The coffee-table-book sphere is an unwieldy one, filled with hundreds and hundreds of options. So we’ve rounded up the best and most giftable publications of the year just in time for the holidays. Here, you’ll find something for every type of person on your list — the mom who enjoys her Pinot Grigio, the dad who knows every R.E.M. song, the hard-to-shop-for party host who has everything, even the teen girl who gets all her style inspiration from Instagram. (Please note that some titles listed here are not yet published, but everything is expected to arrive by December 25.)
Following the 2018 midterm elections, a record number of women were sworn into Congress, changing the face of both the House and the Senate. Through portrait photography evoking traditional (and traditionally male) images of power, this book celebrates history-making female representatives such as Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay senator; Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, the first Native American women in Congress; and Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House.
Esther Choi, whose photographs have appeared in T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Dazed and Confused, and Another Magazine, wrote this cookbook, which uses food to create edible interpretations of modern and contemporary sculptures, paintings, architecture, and design, from the “Quiche Haring” to the “Lina Bo Bacardi Cocktail.”
Photographer Jean-Francois Jaussaud first met Louise Bourgeois — the acclaimed French-born artist known for her giant spindly spider sculptures — at her studio in 1994. That’s where he began taking the photos in this intimate book, which spans the last 11 years of Bourgeois’s life before her death in 2010.
With chapters like “What Is Wine, Anyway?” and “Let’s Talk About Natural Wine,” this impeccably designed book has a friendly, accessible feel courtesy of sommelier Aldo Sohm (the wine director of Le Bernardin) and Christine Muhlke (late of Bon Appétit).
Multimedia artist and designer Walt Cassidy, a.k.a. Waltpaper, takes the reader through the ’90s underground club scene in New York City — Michael Musto called the club kids a “cult of crazy fashion and petulance” — in this “high-impact” visual diary filled with rare and previously unseen photographs, magazine clippings, and other media.
Although Prabal Gurung launched his eponymous collection only in 2009, in the intervening decade the designer has left an indelible mark on American fashion. With mood boards, photographs, and sketches, this monograph follows Gurung’s process and journey over the past ten years, from designing Michelle Obama’s Inauguration gown to showcasing his Nepalese heritage on the runway last spring.
This book collects 50 years of photographer Bill Cunningham’s charming and lively work and includes essays by New York Magazine’s own Cathy Horyn, along with Tiina Loite, Vanessa Friedman, Ruth La Ferla, Guy Trebay, Penelope Green, Jacob Bernstein, and Anna Wintour. It’s a must-have for fashion and New York City lovers alike — and for the person who has felt like something is missing every time they’ve opened the Sunday Styles section since Cunningham passed away in 2016.
A collaboration of interior designer Nina Freudenberger, writer Sadie Stein, and photographer Shade Degges, Bibliostyle offers a peek inside the homes of book lovers (including Silvia Whitman, proprietor of Shakespeare and Company in Paris, and the novelist and bookshop owner Emma Straub). Featuring enviable private libraries and packed floor-to-ceiling shelves, this beautiful volume makes a compelling case for books as décor.
Agnès B.’s snap cardigan turns 40 this year, and the brand made this book, which includes photographs of the iconic piece throughout the years, to celebrate. It opens with an essay by journalist Sophie Fontanel about her love of the cardigan and her admiration for the French designer’s work. “That woman is as important as Coco Chanel. She invented the snap cardigan!,” Fontanel says of Agnes B., a sentiment which will resonate with any superfan.
Published by the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, this 1,000-page compendium documents 1,740 objects made by 546 furniture designers over the past 230 years — from chairs by Marcel Breuer to Ikea’s Billy bookshelf — through time lines, biographies, infographics, and more.
When designer Karl Lagerfeld died earlier this year, he left behind not only the legacy of his decades-long career in fashion but also his beloved Birman cat, Choupette. A celebrity in her own right, Choupette earned fame (and thousands of Instagram followers) for her lavish lifestyle of cozying up to supermodels and flying first class. Now Choupette’s fans can enjoy this collection of photos taken by Lagerfeld, featuring the pampered kitty enjoying her favorite activities, such as perching on a velvet chair and curling up in the bathroom sink.
Waves is an ode to the world of surfing and its royalty. Over four years, photographer Thom Gilbert studied the best living surfers in Spain, New York, California, and Hawaii, shooting them as tiny figures against an oceanic backdrop as well as close up and on dry land. The pages feature more than 300 images by Gilbert plus the surfers’ stories, told through Q&As and handwritten notes.
