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> The Listicles

Good Tidings: 13 Coffee Table Books for Gift Giving

These gorgeous tomes will look good in any living room, but their stunning visuals and intriguing texts will please everyone on your list / BY Nathalie Atkinson / December 9th, 2022


We’d be thrilled to unwrap any of these deluxe coffee-table tomes this season.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image. 

1The Philosophy of Modern SongBy Bob Dylan

“Like any other piece of art, songs are not seeking to be understood,” Bob Dylan, 81, writes in The Philosophy of Modern Song ($55), his first new book of writing since he published his impressionistic reminiscences in 2004’s Chronicles: Volume One and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. The voice of a generation offers incisive and witty personal reflections on ideas contained in songs by artists like The Who, the Eagles, Bing Crosby, Hank Williams, Perry Como and Nina Simone. Each of the 66 chapters hinges on a particular recording of a song (only four from female artists) and mirror Dylan’s eclectic taste as he explores the art and craft of songwriting through freeform riffs, thematic analysis and digressions about performance and the nature of authorship. A third of the print edition is made up of musician photographs, while the audiobook essays are narrated by Dylan and an all-star cast that includes Helen Mirren, Rita Moreno, Sissy Spacek, Jeff Bridges and Alfre Woodard. Be sure to ask Santa for
both editions.


2Pattie Boyd: My Life in PicturesBy Pattie Boyd

English model and photographer icon Pattie Boyd, 78, embodied the spirit of Swinging London, and was the muse for some of the greatest musicians of her generation — including her adulterous first husband, Beatles guitarist George Harrison. Later, she married Harrison’s best friend, Eric Clapton, and inspired both “Wonderful Tonight” and the unrequited love song “Layla,” one of the legendary classic rocker’s biggest hits. In Pattie Boyd: My Life in Pictures ($64.95), she shares her personal visual archive for the first time; from honeymoon snaps to letters and diary entries, it’s a sumptuous record of ’60s and ’70s counterculture, where she opens up about her memories of lovers and friends like Twiggy, Billy Preston and David Bailey. 


3 Echoes of the Supernatural By Robert Davidson

A carver of masks and totem poles, as well as a performer and teacher of traditional songs and dances, Robert Davidson is a prominent figure in the renaissance of Haida art and culture, and one of the most acclaimed and influential artists in Canada. Echoes of the Supernatural ($60) celebrates this driving force in the resurgence of Haida culture in the aftermath of colonization. Written with Gary Wyatt, a leading dealer in First Nations art, this is the first comprehensive retrospective of Davidson’s half-century career and multidisciplinary practice, which addresses urgent contemporary political and social issues.


4 Karl Lagerfeld Unseen: The Chanel YearsBy Robert Fairer

British fashion photographer and industry insider Robert Fairer has given the “unseen” treatment to designers Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs and John Galliano over the years. InKarl Lagerfeld Unseen: The Chanel Years($107), his lens reveals the inner workings of one of the most influential designers of the modern era, who died in 2019 after 36 years as the head of Chanel and 54 years at Fendi. Behind-the-scenes photographs chosen from tens of thousands of images from the mid-1990s to 2006 immortalize not only Lagerfeld’s voracious curiosity and vast range, but also the supermodel and celebrity-fuelled golden era of fashion. Consider it your cheat sheet for next year’s Met Gala theme, “Paradise Now: The Extraordinary Life of Karl Lagerfeld.”


5The Writers: PortraitsBy Laura Wilson

Dust-jacket author photos tend to drain their subjects of personality, but acclaimed Dallas-based photographer Laura Wilson immerses herself in a writer’s setting to restore their character for clients like the New Yorker and Vanity Fair. The 38 dynamic portraits featured in The Writers ($58.50) take a cue from LIFE magazine’s signature photo essays, and reveal noted authors like Zadie Smith and Edwidge Danticat at their most relaxed, Richard Ford kayaking in Maine, Michael Ondaatje hiking in the Petaluma woods in California and Margaret Atwood doing yard work around her Toronto home.


