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The best coffee table books are ideal conversation starters and decorative portrayals of your interests and personality. Having friends and family over for a game night or good conversation around the coffee table can start with showing off or admiring the stories and imagery inside books designed as artistic pieces. What are the best of the best for many types of people?
For: The Nintendo gamer
The Legend of Zelda series is one of the most prominent in history, and this text is the quintessential exploration of its lore. From character sketches and maps to its controversial timeline, video game fans will adore this deep dive into one of gaming’s most beloved franchises.
For: The film buff
Wes Anderson is the directorial mind behind quirky, charming films like “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Anderson has a specific and iconic aesthetic for his visual storytelling and art direction, and a group of Anderson lovers got together to explore the world for places and objects that radiate his vibe. See how colors, shapes and landscapes from all over can make you feel like you’re in one of his films. This is also a great gift for architecture and photography enthusiasts.
For: The graphic designer
Graphic designers and artists can rejoice by seeing the world in Pantones. This book has photographs and art from all over, displaying its Pantone spread next to it. It is a beautiful and joyous exploration of how colors work together to form some of the most enticing pieces of the part. There are several explanations for featured pieces, but it is more eye candy than an encyclopedia.
For: The green thumb
People who obsess over their garden, look no further. This gorgeous coffee table book goes to countless cultures to see how their gardens manifest. It even examines history’s most famous gardens, including Eden and sacred Japanese zen gardens. Expand your mind on your garden’s potential by looking at the cream of the crop.
For: The passionate musician
Time to battle your music taste with your guests against the most well-regarded name in music — The Rolling Stone. This revised edition of the greatest albums includes classic and contemporary artists, from Taylor Swift to U2. It is a comprehensive gauntlet of the world’s most exemplary and influential records from a critical, analytical ear.
For: The craft beer snob
Explore every style from every country in a level of detail only National Geographic could offer. Even if you don’t like beer, skimming this will give you the language you need to talk about it like you’re an aficionado. It is a great gift for casual drinkers to hardcore craft brewmasters.
For: The avid traveler
If you’re ever out of ideas where to plan your next vacation, this revised edition gives better recommendations than any travel website. You’ll see locales you’ve never heard of that you’ll immediately want to see, hear, taste, smell and touch with your own senses. It is as tempting as it is practical, because it also offers contact information and where to start booking your journey. It includes everything including, but not limited to:
- Wildlife preserves
These books aren’t just for coffee tables — they look great on the bookshelf, too.
For: The coffee addict
What would a coffee table book recommendation list be if one of them wasn’t about coffee? Coffee deserves wine-level treatment, so enter the coffee sommelier. Explore the coffee flavor wheel, and how location, altitude, roasting levels and other minutiae impact everyone’s favorite morning ritual. For the cooks in the house, there’s also some delightful recipes.
For: The feminist
Let yourself be inspired by some of history’s most powerful women in “Vital Voices.” The successes and stories would make anyone take a stand in their niche, whether it’s politics or art. It is a celebration of impact so often covered by the legends of men. It’s time for feminine voices to stand out, even if it is on a coffee table.
For: The DIYer
Everyone has someone in their life who spent their childhood taking apart everything and putting it all back together. This book is for them. From cameras to espresso machines, this is a strangely actionable coffee table staple for those who love tech, DIY, restoration and engineering.
For: The fashionista
It’s time to relish in the beauty of cabaret and drag. This long-hidden subculture has impacted fashion and performance arts since its inception, but it isn’t until now that it’s coming into public view. Spread the word about these lush and gorgeous stage creations alongside touching essays from cultural critics.
For: The sports fan
No matter if you’re into American football or curling, everyone can appreciate the athleticism of Olympians. “Total Olympics” takes its long history and consolidates it into the most exhilarating bites and contentious moments. For an event that is so revered and laden with formalities, this will give a whole new perspective.
For: The nature lover
Everyone knows what the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls look like. What about the rest of the world? It has beauty in every corner that would make any mouth drop, so why not appreciate it? These photos show nature’s most extraordinary flexes — many you won’t believe happen.
For: The sitcom-loving cook
This offering has a dual purpose. Love sitcoms? Love cooking? Why not build recipes inspired by one of the most famous comedians in television history? Remember lobster revenge omelets or the Big Salad? It’s all here.
For: The architectural expert
Innovation, class and skill lace these pages of 31 architectural practices that make some of the most mind-bending and cherished buildings. See how creative construction makes for more than a great photo — it inspires generations of engineers, designers and real estate agents for centuries to come.
Never Be Bored at the Coffee Table
These best coffee table books are only a few in a world of myriad options. What sits on your coffee table to make guests curious and remind you what you’re passionate about?