As I have recently moved more than half way across the country, I don’t get many visitors. However, I still like to have coffee table books in my living room, which I flick through quite often. I would never advocate buying these types of books solely for decoration as they can be quite pricey. Buy books that interest you, then think about the aesthetics. I have included a photograph of my (very cheap Ikea) coffee table, stacked with books and a few other things. You may notice some items on the table from my post, Charity Shop Finds. I have detailed some of my books below in case you are interested.

Tips: It’s best to stack the books from largest to smallest so you can see what’s there, avoid having too many out at once, and you might want to vary your selection.

Coney Island: Lost and Found by Charles Denson
I purchased this book from a shop on the seafront at Coney Island when I visited in April. As well as reminding me of a great trip, it is full of fantastic photographs from the 1870s to the 2000s. It’s fascinating to see the changes to the boardwalk and the amusement park over the last century, and as well as the many photographs, the book contains a fair amount of information. One of the most famous historical icons of Coney Island is the Elephant Hotel, literally shaped like an elephant, which opened in 1884. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a fire in 1896, which is why it also features in the Lost New York title below.

Berlin in the 20s by Rainer Metzger
This book was an unexpected gift that I was extremely pleased with. Berlin is one of my favourite cities and I am hoping to see a lot more of Germany in the near future. The front of the jacket features the George Grosz painting, ‘Metropolis’. I am very fond of German Expressionist art and film, and this is of course covered in the book. It features dozens of black and white photographs – of people, of cultural places, of architecture, and lots of art by prominent German artists of the era like Dix and Kirchner.

Lost New York by Marcia Reiss
Another title bought on location. This is a very noteworthy book, featuring photographs of long gone New York landmarks, some of which are architecturally stunning, like the Singer Building, built in 1908 and demolished a mere 60 years later. Another great loss to the city was Penn Station in 1966, which had fallen into disrepair. The station still exists in name, and there are talks of demolishing Madison Square Garden to make way for a brand new station. Of course, the biggest loss to the New York City skyline was the Twin Towers, destroyed (but never forgotten) in 2011.

This book belongs to my boyfriend, and it fits in to a cardboard sleeve with a rope handle, making it a great gift option. Although I wear Adidas trainers I would never have purchased this book, however, it is actually quite interesting. It documents the history of the company, with a short biography of the founder, Adi Dassler. Photographs include the first Adidas trainers worn at the 1928 Olympics, sprinter Jesse Owens’ spikes and Muhammad Ali’s boxing boots.

X-Ray Art by Nick Veasey
I picked this up a few years ago as I found the idea of x-raying random objects rather intriguing. The photographer – or x-rayer – Nick Veasey, seeks to discover the inner beauty of objects, and to create art using a technology which has now become so ingrained in our modern lives, no longer solely for medical purposes, but also for security. Everything from children’s toys, electronic equipment, musical instruments, and even an electric chair have been given the x-ray treatment. The x-rays of leaves and flowers are particularly beautiful.

The World’s Dreamiest Beaches by Birgit Adam and Claudia Piuntek
This book was also a gift. I am in love with the beach. I feel like I can say that because, for me, being near the beach is not weather-dependent. As well as the breathtaking images, what I like about this book is the variety – it features coastlines from every continent – and the inclusion of beaches from colder climes, such as Iceland, Latvia, and the Faroe Islands.

CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed by Frederic Chaubin
A very large, Taschen book of photography, which also belongs to my boyfriend. It features chapters on Entertainment and Culture; Science and Technology; Sports and Youth; Health and Resorts; and Rites and Symbols. The brutalist architecture is distinctive, imposing and mesmerising. Personal choices are the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chisinau Circus (Moldova), and the Palace of Weddings in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). Slightly lacking in information, but the architecture is incredible.

I also have a number of Art Deco coffee table books, as well as more text heavy ones. I will write a separate post solely on Art Deco books.