[Looking for Pretty Things vol. 2? This is it]
Dearest Reader, bookmark this page. I will update it regularly as I learn of new coffee table books.
Remember when Kramer wanted to make a coffee table book about coffee table books and the book itself was a coffee table (it had fold out legs). I still think that’s genius.
The books currently on my coffee table are In the Company of Women, The Finer Things, The Shell, California Desert, and Mastering Hand Building.
I think if someone saw those books in my home they’d assume I A. Like successful women and celebrate them. Maybe I want to be one. B. I like interior design and nice things. C. I just might like the desert or geography. (I am obsessed with the desert).
Prosper Assouline, culture/lifestyle publisher says, “It’s the idea of building a collection – these are not just things that are big and expensive; they give an impression.“
Books are just like our clothes. They tell our guests something about us without us having to verbalize our interests. My clothes usually lead people to believe I’m “artsy” or “unique”. And I’m okay with that. For my coffee table books, I typically enjoy art and interior design books. They are full of beautiful inspirational pictures and look lovely sitting on the table/shelf. Anyone who comes to my home knows these are my interests.
When the Marie Kondo Netflix show aired, there was an article online about how she obviously didn’t understand this concept. Of how books tell people who we are and you don’t just throw them away! We collect books like we collect anything else we enjoy. You can read it here. It’s pretty much what I just said.
I originally started this entry with the idea of “why are coffee table books so expensive?” I suppose you have to ask yourself what the book is worth to you. Is it merely a dang book with paper pages that a tree had to die for or is it something you can derive pleasure from for many many years? Can you apprepriate the subject matter, the price it cost to produce the book, the type of paper used, etc?
Some books at Assouline are works of art themselves. A massive limited-edition version of Gaia, Guy Laliberté’s images from space, is available on watercolor paper featuring 25 gatefold images, 90 illustrations and layered topographic embossing, all hand-bound and housed in a linen clamshell case for $7,000.
Interior designer Michelle Lloyd Bermann equates owning a beautiful book with something you can’t afford: “You can’t buy the $1,200 handbag but you can buy the Manolo Blahnik book and sit down and drool over it.”
So true. I can’t own a Matisse but I love looking at the pictures in the books. And if you really wanted, you could snip out those pages and frame them. The $100 book may seem expensive (I am admitting to you I have sticker shock with books), but think of the years of enjoyment you’ll receive! And think of the story you’re telling about yourself as you collect and line your shelves and tabletops with beautiful bound works of art in and of themselves.
A hot tip according to me when decorating with coffee table books: I like to have covers and spines coordinate with the other things that are on the surface. It’s especially nice if there’s black type. Black is a unifying color.
Today’s Pretty Things are coffee table books that pertain to my interests. I’m sure you can easily figure out what they are! I’d love to know what large scale books you have lying around the house!