The problem with having too many coffee table books is you don’t know if you need to buy another bookcase or another coffee table.
I’m not sure when my addiction to coffee table books started, but over the years I’ve built quite a collection. For me, they’re a great way to showcase things I’m interested in and decorate my home.
Coffee table books are like art in themselves, and I’ve found them a pretty way to highlight things I enjoy. In my case, the subjects of the books range from musical theater to the Beatles to history.
When executive editor Megan Moser saw a few from my collection, she said, “That’s a pretty specific subset of coffee table book.”
And it’s true. There’s probably one for any specific interest you might have, and often one of the first words I use to describe myself is “fangirl.”
The first one I remember buying was “America (The Book)” by Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show. I watched the show regularly and got it on a whim. I didn’t even realize I was beginning to accumulate them until I had about five.
By now, I have 10 or more. I usually rotate them through different spots in my living room. In the time that I’ve been accumulating them, I’ve collected four about the Beatles and three about some of my favorite Broadway shows.
I recently added to two books to the collection for the first time in a while. One was a book Ringo Starr released featuring postcards the other Beatles mailed him. It’s fun to open to any random page and read a joke from John, a doodle from Paul or a Christmas wish from George.
When I bought Ringo’s book, I also bought one about Queen, which is full of photos taken by guitarist Brian May. He found some great backstage photos and shares intimate stories about his bandmates, like Freddie Mercury opening up a bit about his struggle with AIDS.
If you have a favorite band, it’s entirely possible there’s a book that will let you have a peek into what they were like behind the scenes.
I like reading and I read quite a bit, but there’s less pressure in a book that you’re not actually meant to sit down and read straight through (although with many of mine, I do eventually make it through most of the book). This type of book is a great way to focus on beautiful images, rather than a narrative. They tend to be larger and printed on glossier paper, so photos really pop.
Some of them have such lovely design that they become a decoration by themselves. One of the prettiest ones I have is about the musical “Hamilton.” It has beautiful photographs of the original Broadway production and old illustrations from Alexander Hamilton’s era.
Because they are meant to be displayed, they can turn into conversation starters. Others with shared interests will want to look through the book too. Maybe they’ll open to a page with a funny story, or an unusual photo that will spark conversation.
If nothing else, hopefully having something around that reminds you of a passion will brighten up your day and your living room.