The 30 Most Stunning Coffee Table Books From The Last 5 Years

Coffee table books can conjure up images of the stuffy, giant tomes you'd find at your grandparents' house. They made pretty good lap desks when you wanted to do your homework in front of the TV. Though, they weren't exactly what you wanted to flip through in your spare time.

Today, however, there are plenty of oversized titles you'd be proud to display on your coffee table. Or if you're doing the starter apartment thing, the edge of your kitchen table which is also your coffee table. There are books filled with beautiful travel photography that can inspire your next trip. And plenty of biography collections that highlight notable women your lounging guests can educate themselves about. There are even a few big names attached to recent bestsellers, from Lauren Conrad to Abbi Jacobson.

Click through to find the perfect coffee table book for your home. Even if they eventually come to rest on the beanbag-holdover from college you're using as a coffee table — we won't judge.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hatje Cantz.
Women in Trees
By Jochen Raiss

A simple concept for a charming collection of found photos.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ten Speed Press.
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
By Rachel Ignotofsky

Essential reading for young aspiring astrophysics and anyone who has fond memories of the science fair.
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Photo: Courtesy of DK.
The Religions Book
By DK Publishing

Having a handy reference text at the ready means you totally can discuss religion after a family dinner, right?
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Photo: Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company.
Underwater Dogs
By Seth Casteel

Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover — this one is filled with even more adorable pups exploring the water just like this guy.
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Photo: Courtesy of Assouline Publishing.
Young Hollywood
By Claiborne Swanson Frank

It's basically like the celeb-dominated part of your Instagram feed, but with gorgeous, artsy photographs.
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Photo: Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
What If?
By Randall Munroe

Because inquiring minds want to know, and those minds don't always have access to Wi-Fi.
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Photo: Courtesy of Taschen.
Pop Art
By Klaus Honnef

For the Andy Warhol fan who wants to expand their knowledge of the art movement beyond the soup can.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics
By Jason Porath

The decidedly grown-up version of your childhood book of fairy tales, this compendium of historical royals will also prep you for Jeopardy!
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Photo: Courtesy of Chronicle Books.
Letters of Note: Volume 2: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
Compiled By Shaun Usher

Get lost in real pieces of history as you read letters by Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Janis Joplin and more.
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Photo: Courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum.
David Bowie Is... (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago: Exhibition Catalogues
Edited By Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh

Celebrate the creativity that the late artist brought to every part of his public persona, with this retrospective of his costumes, from photos to design sketches.
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Photo: Courtesy of DK.
The Movie Book

If you're stuck on what to watch on movie night, pick up this book, flip and point—it'll save you a Netflix battle and teach you a little film history.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chronicle Books.
Paris In Color
By Nichole Robertson

The perfect book to explore the City of Light for anyone who couldn't finish the school day until they had reorganized their crayons into rainbow order.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dey Street Books.
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
By Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

This unconventional bio of the beloved supreme court justice is a must-have for anyone who loves this SNL sketch.
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Photo: Courtesy of William Morrow.
Oh Joy!: 60 Ways to Create & Give Joy
By Joy Cho

A title perfect for a DIY lover (or someone who just appreciates flipping through photos of general whimsy).
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Photo: Courtesy of Reader's Digest.
The Most Scenic Drives in America, Newly Revised and Updated: 120 Spectacular Road Trips
By Editors of Reader's Digest

Plan your next road trip as you chill on the couch—no phone or laptop required.
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Photo: Courtesy of Artisan.
In the Company of Women
By Grace Bonney

Get inspired by the businesswomen profiled in this collection who share their tips and tricks for successfully creating and running their own visions.
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Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic.
Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World's Most Amazing Places
By National Geographic

A travel bucket list that can live on your coffee table, always pushing and reminding you to book that flight.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chronicle Books.
Every Person In New York
By Jason Polan

Artist Jason Polan captures the spirit of New York City with his collection of illustrations, complete with a foreword from Kristen Wiig.
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Photo: Courtesy of Harper's Design.
Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps: Mapping the Modern World
By Martin Vargic

These are not the maps from your middle school geography book; they were created by the man behind the popular "Map of the Internet 1.0."
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Photo: Courtesy of Harry N. Abrams.
By Gray Malin

Inspire summer daydreams at any time of the year with this oversized book.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dey Street Books.
By Lauren Conrad

Live in the world of Lauren Conrad party decor, even if it's just for an afternoon.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chronicle Books.
Bad Girls Throughout History
By Ann Shen

The famous women you've always admired captured through beautiful illustrations.
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Photo: Courtesy of Lonely Planet.
The Loney Planet Book of Everything: A Visual Guide to the World
By Nigel Holmes

Flip through these travel tips as you sit on your couch, and prepare to amaze your fellow adventurers with your MacGyver level knowledge.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pantheon.
Building Stories
By Chris Ware

You'll need the whole table, and probably some of the floor to unfurl this massive, multi-part graphic novel, that can be stored in this artistic box.
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Photo: Courtesy of Viking.
Carry This Book
By Abbi Jacobson

The obviously multi-talented co-creator of Broad City gives you a peek into the bags of your favorite celebs (or at least shows you what she thinks might be within them) with a series of quirky illustrations.
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Photo: Courtesy of Black Dog & Leventhal.
The Art of Movement
By Ken Browar and Deborah Ory

The grace and fluidity of ballet dancers (and their costumes) are captured in this lovely photo portfolio.
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Photo: Courtesy of Taschen.
1000 Record Covers
By Michael Ochs

Essential reading for any Vinyl fanatic.
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Photo: Courtesy of Assouline.
American Beauty
By Genevieve Bahrenburg and Claiborne Swanson Frank

Stunning portraits that capture modern women in America.
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Photo: Courtesy of Abrams Books.
Vanity Fair 100 Years: From the Jazz Age to Our Age
By Graydon Carter

All the glamour of the famous magazine looked at through the lense of history.
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Photo: Courtesy of Abrams Books.
Kate Spade New York: All In Good Taste
By Kate Spade New York

Even the cover features that trademark ascetic.
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