Guide to coffee table books as holiday gifts

Associated Press Modified: November 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm •  Published: November 13, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Even people without coffee tables enjoy coffee table books as gifts, especially if they're thoughtfully chosen rather than hastily snatched from a store shelf at the last minute.

The holidays bring fresh choices every year among large-format, photo-driven books. A sampler among new releases:

FASHION & STYLE

"Vogue: The Editor's Eye," Abrams Books, features interviews with eight of the magazine's stylists through time. Celebrity portraits and behind-the-scenes candids by the fashion industry's top photographers, including Irving Penn, Mario Testino, Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz.

"Icons," Running Press, stunning up-close photography by Markus and Indrani of Kate Winslet and Kanye West, along with more stagey and dramatic commercial jobs featuring the duo's A-list clientele, from album covers to magazine work.

"Tim Walker: Story Teller," Abrams Books, with the photographer turning fashion into fairy tales. Singer Kate Bush wrote a foreword and Walker includes personal observations of the full-page, color-saturated shoots. There's Tim Burton as a skanky Santa and model Xiao Wen with a huge insect on her open mouth.

FILM & TV

"Bond on Bond," Lyons Press, the Roger Moore years, by Roger Moore. Lots of trivia in text spanning all 50 years of 007, not just Moore's stint. His recollections are cheeky and well informed. He includes snapshots of famous pals who showed up on set, details gadgetry and includes a great color beefcake shot of Daniel Craig, shirt off.

"Steven Spielberg: A Retrospective," Sterling, featuring text with the director and film critic Richard Schickel in conversation as Spielberg looks back on the last 40 years. Chapters are chronological by movie. Photos heavy on film stills.

"All the Bits: Monty Python's Flying Circus," Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, by Luke Dempsey. A colorful doorstop of a book offering complete scripts for every one of the show's 45 episodes, with marginalia and fun graphic details.

ART & ILLUSTRATORS

"Ralph Steadman's Extinct Boids," Bloomsbury, with commentary from Ceri Levy. Levy, a filmmaker, asked the cartoonist best known for his work with Hunter S. Thompson to produce one painting for an art exhibition on birds. Steadman didn't stop there, documenting in beautiful color 100 birds in all. His full-size paintings are punctuated by humorous emails and phone conversations between the two.

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