Is your coffee table lacking the alluring pages of charismatic books? The season of gathering and entertaining is here – don’t let your guests catch you with a naked coffee table. You can think of me as your personal coffee table librarian.
There are few things in life I love as much as a good book, so you can only imagine how my heart flutters at the opportunity to share a list of fifteen must see, must experience, must read books. Stack a few of these delicious bound visuals and let them linger haphazardly around your home. Or open a few of these delights to your favorite page and start a conversation. Plus, if you distract your guests with wit, illustrations, interesting photography, and creative concepts, they’ll be too enthralled to notice the dust bunnies you forgot to evict or the dwindling stash of spirits.
These must read titles are an eclectic anthology of gorgeous, sophisticated (some completely unsophisticated), and peculiar muses to page through. And now, drum roll please, fifteen books you cannot live without.
1. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities
3. Dinosaur Soup
4. Erwin Olaf
5. Hip Snips
6. I Lick My Cheese
7. I Was Cuba
8. Luck: The Essential Guide
9. Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities
10. Sometimes I Think, Sometimes I Am
11. The Circus: 1870 – 1950
12. The Exquisite Book
13. The Small Stakes
14. Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire
15. Walter Ford: Pancha Tantra
1. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is a collection of 18th century scientific drawings to inspire present day pleasure. Oh, the wonder of biology. Nature is a beautiful place for oddities, peak your curiosity and perhaps even learn a little with this pictorial piece of education.
2. Colorstrology is intoxicating (as you may remember). Just as your day of birth lends you an astrological sign, it also lends a specific color that offers insight into your personality. After perusing Colorstrology, I am utterly infatuated.
3. Dinosaur Soup is delectable and full of innocence. This hysterical cookbook is the culmination of recipes from the mouths of creative children. Where else can you learn how to use a hose, paper strips, and flower petals to make Triple Bipple Muffins?
4. Erwin Olaf is a genius behind the lens. The bound photography of Mr. Olaf can grace any coffee table and enrich any conversation. Devour it.
5. Hip Snips is a compilation of “options” to fashion below the belt. Oh, and it’s illustrated, so you can observe the brilliance and architectural qualities of the Imperial, the Bea Arthur, and the Isosceles Triangle. Read with wild abandon or covertly stash it in the nightstand before your grandma sinks into the couch and asks you what a Charlie Chaplin is.
6. I Lick My Cheese is decidedly more innocuous than it sounds, boasting two hundred and twenty-four pages of humorous interactions between roommates; it’s the shamefully amusing facet of cohabitation. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to start some post-it note ramblings of your own.
7. I Was Cuba is a captivating expression of Cuban history and “an intimate view into a bygone era of glamor, political upheaval, and astounding visual culture.”
8. Luck: The Essential Guide is a handbook for deciphering the lore and beliefs of luck. Invite a dash of fortune into your own life as you thumb through the lovely graphics contained in this wooden cover (just in case you need a wooden surface to knock on – how wily!).
9. Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities is, well, a visual dictionary of curiosities. Each delicate newsprint page is elegantly finished with original engravings to tell the story of Victorian era history. This book is gleaming at first glimpse and gets more charming with each page.
10. Sometimes I Think, Sometimes I Am is a walk through philosophy, quotations, and aphorisms – all coupled with the artwork of Sara Fanelli. It’s aesthetically pleasing and cognitively thought provoking. What more can you ask for?
11. The Circus holds the capricious nature of the circus from 1870 – 1950. The nostalgia of childhood adventure is captured through saturated colors, enigmatic illustrations, pure whimsy, grit, and glamor.
12. The Exquisite Book is a confection of one hundred contributing artists based on the Surrealist game Exquisite Corpse. Each chapter starts with one artist’s illustration (based on a few words given for inspiration). Each successive artist sees only a single preceding page to inspire their own illustration, resulting in amiable ambivalence – something like watching the progression of a delicious thought.
13. The Small Stakes is an amalgamation of music posters laced with graphic delight – the designs of Jason Munn are perfect. Swoon.
14. Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire is a bound collection of the Proust Questionnaire (a 19th century parlor game) pages from Vanity Fair magazine. This book encloses the questionnaires of 101 cultural icons and “vibrant personalities” to present a “candid and endlessly entertaining” read.
15. Walter Ford: Pancha Tantra is a whimsical book full of intricate illustrations based on the ancient Indian book of animal tales deemed the precursor to Aesop’s Fables. This is the type of book you study again and again, noticing something new and even more intriguing each time you thumb through it.