Coffee table books sometimes get a bad rep for being all style, no substance (or in the case of Seinfeld‘s Kramer, a literal table). But a little digging will quickly reveal untold treasures that delight the mind and the eye alike. Put up your feet and flip through these elegant creations.
- Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton
Atlas Obscura, promoters of the world’s most fascinating hidden knowledge, have created a fitting tribute to the best of our weird and wonderful world.
- 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time by The Editors of TIME Magazine
From Iwo Jima to the Rumble in the Jungle, TIME has seen and documented almost everything the modern world has had to offer. This collection of photographs is a great testament to that achievement.
- Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie by Ralph McQuarrie and Brandon Alinger
Star Wars would never have become the global behemoth it is without its stunning visuals—yet too few people recognize the name Ralph McQuarrie, the artist who worked closely with George Lucas to bring the galaxy to life. This book should go a long way to changing that.
- Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground by Matthew Chojnack
While film posters these days are mostly glossy, uninspired creations, a collection of passionate artists are working to return to the glory days of unique and beautiful movie art. From the minimalist to the psychedelic, these posters will fill you with joy and revive your love of a brilliant art form.
- The Americans by Robert Frank and Jack Kerouac
Even if you aren’t American yourself, this landmark 1958 work by Swiss-born photographer Frank is sure to capture you with its epic scope and socially-conscious vision. Removed from the usual stock images of poodle skirts and Leave It to Beaver, this is a view of the 50’s that cannot be easily appropriated for the sake of nostalgia.
- Everest: Mountain Without Mercy by Broughton Coburn
The tallest point on Earth, Everest’s peaks have inspired countless men and women to risk their lives for the thrill of the climb. But as Coburn reveals, Everest is much more than some mountain westerners like to visit. Paying tribute to the people and natural beauty of Nepal, Coburn puts this wondrous site in the context it deserves.
- Revelations by Diane Arbus
In the middle of the twentieth century, Arbus dedicated herself to photographing outsiders: sideshow freaks, identical twins, asylum patients. Though some may view her work as crass or manipulative, there is no doubt that Arbus has played a critical role in the development of photography and our own perspective on difference.
- Gnomes by Rien Poortvliet and Wil Huygen
This book is about gnomes. There isn’t much else to say, other than that it’s delightful.
Featured image courtesy of The Daily Nest