew Bolton
This year's MET exhibit was one of the most wild and out-there presentations to date. Inspired by the theme of "Camp," the eccentric costumes were not to be missed, but if you couldn't make it to New York City to see it IRL (or if you just want to relive the amazingness), this innovative coffee table book immortalizes it forever.
7. American Boys by Soraya Zaman
Chronicling the trans-masculine community across the United States, this photo series takes an intimate look into the stories of self-identified men and transmasculine Americans. The book rejects everything we know about traditional boyhood, and while the pictures are beautiful, it's the accompanying life stories that make it so inspiring.
8. Comfortably Wild: The Best Glamping Destinations in North America by Mike & Anne Howard
Thanks to HGTV, we admittedly spend a lot of time thinking about visiting destinations off the beaten path—especially if its done while glamping (aka glam camping). And this book plays into that in great detail thanks to all the yurts, teepees, vintage trailers and even treehouses it features. Authors Mike and Anne Howard trekked across North America to find the best glamping destinations and dole out all their expert tips along the way.
9. Anti Glossy: Fashion Photography Now by Patrick Remy
Magazine-worthy photos used to live in one place: magazines. But this coffee table book proves that times are changing. It nods to the most important photographic trends in social media and digital publishing through a curated collection of fashion spreads from over 20 cutting-edge photographers. If you're someone who loves to flip through magazines (and hates ads), you need this book.
10. La Grotta: Ice Creams and Sorbets: A Cookbook by Kitty Travers
Whether or not you ever thumb through this book's artful pages (which feature more than 75 recipes for flavorful fruit-forward ice creams, sorbets and granitas), the bold, colorful cover is enough to make a statement, especially when it's placed smack-dab in the middle of your coffee table.
11. The NASA Archives. 60 Years in Space by Piers Bizony
We've all seen bird's-eye-view photos of Earth from space, but this book contains over 400 historic photographs and rare concept renderings from NASA that will impress your most-hard-to-impress guests.
12. The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List by Alana Newhouse
How many times have you had a debate with friends over where to get the best matzoh ball soup? This coffee table book is sort of like that, but instead of the "best" or "most popular" Jewish dishes, it outlines the 100 most significant foods—culturally and historically—to the Jewish people. From essays to recipes to stories to photos, the whole list is sure to fuel your next food-centric convo.
13. Art after Stonewall, 1969-1989 by Jonathan Weinberg
Art is reflected by history and vice versa. This book takes the reader through the powerful art that emerged as a result of the Stonewall Riots in the summer of 1969 and the rise of the LGBTQ liberation movement in the U.S. What you can expect: A groundbreaking visual history of 20 years in American queer life.
14. Scrawl: An A to Z of Famous Doodles by Caren Strauss-Schulson
We all doodle from time to time, but do you ever think about those scribbles becoming iconic works of art? In this book, you'll find sketches, drawings and scratches from private letters and notebooks of some of the greatest names in history, like William Burroughs, Mark Twain and Charlie Chaplin, just to name a few. NBD.
15. Central Park: Original Designs for New York's Greatest Treasure by Cynthia S. Brenwall
Ever wonder how the idea for Central Park was dreamed up? Or what the first plans were? This historical book includes material like the original winning competition entry, meticulously detailed maps and plans of surrounding buildings. One flip through and you'll feel like you're back in the 1850s (which is when Central Park was constructed).
16. Delicious Places: New Food Culture, Restaurants and Interiors by Gestalten
Restaurants are about so much more than the food (hello, ambiance), and this beautifully designed tome celebrates the eateries and entrepreneurs behind cult-favorite restaurants and cafés. If you're someone who appreciates good food and a good Instagram photo, this book is for you.
17. Walter Chandoha. Cats. Photographs 1942–2018 by Susan Michals
Cat people get a bad rap, but this beautiful coffee table compilation seeks to change that. The pages contain 60 years of compassionate and artistic photographs from enthusiastic cat person and photographer Walter Chandoha, who passed away this year at the ripe old age of 98. We just found the perfect gift for all the cat ladies on our holiday shopping list.
18. The Book of Tapas, New Edition by Simone Ortega
This book doesn't just look pretty; it's full of useful recipes, too—a whole 250 of them. Next time you want to have friends over for wine night, consult this book and whip up a few small Spanish plates that perfectly complement vino and good conversation.
19. Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful by Tanisha C. Ford
The political slogan “Black Is Beautiful” was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s by photographer and artist Kwame Brathwaite. This stunning book showcases his life and work dedicated to equality through studio portraits of the Grandassa Models (an all-black modeling agency he founded with his brother to challenge white beauty standards) and even some behind-the-scenes images of Harlem's artistic community.
20. Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family by Priya Krishna
Aside from the fact that it was named one of the Best Cookbooks of Spring 2019 by The New York Times, Eater and Bon Appétit, Indian-ish looks great on your coffee table (and it will also add a welcome pop of color to your bookshelf). The author set out to pay tribute to her mom's "Indian-ish" cooking, which is a combination of American and Indian favorites that are easy to make and even easier to enjoy.