Five Legendary Coffee Table Books

In the age of tablets and e-readers coffee table books remind us why we love physical books. As much as we like to flick through, inviting a page to grab our eye, we love even more to watch as our friends and family have their interest piqued. These five legendary coffee books inform, entertain, and start conversations – no batteries required.

Peter Fischli & David Weiss: 800 Views of Airports

As far as travel books go this one is a little different: no winding rivers, native wildlife, or stunning landscapes – just 25 years of airport photographs. Some will find genuine artistic interest in the collection of what the publisher describes as ‘exotic banality’, while others will enjoy this kitsch collection of photos in a more ironic manner.

Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz, Wine Grapes: A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours

As a comprehensive guide to 1,368 vine varieties, anybody who professes to be a wine connoisseur should proudly have this on display in their living room. What the book lacks in pictures it more than makes up for in scope and detail, allowing any curious mind to be duly rewarded by picking up a copy of this hefty, 1,280-page tome. Just try to resist the temptation to lecture dinner guests with your newly found knowledge about the wine you’ve carefully selected for them.

Peter Stepan, Photos That Changed the World

This book has a strangely seductive power, inviting you to devour every iconic photograph in one sitting rather than savouring them at leisure. Whether you indulge yourself or not, you’ll love revisiting 90 of the world’s most enduring images, each of which are accompanied with essays that detail the significance of the captured event. If you’re looking for the perfect book to keep a guest entertained while you put the finishing touches to dinner this is it.

Leah Bendavid-Val and Michelle Anne Delaney, National Geographic: The Image Collection

You’d expect nothing less than brilliance from a coffee table book published by National Geographic, and with previous titles such as In Focus and Through the Lens why should you? The Image Collection doesn’t disappoint, with over 500 pages of world-class photography that captures the story of our planet so eloquently. By presenting the beauty that’s all around us in chapters such as ‘Wilderness, Exploration and Adventure’ and ‘Wildlife’, before then dedicating a section to ‘Science and Climate Change’, the book is a forceful argument for why we need to be environmentally responsible.

John Landis, Monsters in the Movies

Whether or not you’re old enough to flick through these pages with black and white-tinted nostalgia, this book is a fascinating look at the greatest monsters to make it to the silver screen – what less would you expect from the man who gave us Michael Jackson as a werewolf? John Landis’s exploration of movie monsters is an entertaining read and great for giving you a few ideas of films you should get around to seeing.


This article was written by Fishpools, a leading furniture and coffee table retailer.

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