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Culture, Literature

Coffee Table Books

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The wonderful Kim Harvey, owner of excellent The Mad Hatter Bookshop in Burford (and Creative Director of The Burford Literary Festival) shares her reading suggestions for books to adorn your table, inspire conversation and be leafed through time and again

EXPLORER. 100 Trips Around the World, The New York Times

 Travelling should make you feel like you are living and breathing your dreams, be that stuffing your face with forkfuls of squid-ink pasta in the backstreets of Venice whilst the water and time slip gently past in the afternoon sun or sipping on a deep red rioja at midnight whilst your toes tap to the beauty of the flamenco dancers in the square. EXPLORER gives a curated collection of 100 trips from the distinguished travel writers and photographers of The New York Times. Each trip is rich in detail and brimming with practical details. Keep close to hand and plans your travels be they a reality or just in your head.

 Frida Kahlo, The Complete Collection, Taschen Books

 If, like me, you would adore to have an original Frida Kahlo adorn your walls but can't quite justify the £30 million price tag this year then this XXL monograph is surely the next best thing. Measuring a touch under 40cm by 30cm and with over 600 gloriously glossy pages comprising all of Kahlo’s 152 paintings with rare photos, diary pages, letters, and an illustrated biography, this book offers an unprecedented insight into the historical haven of Kahlo. At £150 it is considerably more affordable and yet no less divine.

Annie Leibovitz, Taschen Books

 Annie Leibovitz is one of the most influential photographers of our time. Her iconic pieces are not simply admired for their conceptual and theatrical style but serve as a cultural record of the past 40 years. In this SUMO edition, Leibovitz draws on her work, starting with the photojournalism she did for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s through the portraits she made for Vanity Fair and Vogue. She selected iconic images — such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono entwined in a last embrace — as well as portraits that have rarely, if ever, been seen before. The book is not arranged chronologically and it’s not a retrospective. It’s more like a roller coaster and as close as you will ever get to seeing the world through Annie's eyes.  

The Alps 1900: A Portrait in Colour, Taschen Books

 No Apline bolthole is complete without a copy of this charming tour of a bygone era. Imagine yourself in your silk pyjamas, sitting amongst the rugs and cushions, sipping on a Bombardino in front of a roaring fire as you flick through its pages. The Alps 1900 recalls when the first mountain trains and cog railways were carrying men in lederhosen and women in long dresses to the foot of the glacier, when local guides accompanied tourists riding on mules; a time when the first alpinists were considered mad, and skiers were a curiosity. At first printing of 10,000 numbered copies this beautiful book is the perfect gift for anybody who loves the alps, be they skiers, walkers, mountaineers or geographers.

Apollo Remastered, Andy Saunders

For anybody who has ever tipped their face to the night sky and wondered what it might be like to journey to the moon; this is book is the next best thing to being there. For almost 50 years the original flight film from the Apollo missions has remined hermetically sealed in a frozen vault in Texas. Now scanned and digitally remastered, allowing us to view these historic moments as never before. Expert image restorer Andy Saunders has applied painstaking care and cutting-edge enhancement techniques, creating the highest quality Apollo photographs ever produced. Never-before-seen spacewalks and crystal-clear portraits of astronauts in their spacecraft along with startling new visions of the Earth and the Moon, offering astounding new insight into one of our greatest endeavours. This is the definitive record of the Apollo missions and a mesmerizing, high-definition journey into the unknown.  

Booze and Vinyl, a Spirited Guide To Great Music and Mixed Drinks, André Darlington 

 I keep a copy of this book in my kitchen: I love flipping through the pages with a coffee whilst I procrastinate about emptying the dishwasher. It's little like cosying up to an old friend and it evokes memories of halcyon student days and concerts in halls that had a maximum capacity of 200 and the band would come to the bar after the gig for a chat. Booze and Vinyl shows you how to set the mood for 70 great records from the 1950s through the 2000s. From modern craft cocktails to old standbys, prepare to shake, stir, and just plain pour your way through some of the best wax ever pressed. Wickedly designed and featuring photography throughout and legendary music including Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club, Purple Rain, Born To Run, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Buena Vista Social Club, Back to Black, and Vampire Weekend. The perfect addition to any Book-Bar, get some shelf-medication.

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