Sure, some books are riveting page turners that you can curl up with and read in your favorite chair or sofa. But if you want a book that’s both art object and text, then consider the larger, more statement-making coffee table tome.
Typically, coffee table books are dedicated to a genre in the arts—painting, photography, fashion or design. Your house guests can crack one open and find that the illustrated pages mix words and images unlike any novel. And these books can be just as powerful as a great novel or non-fiction book. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words for a reason. So, if you’re in the market for both a new monograph and a new piece of home décor, then consider the coffee table book the solution. Here are four of the best on Amazon.
1. Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style
For the past century, Architectural Digest has documented all the thrilling changes the architecture world has undergone not just in America but around the world. This centennial-themed monograph, which features an introduction penned by famed Vogue editor Anna Wintour, aims to condense over a thousand can’t-miss issues into one striking package. In its pages, you’ll find info on some of the century’s boldest architectural creations and designers, plus a sneak peek inside the homes of some seriously important and influential figures.
Pros: A gorgeous, illustration heavy look at a century of architecture and design.
Cons: Will leave some design-savvy readers wanting more when they’re through.
2. Louis Vuitton: The Birth of Modern Luxury
The second edition of this comprehensive history of Louis Vuitton doesn’t just outline how the French brand became legendary; it also highlights how it has been able to maintain that level for decades now. And this latest edition doesn’t just feature a handful of minor superficial tweaks. Instead, the monograph now includes an extra 20 pages of new photos and text covering ready-to-wear clothing, shoes and jewelry.
Pros: A comprehensive look at the legendary French fashion house.
Cons: The latest edition hasn’t been updated since 2012.
3. Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks
Sometimes you’ll want to take a trip, but you just don’t have the time or means. When you find yourself in this predicament, you’ll want to turn to Treasured Lands, a coffee table book that will allow you to visit some of the country’s most famous national parks with just the flip of a page. Jam-packed with breathtaking images, the second edition of this photography book does an excellent job of illustrating why, even with technology at our fingertips, nature just can’t be beat.
Pros: Visit 61 of America’s national parks from the comfort of home.
Cons: Small font size may be hard to read for some.
4. Tom Ford
As you may have guessed from the title, Tom Ford is about one man and one man only: Tom Ford. Over the course of 414 pages, this weighty tome—and at over 10 pounds, it is heavy—shows you how Ford went from being an in-demand designer to a fashion icon over the course of a single decade. It also features every single look the designer dreamed up while working at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent between 1994 and 2004.
Pros: A lavish look of some of the best fashion designs of the last 25 years.
Cons: The book is extremely heavy, so it’s difficult to just pick up and read.