Let’s Talk Coffee Table Books

Speaking of coffee table books, here are 10 eye-catching ones we like and would like to recommend to you.

A coffee table book is a book whose purpose is for display on a table intended for use in an area in which one entertains guests and from which it can serve to inspire conversation. The subject matter of such books is predominantly non-fiction and pictorial. In Britain, the term “coffee table book” has been used (in the current sense) at least since the 19th century. The pop star Madonna’s book Sex is widely considered to be the best-selling coffee table book in history, although it is out of print. Speaking of coffee table books, here are 10 eye-catching ones we like and would like to recommend to you.

1. In The Fold: Heritage Structures of India by Shivaram Ananthanarayanan

Category: Crafts

In The Fold is about Origami Architecture. Origamic Architecture uses cuts and folds to reproduce three-dimensional forms of architecture and geometric patterns in paper. The first in the series of “In The Fold’, Heritage Structures Of India, explores the intricate beauty of the structures and their three-dimensional form in paper.

To order the book, send a mail to [email protected] or [email protected] The book costs Rs. 4500.

Shivaram Ananthanarayanan, 27, is an Origami artist and paper engineer based in Goa, India. He began his trip into the world of origami when he was only 5 years old. His was only 9 years old when he had his first solo exhibition. It featured 300 complex pieces of origami architecture. At 11, he was awarded the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement in the field of Origami, instituted by the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India. Shivaram published his first book of original origami designs titled – “FOLD IN FOLD OUT – Origami Originals” at the age of 16.

2. The Gandhiji Font Book

Category: Art

This hardcover book is more than just a book. The creators of the Gandhiji Font decided to make it interactive and fun for the readers. The book contains flip art, rotational devices, pages-within-pages, and much more. It also comes with a CD which contains downloadable versions of the font in the English and Devanagari scripts. The Gandhiji Font was created by Leo Burnett Mumbai. The typographers used Gandhi’s iconic glasses as the basis of a new Devanagari font, before moving on to English and nine other Indian scripts.

3. Handmade in India – A Geographic Encyclopedia of Indian Handicrafts by Aditi Rajan and M.P.Ranjan

Category: Crafts

Buy here.

The range of Indian handicrafts is as rich and varied as the country’s cultural diversity. A tour of India’s craft repertoire, Handmade in India is a guide to the arts that reflects the diversity of the country, its culture and the ways it nurtures creativity and ingenuity. This encyclopaedic reference captures the traditions that enrich the day-to-day lives of Indian people, as well as provide a livelihood for generations of craftspeople. The first of its kind ever attempted, this beautifully illustrated guide is a tremendous resource for product and textile designers, artists, architects, interior designers, collectors, development professionals, and connoisseurs alike.

4. India Fantastique by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla

Category: Fashion

Buy here.

For the past twenty-five years, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla have made their mark in the fashion industry by bringing the best of traditional Indian crafts to the world of high fashion. This celebratory publication in two volumes showcases their exuberant talents. The first book displays dozens of the duo’s classically elegant, feminine designs, including specially photographed close-ups of exquisitely crafted details. The second volume covers their opulent, privately commissioned interiors, which incorporate art, artefacts, antiques, and vintage textiles.

5. Dining With The Maharajas: A Thousand Years of Culinary Tradition by Neha Prasada

Category: Food

Buy here.

The chefs of the Patiala royal household have more than 140 recipes for pulao in their repertoire. The Rampur royal family used to serve a minimum of 200 dishes at banquets given for visiting heads of state. The royal kitchen of Mahmudabad has in its collection a recipe for a dessert called Sahnak, which is originally attributed to Empress Nur Jehan. The Sailana royal family had skilled chefs who made puris, which when broken had a bird flying out of each of them. Dining with the Maharajas showcases the extraordinarily rich culinary recipes and traditions of the royal families of Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Jodhpur, Mahmudabad, Mysore, Patiala, Rampur, Sailana, Tripura, Udaipur and in the process presents the variety and distinctness of royal cuisines. Some of these are secret recipes that have never been published before.

6. Jewels Of The Nizams by Usha R Bala Krishnan

Category: Jewellery

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One of the most outstanding collections of gemstones and jewellery was acquired by the Indian government in 1995. Sometimes worn, but never shown, these jewels once belonged to the Nizams of Hyderabad, reputed to be one of the richest men in the world. Though only a fraction of the legendary wealth of the Asaf Jah dynasty, the collection is still breathtaking; there are over 25,000 diamonds weighing in excess of 12,000 carats, more than 2,000 emeralds weighing over 10,000 carats, and pearls exceeding 40,000 chows. Jewels of the Nizams documents this unique collection and gives credence to legends, apocryphal tales, and fading memories of a fabulously wealthy dynasty that ruled the Deccan for seven generations.

7. Posing For Posterity: Royal Indian Portraits by Pramod Kumar KG

Category: Art

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The arrival of photography in India in 1840 began a rivalry between its practitioners and the painters of traditional miniatures and portraits. The novelty of this astonishing new medium soon attracted many court painters and patrons who themselves turned photographers, including the Maharajas of Jaipur, Tripura and Chamba. These early photographs captured Indian rulers and their families in a variety of poses, which nevertheless reflected the formality and strictures of court life. Pramod Kumar KG here presents a wide range of photographs – based on previously unpublished archives – that delves into early Indian photography, and more particularly portraiture throughout the subcontinent. With a foreword by H.R.H. Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, “Posing for Posterity” is a valuable resource for connoisseurs of early photography and history buffs.

8. Bollywood In Posters by SMM Ausaja

Category: Art

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This is a rare compilation of hand printed as well as digitalised landmark Hindi film posters from the 1930s to the present. It traces the journey of an art form and the evolution of cinema in India. The text accompanying each poster carries a synopsis, banner, details of cast and technical crew, date of release, famous songs, awards won and some lesser known anecdotes about the film. The posters are from young Hindi film buff, SMM Ausaja’s personal collection of Hindi film memorabilia.

9. Hotels and Resorts in India

Category: Decor

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A splendid celebration of the Indian hospitality, Hotels and Resorts in India features 20 hotels and resorts across the landscape. The book focuses only on Indian hotel chains, exhibiting divine luxury. From the palaces, star hotels and counties, this book covers all major Indian hotel chains. This selection of India’s very best lodgings profiles the ultimate in accommodations across the country.

10. Mario de Miranda

Category: Art

Buy here.

This journey in hardcover takes you to the very best from the oeuvre the legendary artist and cartoonist. It is organized chronologically and begins with Miranda’s childhood diaries and covers his early days in Mumbai with the Illustrated Weekly. It also introduces you to all his books, including Sketchbook, A little world of humour, Laugh it off, and Goa with Love. His sketching trips to America, Germany, France, Portugal, and other parts of the world are also visited. Finally, there is a biography by Manohar Malgaonkar and essays by close friends and fans, Ranjit Hoskote, Vinod Mehta and Nissem Ezekiel. Put simply, this is the definitive book on Mario de Miranda and his work.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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