Sunday, December 21, 2014

Coffee Table Books

I like to have books in the house that aren't strictly for reading, books that are for browsing. Books that give you pockets of beauty no matter how short the time you can spend with them.

Do you have those?

These are the latest titles gracing our coffee table and delighting our eyes - if you are stuck for a last minute gift they could be a good grab from your local bookstore too.

Flora - an artistic journey thought the world of plants by Sandra Knapp

This book is full to bursting of stunning records of beautifully drawn flowers and plants.

This book though is more than just its illustrations it tells the stories of plants that have adapted to their environments, botanists who have braved all the dangers that the world can offer for their love of remote plants - plants that now grace the gardens of any who want them.

The book profiles over 20 plant families in all their various glories.

I'm not a gardener - I once drowned or starved an aloe vera plant - however I do love flowers. I love that flowers are mostly just a visual gift to the world. Flowers remind me that colour and variety and beauty for just the sake of it is valid and valuable.

This book would be perfect for anyone who takes delight in gardens, in flowers and in the history of plants. It's also just lovely for looking at.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Nov 2014 RRP $49.99

Birds, the art of ornithology by Jonathan Elphick
This is a gorgeous historical account of the development of ornithological artworks. Two of the things that I love about this book are that in the introduction the person writing the forward realises their development all things ornithological was greatly enhanced via a connection with the same family - what a gift that family gave to two people who are now recognised as leaders in field.

Also I love that the book acknowledges that it is the art of ornithology that did what science did not have the resource to do at the time- preserve the details of birds now extinct. Yay for art leading the way!

The illustrations in the book are so interesting and I love that there is such a reflection of how the art developed and a recognition of the things that mattered in specific eras.

For any bird lover, art lover or those interested in the history of art this book will make a gorgeous accompaniment to their collection and it's a book that will happily fascinate and transport the reader in a way any great 'coffee table' book can.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Oct 2014 RRP $49.99

South with Endurance: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917 by Frank Hurley

As a family with some serious Antarctic love going on I was really pleased to get this book to review. I must confess to not knowing much of Shackleton's journey other than his name, before receiving the book. For those like me it is a story of courage, of leadership that risks itself to save the lives of those in their care, and of success.

This book is first and foremost about the photos that tell the story of this expedition. It is also about Frank Hurley the photographer and of course about the expedition itself.

Frank Hurley was the groups official photographer and he has captured so many stunning images of the whole expedition. I marvel at the workmanship in the photos when you look at the size of the equipment and the lack of special editing available nowadays.

This book also tells a story of time and culture in a way that will fascinate adventurers and history lovers alike. This book is filled with stunning photography that is a visual treat.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Dec 2014 RRP $29.99

Thanks again to Allen and Unwin for these gorgeous titles that will be enjoyed immensely  in our house.

love you more than a half hour lost in lovely images xxx