coffee table books

thequirkyone mentioned coffee table books on a comment recently. I used to love coffee table books of all sorts.

I recall having had many of them, on all kind of topics. Full with great pictures. Of rural Scotland in black and white images. Of Viennese Art Noveau, and of course of Charles Rennie MacIntosh’s Glasgow New School of Art Noveau. Of the Vienna Secession. Of Japanese graphics as well as Chinese. Of famous writer’s desks. And then of course of artwork, catalogues of exhibitions one has seen, like MoMa in Berlin. Or Lionel Feininger. Or Robert Mapplethorpe, no name but three. A big one on shopping bag designs (genius work in there). One on iconic news photography that went viral long before the internet existed. Another one on photography after photography has died (which it really hasn’t, the title just meant the transition from analogue to digital). One on the art of Bauhaus. And one featuring the Rolling Stones (I believe this one came my way via the sweetheart). A beloved one about Helmut Qualtinger (an Austrian actor). One on Café Hawelka in Vienna, one about the Paris Bar in Berlin. The list goes on and on.

Until I received a gift from my friend in Switzerland: the ultimate coffee table book. It’s called the coffee table coffee table book.

The Cofee Table Coffee Table Book by Alexander Payne and James Zemaitis

Actually, it features great pictures of various coffee tables, some of them design icons. However, I think this was the time I stopped collecting coffee table books. Realizing, that they just sit in my shelf and are seldom really appreciated or properly looked at.

It were a different story, if one had a public place, where people sit around, waiting a lot. Or owned a big house with many coffee tables to put the books onto. Or still lived in a day and age, when running a “Salon” was fashionable, having the Bourgeoisie over in regular intervals to discuss arts, politics and life in general (thinking of it, the forerunner of blogging, really). However, living as I do, I have neither. I just live in a rather smallish flat with my sweetheart. With very few guests ever stopping by. So, in my latest down-sizing spree, most of my coffee table books had to go. Save for a few, I really like. The rest I keep in fond memory.

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