Books can be like a best friend. We love memoirs that make us think. We reach for short story collections when we need a quick read. And don’t forget about the poetry collections that make us feel all the feels. But sometimes, we’re in the mood for a quicker, more visual read.
Specifically, the kind of books that look cool AF on our coffee table.
This list of unique titles will have you making a beeline for the bookstore. Some are humorous self-help books, some are photography books, and some are children’s books. (One of them even glows in the dark!) But they all offer a quick dive into a new universe while brightening up your coffee table.
1. In a Daze Work by Siobhán Gallagher
Remember choose-your-own-adventure books? Siobhán Gallagher just brought them back in a big way. In a Daze Work: A Pick-Your-Path Journey Through the Daily Grind unleashes you into an illustrated world of very relatable choices. Is it too early in the morning to creep your ex? Should you go to happy hour, or skip socializing? It’s up to you.
2. What Are We Even Doing With Our Lives? by Mary Dauterman and Chelsea Marshall
What Are We Even Doing With Our Lives? might look like a children’s book. But once you pick it up, you’ll realize it’s anything but. Mary Dauterman and Chelsea Marshall created a Richard Scarry-like world of busy working animals just trying to make it through the day like the rest of us. You’ll spend hours poring over their painfully funny illustrations and descriptions. There’s always something new to see in the self-described “most honest ‘children’s’ book of all time.”
3. Girls Who Code by Reshma Saujani
Reshma Saujani just took Girls Who Code to the next level. Her non-profit organization that works to close the gender gap in tech is a worldwide phenomenon. And now, Saujani is continuing to inspire with her new book Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World. You’ll learn important coding terms and how to get started — all while being reminded you can do anything you set your mind to. It’s the perfect gift for young girls, but it’s also a great resource for ambitious adults.
4. The Big Redhead Book by Erin La Rosa
You’ve heard ginger jokes a million times before. But did you know that redheads are actually physically and genetically different from non-redheads? The Big Redhead Book: Inside the Secret Society of Red Hair tells the fascinating history, science, and culture of red hair. La Rosa’s genuinely interesting ginger facts, coupled with her quick wit, will have you laughing out loud with redheads, not at them. It might even make you want to dye your hair.
5. The Nocturnal Journal by Lee Crutchley
You know that feeling when you’re wide awake at 3 am, brain working on overdrive, and you can’t for the life of you fall back asleep? Now, you can do something with that restless energy. Reach for The Nocturnal Journal: A Late-Night Exploration of What’s Really on Your Mind. It’s filled with creative prompts and exercises to help you figure out what’s really on your mind. Oh, and did we mention that the book glows in the dark?
6. Six Words Fresh Off the Boat by Larry Smith
Right now, it’s more important than ever for immigrants to share their stories. We highly recommend you pick up Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America. It details the experiences of hundreds of immigrants in quick six-word memoirs. Contributors range from everyday people to famous celebs like Aziz Ansari, Mila Kunis, and George Takei. We can’t stress the importance of letting immigrants tell their own stories enough, and Six Words Fresh Off the Boat does just that.
7. The Story of Barbie and the Woman Who Created Her by Cindy Eagan
Barbie is the most famous doll in the world. She’s been a firefighter, a doctor, a ballerina — you name it. But where did she come from? The Story of Barbie and the Woman Who Created Her introduces readers to Ruth Handler, her visionary creator. Through fun illustrations, we see Handler dream up big adventures for Barbie to have and dreams for little girls to achieve. Did you know that Astronaut Barbie went to space a full four years before the first real astronauts walked on the moon?
8. The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Life by Jennifer Byrne, out September 18
It’s scary how much this book understands us. The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Life: 100+ Ways to Hack Your Look, Love, and Work by Doing (Almost) Nothing! is a self-help book that hilariously helps you tackle incredibly real problems. For example, what to do when you need clean hair, but taking a shower is so much work. Or how to behave when you have book club, but didn’t read the book. The best part? It caters to the “lazy girl,” offering solutions that involve little to no heavy lifting. Finally, a self-help book that just gets it.
9. The Line by Keri Smith, out October 3
Fans of Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal books will love her new book The Line. The idea is simple: Pick up a pencil and start drawing a line. With Smith’s instruction, you’ll find ways to break convention, trust your instincts, and keep going even when you don’t quite know where you’re headed.
