Selectism Holiday Guide: 20 Gift Ideas for Coffee Table Books

Christmas is two weeks away and it’s no better time to start picking up gifts for your friends and family. Books make some of the best gifts for the holidays and the topics that fill them span every interest. We’ve gone through our 2013 book archive and selected 20 of our favorite books from this past year that would be great additions to anyone’s library or coffee table. From cars, food, homes and design, this is a great list of options that work well as primary gifts or stocking stuffers. Browse the list below.

See our other gift guides:

Blank Slate: A Comprehensive Library of Photographic Dummies

This CD and book combo features incredible graphic design via logos and packaging ideas. A must-have for any start-up businessman, graphic designer, or general font and design geek. ($40)


Wood Architecture Now! Vol. 2

The second volume of this TASCHEN architecture piece takes a look at at one of the oldest raw materials in history. This work, focusing on the sole use of wood in architecture, is certainly interesting and unique. ($38)


Craft Cocktails

Assouline’s latest recipe guide to drinks and spirits explores the “new golden age” of craft cocktails. The Craft Cocktails book highlights the very best in drink concoctions as presented by mixologist Brian Van Flandern. ($35)


The Ride Custom Motorcycle Book

Gestalten’s The Ride is a great work for fans of all things motorcycle. This publication looks to champion those who build and those who ride with 320 full-color pages. ($47)


Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles

The two-volume material records the evolution of various typefaces from the 17th to 20th centuries by prominent typographers and designers of those eras. A TASCHEN keycard is also enclosed in the book that grants exclusive access for the gift-receiver to an online library with over 2,400 downloadable fonts. ($40)


Indigo: The Color that Changed the World

The book takes an in-depth look at the history and use of indigo throughout countless cultures and why we are still mesmerized by the ancient hue today. This is a must-read for any fashion enthusiast, especially all the denim heads out there. ($41)


Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet

This fascinating work looks into a unique topic: Airline culture, and every aspect of it including fashion, food and design. A fun choice for a costume designer or historian friend. ($12)


 The Monocle Guide to Better Living

One of our favorite Publications, Monocle, offers their first hardback book. Editor Andrew Tuck explains that the amalgamation of content over the years points to the simple idea of how to live life just a bit better. ($50)


 Cook It Raw

Look into the theories and recipes of the avant-garde chefs who attended the first “Raw” dinner in Copenhagen. The meeting was a challenge to think about sustainable cooking, while still maintaining all creative culinary integrity. ($35)


Velo-2nd Gear: Bicycle Culture and Style

This is a good introduction to contemporary cycling culture from manufacturers, cycling boutiques, clothing, gear, and much more. If you’re interested in getting into the cycling lifestyle, we suggest picking this up. ($37)


How to Read Fashion: A Crash Course in Styles, Designers, and Couture

This hardback is an illustrated crash course into the visual grammar and language of fashion. The book covers everything from casual to formal wear for both men and women. ($13)


Where Chefs Eat: An International Restaurant Guide Book

Over 400 of the world’s most renowned chefs offer up their favorite places to dine which span from high-brow destinations, to diners, burger joints, and everything in between. Maybe there’s something in your neighborhood. ($16)


Dian Hanson’s History of Pin-up Magazines

TASCHEN Sexy Books editor Dian Hanson compiles the history and evolution of pin-up magazines from 1900 to 1969. ($29)


Irving Harper: Works in Paper

Papercraft artist Irving Harper’s incredible paper sculptures are showcased in this book from Rizzoli. ($30)


How to Boil an Egg

Cooking eggs is easy, but “How to Boil an Egg” takes it to a new level with over 80 egg-centric dishes and 40 specially commissioned hand-drawn painting by botanical artist Fiona Strickland. ($26)


Schott NYC: 100 Years of an American Original

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Schott NYC, vintage fashion historian Rin Tanaka bring us 100 Years of an American Original, a hardback book recording over 200 original photographs of sketches of leather jackets made by the famed American brand. ($48)


The Design Book

Phaidon compiles 500 of the most iconic and innovative industrial designs that are still in production today in this small, hand-held sized hardback. ($15)


Hugh Hefner’s Playboy

Hugh Hefner presents his illustrated autobiography covering his wildly successful career and personal life in this massive six-volume set. ($105)


Louis Vuitton City Bags: A Natural History

If you know someone who loves Louis Vuitton bags — or designer bags in general — but you can’t afford to buy them one, this coffee table book on the history of LV’s City Bags is a perfect gift. The book records the evolution of the brand’s iconic leather goods, “mimicking the scientific classifications of animals and plants.” ($53)

The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy

This title by Ursus Wehrli is an intriguing collection of foods, plants, people, cars, toys, and even people, organized graphically by size, color, and composition. ($10)

Managing Director N.A.

Jeff Carvalho is Managing Director for Highsnobiety N.A. in New York City. He holds a journalism degree from Northeastern University.

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