NEW YORK – Even people without coffee tables enjoy coffee table books as gifts, especially if they’re thoughtfully chosen rather than hastily snatched from a store shelf at the last minute.
The holidays bring fresh choices every year among large-format, photo-driven books. A sampler among new releases:
Fashion and style
Vogue: The Editor’s Eye (Abrams Books). Features interviews with eight of the magazine’s stylists through time. Includes celebrity portraits and behind-the-scenes candids by the fashion industry’s top photographers, including Irving Penn, Mario Testino, Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz.
Icons (Running Press). Includes stunning up-close photography by Markus and Indrani of Kate Winslet and Kanye West, along with more stagey and dramatic commercial jobs featuring the duo’s A-list clientele, from album covers to magazine work.
Tim Walker: Story Teller (Abrams Books). Photographer turns fashion into fairy tales. Singer Kate Bush provides a foreword, and Walker includes personal observations of the full-page, color-saturated shoots. There’s Tim Burton as a skanky Santa and model Xiao Wen with a huge insect on her open mouth.
Film and TV
Bond on Bond, by Roger Moore (Lyons Press). Lots of trivia in text spanning all 50 years of 007, not just Moore’s stint. His recollections are cheeky and well informed. Includes snapshots of famous pals who showed up on set, details gadgetry, and adds a great color beefcake shot of Daniel Craig, shirt off.
Steven Spielberg: A Retrospective (Sterling). Features director and film critic Richard Schickel in conversation with Spielberg as he looks back on the last 40 years. Chapters are chronological by movie. Photos are heavy on film stills.
All the Bits: Monty Python’s Flying Circus, by Luke Dempsey (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers). Colorful doorstop of a book offers complete scripts for every one of the show’s 45 episodes, with marginalia and fun graphic details.
Art and illustrators
Ralph Steadman’s Extinct Boids, with commentary from Ceri Levy (Bloomsbury). Levy, a filmmaker, asked the cartoonist best known for his work with Hunter S. Thompson to produce a painting for an exhibit on birds. Steadman didn’t stop there, instead creating 100, in beautiful color. His full-size paintings are punctuated by humorous emails and phone conversations between the two.
MAD’s Greatest Artists: Mort Drucker: Five Decades of His Finest Works (Running Press). Collection of movie and TV satire is plucked in comic-strip format from the pages of the magazine. George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and others among Drucker’s targets add notes of appreciation.
Music and politics
The Rolling Stones 50, by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood (Hyperion). Sets stark commentary from the Stones themselves alongside tour photos, candids and close-ups in celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary.
Green Day: The Ultimate Unauthorized History, by Alan di Perna (Voyageur Press). Gathers concert visuals, posters and memorabilia such as backstage passes for the rock journalist’s retrospective spanning the band’s 25 years. Out Dec. 16.
Politics and food
Capturing Camelot: Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the Kennedys by Kitty Kelley (Thomas Dunne Books). Features intimate images of John F. Kennedy by Kelley’s close friend, photojournalist Tretick, known for incredible access to the president and his family. Scenes range from ticker tape parades to John Jr. running for Marine One. Lots of Jackie.
Come In, We’re Closed, by Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy, with foreword by Ferran Adria (Running Press). How do the world’s best restaurants feed their staffs? Contains recipes fit for many based on the good eats for the families of wd-50 in New York, Ad Hoc in Yountville, Calif., Cochon in New Orleans and Mugaritz in Spain.
Home and entertaining
Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends, by Pippa Middleton (Viking). From Christmas crafts to a traditional afternoon tea, the younger sister of Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge, covers a lot of ground. Includes lots of party recipes, including nutella madeleines and a hazelnut roulade. Also includes tips on how to plan for the holidays and preparing ahead.
The Things That Matter, by Nate Berkus (Spiegel & Grau). Text-heavy look at the home design guru’s influences also touches on some of his favorite things. There’s a shoutout for sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer and the radio show he listened to as a youth that gave everyone respect, acceptance, and permission to be exactly who they were.