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September 23, 2021 MINNA Library

Coffee Table Books to Display and Enjoy

Assistant Retail Manager, Cate, breaks down three selections that have become coffee table favorites.

As an avid reader, I’ve always been a bit put-off by the “coffee table book” phenomenon. In my mind, books have always been something to enjoy, not display. But what about books that could be both? Something equally beautiful and thought provoking. A book that every guest who visits your home will want to flip through.

An Atlas of Rare and Familiar Color

The Harvard Art Museum’s Forbes Pigment Collection contains over 2,500 of the world’s rarest pigments. This book compiles all aspects of the collection alongside historical narratives of color. The only encyclopedia you’ll actually want to display, it provides an extensive amount of history and information on every conceivable color.

Queer Zines vol. 1 + 2

An extensive collection of zines by queer artists and authors alongside bibliographies and other writings. It’s practically a textbook, chronicling the history and importance of zines in the queer community, remembering long forgotten works from the early 70s, as well as covering emerging works from a new generation of queer zinesters. Both volumes contain over 120 zines, essays, and other works.

In the Company of Black

A collection of photographs by multi-disciplinary artist Cecil Mcdonald, In the Company of Black, is self-described as “extraordinarily ordinary.” The images are of real, everyday people, artists, business administrators, teachers, and students, and place an emphasis on the day to day lives of Black Americans. The photos are complemented by an essay by Tempestt Hazel and poems by avery r. young to further showcase untold stories of the average Black American life.

The only hardcover I’ve included in this selection of books, this piece’s cover is screen printed, and handbound which further speaks to the beauty and intention it represents.


These 3 works highlight what I look for in a “coffee table book.” Something that’s thought-provoking, with real depth, on a topic of importance.