6Bob Willoughby: A Cinematic LifeBy Bob Willoughby

Widely credited with inventing the photojournalistic genre of film stills, American photographer Bob Willoughby’s on-set images document the making of more than a hundred epochal movies, from Ocean’s Eleven and The Graduate to Rosemary’s Baby and Klute. The 200 black-and-white candid shots in Bob Willoughby: A Cinematic Life ($88) artfully chronicle off-duty Hollywood: a doe-eyed Audrey Hepburn, a lifelong friend, and informal yet glamorous shots of stars James Dean, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, many of them accompanied by Willoughby’s personal anecdotes.


7Amy Sherald: The World We MakeBy Amy Sherald

The long-awaited monograph from African American artist Amy Sherald – best known for her official 2018 portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama for the National Portrait Gallery – explores how her work addresses issues of race and injustice in America. In Amy Sherald: The World We Make($76), she paints skin tones in grey scale as a way of challenging the concept, assumptions and constructs of identity, and the book includes a salient conversation between the artist and award-winning cultural critic Ta-Nehisi Coates.


8 Apollo RemasteredBy Andy Saunders

NASA’s latest James Webb Space Telescope delivers the deepest and sharpest infrared images of the distant universe to date. Thanks to the Apollo Remastered($95) project, we can now look back on the space race with newfound awe. Science writer Andy Saunders, an acknowledged expert on NASA digital restoration, spent years digitally remastering all 35,000 still photographs taken during the Apollo missions. His curation is the definitive record to mark the 50th anniversary of humankind’s last steps on the moon – all so stunningly crystal clear, it’s as if they were taken yesterday.


9Cocktails, A Still LifeBy James Waller and Christine Sismondo

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” designer William Morris said. Cocktails, A Still Life ($30) is both. Authors James Waller and Canadian drinks expert and historian Christine Sismondo combine recipes with the engrossing lore behind 60 cocktails, each illustrated by Todd M. Casey with evocative oil paintings.


10Saved: My Picture WorldDiane Keaton

 It’s not The Godfather, The First Wives Club or even Annie Hall that have made actress Diane Keaton the celebrity queen of a new social media generation. The 76-year-old icon has recently been the inspiration for TikTok’s viral coastal grandmother, based on her character in Nancy Meyer’s Something’s Gotta Give. Beyond her idiosyncratic taste in interiors and hats shared in video posts, Keaton’s magpie tendencies are on full display in Saved: My Picture World ($75), her follow-up design book to 2017’s The House that Pinterest Built. Told through collages, collected graphics and a lifetime of her own photographs — ranging from the passersby on Hollywood Boulevard to the pigeons in London’s Trafalgar Square (a regular haunt while filming Warren Beatty’s Reds) – it’s a visual autobiography as quirky as its author.


11Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971By Whoopi Goldberg, Donald Bogle, et al.

The elaborate tome Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971 ($75) commemorates the landmark exhibition at the newly opened Academy of Motion Pictures Museum in Los Angeles. An exploration of seven decades of Black participation in the history of cinema, it’s both an education and a correction, and includes interviews with contemporary Black filmmakers such as Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins and Julie Dash, who give contemporary context to the filmography and chronology. It’s an essential resource that restores the legacy of pioneering Black filmmakers and performers during the Jim Crow era and after, with a foreword by Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg.


12 Love Brings Love: A Homage to Alber ElbazBy AZ Factory

 During his stint as the creative director who rejuvenated storied French fashion house Lanvin, and later, with his namesake collection, Alber Elbaz was a red carpet favourite of Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and Beyoncé. A lively runway tribute by dozens of international luminaries like Rick Owens, Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier made for a unique memorial celebration of the Moroccan-born Israeli fashion designer, who died of COVID-19 last year at 59. Love Brings Love: A Homage to Alber Elbaz ($85) translates that heartfelt experience to the page with sketches that commemorate the universally beloved designer’s life and work, while also showcasing his musings and creativity.


