These Luxe Coffee Table Books Make Great Last-Minute Gifts

Scouted/The Daily Beast/Amazon.
Scouted/The Daily Beast/Amazon.

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No matter how hard you try to brainstorm ideas, inevitably, there always seems to be a handful of people on your list who are downright impossible to shop for during the holiday season. We all know them: they’re the recipients who already have everything, have no idea what they like or want (or at least pretend to have no idea), or say they want nothing at all when you know showing up empty-handed simply isn’t an option. So what are you to do when you are stumped on what to buy for those tricky giftees on your holiday shopping list?

Whether it be a gift for yourself or a gift for a difficult-to-shop-for recipient, there’s nothing quite like a great coffee table book. These visually engaging and beautiful-to-display books are always a great gift idea for anyone on your list. Whether searching for a fashion-related title, a photographic study, or a historical coffee table book, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in these well-reviewed coffee table books.

Annie Leibovitz Down from $160

Annie Leibovitz is a renowned photographer known for her legendary, timeless portraits of celebrity figures like Queen Elizabeth II, President Richard Nixon, The Rolling Stones, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Lady Gaga, Meryl Streep, and other famous faces. Though chances are you’ve probably already seen her incredible photography countless times in publications like Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Rolling Stone, you won’t want to miss her extensive and beautiful collection of photography over a nearly 50-year career featured in her recently released book “Annie Leibovitz.” This super-heavy, collector’s-worthy item is something that won’t sit collecting dust; readers will pick it up time and time again, thumbing through the pages to behold Leibovitz’s outstanding photojournalism career.

Buy Annie Leibovitz at Amazon, $116

Buy Annie Leibovitz at Taschen, $150

Gucci: The Making Of

If you’re shopping for a lover of high fashion, you won’t want to miss the gorgeous and extensive book, “GUCCI: The Making Of.” Though I wasn’t a huge fan of the fashion brand before picking up the popular title, I came to learn and understand so much about the globally respected brand, including the founding of the company in Florence in post-World War I, the instrumental, intriguing Gucci family, key designers who have contributed to the brand over the years—including Tom Ford, their luxurious fabrics, materials, and craftsmanship—including the trademark, buttery leather, and the company’s influence on celebrity fashion ranging from models to first ladies. If you know someone who owns a Gucci handbag in every color, they’ll certainly love displaying this dazzling, must-display title in their home.

Buy Gucci: The Making Of at Amazon, $65

Buy Gucci: The Making Of at Barnes & Noble, $90

E.T.: the Extra Terrestrial: The Ultimate Visual History

Certain films stand the test of time and are revisited by viewers repeatedly. One of these enduring, fan-favorite films is the 1982 Steven Spielberg-directed sci-fi classic E.T. This Spielberg film tells the story of a gentle, sweet alien left behind on Earth by his family who relies on the kindness of three children and their mother to make it back home. “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial: The Ultimate Visual History,” tells the story of how this great movie came to be, from photography, concept art, storyboards, removable insert items, filmmaking stories, interviews, and other brilliant, little-known details.

Buy E.T.: the Extra Terrestrial: The Ultimate Visual History at Amazon, $45

Ocean, Exploring the Marine World

Here’s something to know about the publishing world: If a book is published by Phaidon, chances are you’re in for some breathtaking, fantastic visuals. The cover of “Ocean: Exploring The Marine Worldalone is gorgeous and will quickly inspire readers to explore the rest of the book’s interior, which features over 300 images of the Earth’s oceans alongside in-depth information. Within this extensive title – pieced together from the input of marine biologists, scientists, conservationists, curators, photographers, and subject-matter experts – you’ll find images of prehistoric marine life, fossils, and coral reefs; discover climate change’s extensive damage on the world’s oceans, and read about the world’s history and enduring relationship with all its beautiful oceans.

Buy Ocean, Exploring the Marine World at Amazon, $48

Buy Ocean, Exploring the Marine World at Neiman Marcus, $48

The Lady Di Look BookDown from $35

The world’s enduring love for Princess Diana is astounding. Even though the famed royal has been gone for twenty-five years now, her legacy and influence are still among us today–through her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry; her remarkable candor, fragility, and vulnerability; and, of course, her bold, statement-making fashion choices, from her puffy-sleeve wedding dress to her chic, perfectly timed revenge dress. Released earlier this summer, “The Lady Di Lookbook: What Diana Was Trying To Tell Us Through Her Clothesis a sumptuous photographic study from fashion journalist Eloise Moran of Princess Diana’s closet and includes commentary on the possible meaning and messages behind outfits like her rotating collection of oversized sweatshirts, the black revenge dress, the famous black-sheep jumper, and more memorable garments.

Buy The Lady Di Look Book at Amazon, $25

They Drew as They Pleased (6 Book Series)

Calling all Disney fans and fanatics: If you’ve ever wanted an inside look at the timeless animation and art featured in some of Disney’s most classic films, including Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Fantasia, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and more, you won’t want to pass up the incredible six-part series: “They Drew As They Pleased.” These hard-to-put-down titles cover Disney’s legendary animation, illustrations, and art from the 1930s through the 2010s. While you’ll certainly behold some never-before-seen imagery in the books, you’ll also learn a great deal about the extraordinary illustrators and animators behind these classic films, from Gustaf Tenggren, who illustrated for Pinnochio, and Walt Peregoy, a background painter on Sleeping Beauty, among other significant, behind-the-scenes figures.

Buy They Drew as They Pleased (6 Book Series) at Amazon, $20

American Cowboys

The fascination with cowboys is at an all-time high, thanks to shows like Yellowstone, 1883, and the soon-to-be-released 1923. And while it might be easy to reduce cowboy culture to basic things like chaps, boots, horses, and other Southern-centric cliches, much is misunderstood about this particular lifestyle. Beautifully photographed by Anouk Masson Krantz—author of the “West: The American Cowboywith a foreword from Yellowstone’s writer and creator Taylor Sheridan, “American Cowboys” features an in-depth, photographic study of this often overlooked, misunderstood world, from the families immersed in the culture to the hard work and labor of ranching and rodeos. This modern, refreshing examination of today’s American cowboys and cowgirls is something people will want to revisit time and time.

Buy American Cowboys at Amazon, $57

Winsor McCay. The Complete Little Nemo

There are those childhood memories that stay with you your whole life, such as reading a certain comic book that opened your eyes to the power of imagination and storytelling. For some, that comic book might be Spider-Man, Batman, or Archie Comics, but it’s hard to dismiss the legacy of “Little Nemo in Slumberland,” which was created by American cartoonist Winsor McCay and was published from 1905 to 1927. Even if you haven’t read itwhich details the adventure of a little boy who explores the enchantments and mysteries of Slumberland—chances are you’ve seen it referenced in pop culture, whether through the critically underrated 1992 film Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, or even the recently released Netflix film Slumberland, which is loosely based on McCay’s original series. “Winsor McCay—The Complete Little Nemo” features all 549 episodes of the cartoonist’s series, alongside engaging commentary and historical insight into the influence and legacy of McCay and Little Nemo. Whether a comic-book nerd or someone who appreciates adventure, intrigue and great storytelling, someone on your holiday shopping list will love this undeniable page-turner!

Buy Winsor McCay. The Complete Little Nemo at Amazon, $72


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