There are many ways to keep your friends busy, start a conversation, and provide a sense of your individualism and style when they drop in for a visit to your pad, but the best (and easiest) way is by encouraging them to have a browse through your selection of coffee table books. Whether you’re a nomad looking for adventure, a motorcycle militant, or an architectural intellect, what you read and place on your coffee table says a lot about the type of man you are and what you care about.
If you can teach a friend something about you and the wider world each time they come over to your place simply by having an eclectic selection of reading materials, you’ll stand out amongst your peers. Don’t have any coffee table books on your current coffee table? What are you doing with your life? Let us help fix that lack of literature with our picks for the best coffee table books for men.
Hit the Road: Vans, Nomads, and Roadside Adventures
Hit the Road details the lives of men who yearn for an on-the-go life outside the big city, following them into the natural landscape. From Volkswagen campers and refurbished Airstream trailers to stunning photographs and nifty tricks and tips to survive on the road, this has everything the overland adventurer needs for on-the-road inspiration.
The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside
Celebrate America’s remaining unique rest stops and celebrate the nation’s golden-age of car travel when the journey was just as important as the destination itself. Travel back in time through photographs of these retro landmarks that millions of travelers have used for solace and serenity through the decades and marvel that many of them are still standing and can still be seen today.
100 Years, 100 Buildings
Indulge in a century-long journey through the best existing structures built around the world between 1915 and 2015. Experience not only how these buildings vary in design and development, but architecture enthusiasts will also learn the importance behind these architectural masterpieces, beam by beam.
75 Years of Marvel Comics
Follow Marvel down the rabbit hole of the comic book golden age and its progression to worldwide popularity by bringing resiliency and stark heroism into reality. Sift through over 700 pages and nearly 2,000 comic images of your favorite characters that still manage to deliver a fascinating fantasy escape today. 75 Years of Marvel Comics XL: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen also gives you an inside look at the masterminds that bring Marvel Comics to life.
Like our list of coffee table books for men, tattoos give insight into a man’s passions and preoccupations. 1000 Tattoos details and delivers a look into one of the world’s most popular art forms through a photographic history of trials and techniques, from 19th-century engravings and tribal body pieces to classic biker designs and more.
Be inspired by some of the most inviting handcrafted homes of America’s backcountry and others from around the world. The photographers of Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere created this collection of unique structures and warm interiors so you can take a moment to reflect on the beauty of the simple things in life.
Off the Road
Join another four-wheel, off-the-grid journey by delving into Off the Road’s details of adventures on roads less traveled. The book captures the special mood of such explorations through the eyes of travelers and adventurers cooking breakfast out of the back of their homey vans along with families who aim to teach their children the ways of the wilderness.
If you seek new and peculiar wonders in the world, Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to The World’s Hidden Wonders is the book for you. Packed with rich illustrations of over 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world, you can dive into the dazzling glowworm caves of New Zealand, go inside architectural wonders, and visit unique locales like a giant baobab tree in South Africa, so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can gather round and have drinks. Drinking in a tree? Sign us up.
Atlas of Remote Islands
For you nautical adventurers who dream of exploring the deep blue sea for uncharted territory, Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will profiles 50 islands that are far away from any mainland. The book provides information on each island’s history, its inhabitants, its distance from the mainland, and plenty of mystery for you and your guests to explore.
The Art of American Whiskey
Nothing speaks to an American man like a visual history of the art of bourbon and, more broadly, American whiskey. Told through hundreds of whiskey bottle labels, from pre-Prohibition-era days to the present, learn the stories of the pioneers and places behind the labels. Bonus: Each chapter features an era-appropriate recipe from mixologists that will tickle any tippler’s tongue. It’s not a crime to drink whiskey, but it used to be, so take advantage of your privilege.
100 Years of Menswear
Everyone likes a man with style. One Hundred Years of Menswear lays bare a collection of images concerning the revolution in menswear over the last century. From rare photographs detailing the immaculate tailoring of Savile Ro to the impacts of high-end designers like Ralph Lauren and Pierre Cardin, to the explosion of street style in the punk and club scenes, this book covers the evolution of menswear from practical and elegant to exuberant and eclectic and everything in between. Not only will you learn what looks good, but you’ll also learn why.
Hemingway: A Life in Pictures
Every great man should be a fan of famed writer Ernest Hemingway. Better yet, a list of coffee table books for men wouldn’t be complete without something about Hemingway. This collection of 350 photos compiled by grandson Mariel will quickly change that. It captures Mr. Hemingway in his youth with a glimpse of the future man he would become, all while revealing intimate details about the writer’s character, dreams, and disappointments. While you’re at it, why not check out the 10 best books by Hemingway, ranked for your reading pleasure.
Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae
This is a must have not just for fans of Bob Marley, but for any serious fan of Reggae culture. Photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker’s incredible access to the Reggae scene in the 1970s makes for a comprehensive history of the artists who took the genre to an international spotlight and the conditions that made the music so real and so relatable. Artists featured include none other than Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Toots Hibbert, and more.
One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair
Like the clothes you wear and the food you eat, if you wear a beard you should know where that beard came from. Of course, it grows out your own face, but it has been influenced by many styles throughout the years. Follow the continuous rise and fall of beards as a trend and pick from style guides, grooming advice, and sort through hundreds of photos of fantastically bearded faces for inspiration.
Launched in October 2018, Modern Huntsman Volume Two celebrates the freedom and privilege that we as Americans have to explore, hunt, fish and recreate on public lands, as well as highlight the contributions from private landowners to conserve and help maintain the parks, trails, and forests we all deeply appreciate. It’s all about celebrating your love for the outdoors while recognizing the importance of protecting it.
Article originally published October 9, 2018.