Artist Chris Ofili created 12 etchings to illustrate Othello, giving new depth to Shakespeare’s tragic play. The book includes a foreword by poet and critic Fred Moten and reconsiders the story of Othello in relation to contemporary social injustices. It is also the first in the Seeing Shakespeare series, which will include books with illustrations by Marcel Dzama and Jordan Wolfson.
In this much-more-than-a-cookbook book, Angie Mar, chef and owner of the Beatrice Inn, shares her recipes and techniques, personal Polaroids, and essays on being a glamorous carnivore — on everything from why she ages steaks in whiskey to her love of Champagne.
This book, from Game of Thrones’s Emmy-winning production designer, Deborah Riley, includes 432 pages of sketches and concepts that became King’s Landing, Winterfell, Dragonstone, and all those other places we’ve sadly been without since May. It might be just as important as that book Sam swiped from the Citadel to prove Jon’s claim to the throne. And it definitely has more pictures.
This large-scale collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings and preparatory drawings brings the alchemy and wonder of the artist’s work into readers’ laps. Published in 2019 to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, Leonardo by Leonardo includes narratives written by scholar Martin J. Kemp to accompany each painting and extensive reflections by Leonardo himself.
Photographer Jim Marshall captured a generation of social change with his images of musicians from Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to John Coltrane, of music festivals like Monterey Jazz and Woodstock, and of civil-rights protesters in the Mississippi Delta. Hundreds of photographs are showcased in this book, complete with personal essays by Marshall’s contemporaries.
This is the second in Fausto Gilberti’s series of artist biographies for young readers, which he started as a way to share his passion for contemporary art with his children. A painter himself, Gilberti tells the story of Yves Klein through whimsical line drawings and many splashes of Klein’s signature blue.
When The NoMad Cookbook was published back in 2015, it came with a little surprise: The NoMad Cocktail Book, hidden in the book’s back panel. It’s now available as a stand-alone, and Leo Robitschek, bar director at the NoMad Bar (and Eleven Madison Park), has expanded on the original how-to guide with nearly 300 recipes, dozens of illustrations, and an in-depth service manual.
If you can’t get to Mars (and can’t get to London, where the Design Museum’s exhibition that this book is based on runs until February 2020), you can at least buy this book. Flip through concepts and prototypes that imagine how we might get to the red planet, what we’ll wear on the way, and how far underground we’ll have to build our homes if we expect to keep living.
For the past eight decades, Apollonia Poilâne’s family has been baking baguettes, brioches, and the now-famous nearly 4.5-pound miche loaves at its bakery in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. And for the first time, Poilâne is sharing its bread-baking secrets for the whole world to enjoy with detailed, step-by-step instructions.
This is not American fashion photographer Arthur Elgort’s first book, but it is a colorful, in-depth look at many of the models he most loved to shoot. There’s Kate Moss pushing a shopping cart through a parking lot, and Christy Turlington jumping across Parisian rooftops, along with portraits of Cindy Crawford, Karen Elson, and Linda Evangelista.
Figures of Speech is a three-part study of Virgil Abloh’s creative process — an exploration of his unique synthesis of streetwear and high fashion — with interviews and essays from influential voices in fashion, design, and art, including Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and writer-photographer Taiye Selasi.
This delightful pop-up book inspired by Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet (which premiered in 1922) is technically for children, but the geometric illustrations and paper cutouts, by Lesley Barnes, and the lively text, by Gabby Dawnay, will appeal to anyone interested in color, design, and movement. It’s interactive, too.
Broken down into thematic chapters like “Glamour Drag,” “Art Drag,” and “Butch Drag,” Simon Doonan’s her-story, charts drag performance from its beginnings to the current RuPaul-fueled renaissance. Doonan catalogues every raucous twist and turn with striking imagery of queens from all eras and cultures — from 16th-century Italian paintings of Bacchus to photographs of Leigh Bowery, Bianca Del Rio, and Crystal LaBeija.
Local experts say Brooklyn’s population is set to top that of Chicago’s come next year’s Census, making it the third-largest city in the country. This book, from a pair of husband-and-wife photographers is filled with photos of the borough’s human and built population taken over the past five years, presenting a snapshot of new — and old — Brooklyn leading up to this historic moment.
The creator of #TheStew and a columnist for the New York Times Food section, Alison Roman brings her signature simplicity and zeal to this, her second cookbook. Designed with the budding host in mind, it features instructions for a DIY martini bar and a recipe for coconut-braised chicken, among many others, which will help anyone nail their next dinner party or weekday potluck.