10. Things Are What You Make of Them by Adam J. Kurtz, out October 3
Newsflash: Creativity doesn’t have to be torture. Adam J. Kurtz’s new book is brimming with the advice, inspiration, and tough love we all need to get through the daily grind. Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives delivers the big pep talks you need in a pocket-sized manual. Sections like “How to get over comparing yourself to other creatives” and “What to do when you fail” offer humorous but oh-so helpful advice. Even if you don’t work in a creative field, you’ll still want to tear out every page and post them all over your walls to keep you inspired.
11. Crystal Bliss by Devi Brow, out October 3
Confession time. We love the idea of having crystals, but we don’t exactly know where to start. Thankfully, Crystal Bliss: Attract Love. Feed Your Spirit. Manifest Your Dreams. has our back. It’ll teach you how to select, prepare, and use crystals for meditation and energy healing. Bad vibes, be gone! You’ll be a “crystal person” in no time.
12. David Sedaris Diaries: A Visual Compendium by David Sedaris and Jeffrey Jenkins, out October 10
Diehard David Sedaris fans, prepare to completely freak out. Back in May he published Theft by Finding, a volume of his diary entries from 1977-2002. And now, he’s taking his diaries one step further with a visual retelling of his entries. David Sedaris Diaries: A Visual Compendium is elaborate, interactive, and enthralling. It offers us even more insight into his bizarre brain through never-before-seen photos, artwork, and postcards. Honestly, you had us at “David Sedaris.”
13. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, out October 10
The adult coloring book craze is here to stay. It’s a calming way to expend both stress and creativity. That’s why we recommend Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Magical Tale to Color. Born out of a bedtime story that illustrator Johanna Basford told her daughter every night, it’s a charming tale of a little girl following a magical butterfly and meeting whimsical friends. Grab your colored pencils, because there are so many intricate details waiting to be filled in.
14. The Worm and the Bird by Coralie Bickford-Smith, out October 10
Sometimes we just need to pick up a children’s book to remember important life lessons. Through brilliant vivid illustrations, The Worm and the Bird reminds us to appreciate what we have and enjoy where we are. It’s a visual delight for readers of all ages.
15. Eggsistential Thoughts by Gudetama the Lazy Egg by Francesco Sedito and Max Bisantz, out October 17
Are you familiar with Gudetama the Lazy Egg? He’s a Sanrio character, but he’s nothing like the company’s cheerful Hello Kitty. His interests include soy sauce and being alone. In fact, he’s happiest when curled up underneath his bacon blanket. (We can relate.) Eggsistential Thoughts is a collection of Gudetama’s wisdom and thoughts on life, and your coffee table needs it.
16. Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic by British Library, out October 20
When J.K. Rowling announces a book celebrating Harry Potter, we buy it, no questions asked. This upcoming title is the official companion to the new HP exhibition at the British Library. It features never-before-seen manuscript pages, sketches, and illustrations. You’ll learn the origin of the Sorcerer’s Stone and what makes mandrakes scream. If you can’t see the exhibition in person, at least you can relive the magic again and again in print!
17. The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair, out October 24
What color is thought to be named after a queen’s unwashed linens? What color is rumored to have killed Napoleon? Forget everything you thought you knew about ROYGBIV and pick up The Secret Lives of Color. It tells the unique stories behind 75 different hues and explains how they’re part of human history.
18. Literally Me by Julie Houts, out October 24
If you follow Julie Houts on Instagram, you’re already familiar with her clever illustrations and cutting commentary. She expertly and artistically speaks her mind on current events, pop culture, and everything in between. And now her hilariously relatable takes on life are going to print. Literally Me is a collection of illustrated essays that darkly but brilliantly satirize the female experience in 2017.
19. Sneakers by Rodrigo Corral, Alex French, and Howie Kahn, out October 24
Our society is obsessed with sneakers. But when, how, and why did that happen? Answers to those questions and more unfold in Sneakers. It’s a beautiful book of original art, photos, and interviews with some of the biggest names in the shoe game. Yes, Sneakers is about coveting and collecting fresh kicks. But it’s also about creativity, art, design, business, and making things happen.