13 The Complete Language of FoodBy S. Theresa Dietz

S. Theresa Dietz, who has previously written comprehensively about flowers, brings her powers of observation to what we eat with The Complete Language of Food ($32.99). Organized alphabetically by scientific name, the handsome reference book includes fruit, vegetables, herbs and even medicinal plants. It’s an encyclopedic guide to the facts and folklore behind common foods — even their spiritual properties and symbolic meanings — and a thoughtful and mouth-watering exploration of the edible world.


THE SCROLL

Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’ Continues to Break Worldwide RecordsThe book also seems to have put a dent in the popularity of members of the Royal Family — including the Prince and Princess of Wales.


Prince Harry’s Memoir Breaks U.K. Sales Record On First Day of ReleaseThe publisher of the new memoir, 'Spare", says it had sold 400,000 copies so far across hardback, e-book and audio formats.


Barack Obama’s Favourite Books of 2022The former U.S. president’s 13 titles include Canadians Emily St. John Mandel and Kate Beaton, as well as tomes from Michelle Obama, George Saunders and Jennifer Egan


Here are the 5 Books on Bill Gates’ Holiday Reading ListThe billionaire philanthropist is giving hundreds of copies to little libraries around the world


Sheila Heti and Eli Baxter Among 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award WinnersToronto writer Sheila Heti took home the fiction award for 'Pure Colour,' a novel the GG peer assessment committee called "a work of genius."


Suzette Mayr Wins $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for ‘The Sleeping Car Porter’The 2022 Giller Prize jury called Mayr's novel "alive and immediate — and eerily contemporary."


Writers’ Trust of Canada Awards: Authors Nicholas Herring, Dan Werb Nab Top PrizesThe Writers' Trust of Canada awards amounted to a combined monetary prize value of $270,000.


Bob Dylan Releases ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song,’ a Book of Essays Dissecting 66 Influential SongsIn his new book, Bob Dylan offers up both critique and historical insight into various musical recordings of the last century by a variety of popular artists.


Prince Harry’s Memoir ‘Spare’ Will Be Published in January 2023The long-awaited memoir will tell with "raw unflinching honesty" Prince Harry's journey from "trauma to healing", his publisher said on Thursday.


Sri Lankan Author Shehan Karunatilaka Wins 2022 Booker PrizeKarunatilaka won the prestigious prize on Monday for his second novel ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’, about a dead war photographer on a mission in the afterlife.


Canadian Council for the Arts Reveals Governor General’s Literary Awards FinalistsThe finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards spotlight books in both the English and French language, as well as translated works.


New Penguin Random House Award Named After Michelle Obama Will Honour High School WritersMichelle Obama Award for Memoir will provide a $10,000 college scholarship to a graduating public school senior based on their autobiographical submission.


French Author Annie Ernaux, 82, Becomes First French Woman to Win Nobel Prize for LiteratureThe author said, of winning, that "I was very surprised ... I never thought it would be on my landscape as a writer."


Hilary Mantel, Award-Winning British Author of ‘Wolf Hall’ Trilogy, Dies at 70Wolf Hall, published in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, released three years later, both won the Booker Prize, an unprecedented win for two books in the same trilogy and making Mantel the first woman to win the award twice.


Prince William “Cannot Forgive” Prince Harry, According to ‘The New Royals’ Author Katie NichollPrince William “just cannot forgive his brother,” according to Katie Nicholl, author of 'The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.'


Five Finalists Announced for Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for NonfictionThe winner — to be announced on November 2 — will take home the annual $60,000 prize.


Peter Straub, Bestselling American Horror Writer, Dies at 79Friend and co-author Stephen King has said the author's 1979 book, "Ghost Story," is his favourite horror novel.


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Raymond Briggs, Creator of Beloved Children’s Tale ‘The Snowman’, Dies at 88First published in 1978, the pencil crayon-illustrated wordless picture book sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world while a television adaption became a Christmas favourite in Britain and was nominated for an Oscar.


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Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."


New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.


Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.


Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."


European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."


Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.


Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.


Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.


Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro


“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.


Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories


Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel


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Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.


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Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards


Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde


Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 


Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members


Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations


Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


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