Any good host knows it’s important to have at least one coffee table book on the premises. They provide decoration, spare reading material, and, most importantly, a chance to show-off one’s overwhelmingly artsy sophistication. But a great host? A great host takes it to the next level, trading in the conventional National Geographic anthologies and art exposés for the more obscure, original, and exciting stuff. Here are the 7 best coffee table books specifically engineered to make a host look hipper than home-grown espresso beans roasted over a fire made of poetry journals and one-act plays. Coffee table not included:
1. The Hand-Written Letter Project
By Craig Oldham and 100 or so Others
An impressive collection of designers and creative minds showcase their talents in handwritten letters that advocate for the importance of pen, paper, and good ol’ snail mail. One flip through this book and you’re almost guaranteed to receive a note of thanks in the mailbox from your Airbnb guests. Handwritten, of course.
2. New Treehouses of the World
By Peter Nelson
Expositions of the most amazing treehouses around the world. These Airbnb-worthy structures look like the residencies of a chic Tarzan. Your guests will think that you’re well-traveled, with excitingly exotic tastes.
3. Milk Eggs Vodka: Grocery Lists Lost and Found
By Bill Keaggy
A story told through real life grocery lists. That simple. Half hilarious, half poetic, it lights the mind like no other coffee table compendium can. Your guests will find it—and by association, you—wickedly clever.
4. No.1: First Works of 362 Artists
By Vito Acconci & Matthew Barney
What artist doesn’t cringe when looking back at his or her early work? This compilation takes all those young creations and puts them in one place. This book escapes the routine of art books by featuring pieces your guests will have likely never seen before. It will show them that you appreciate the subtle and the original.
5. You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination
By Katharine Harmon
Let your guests sate their wanderlust in this colorful book of maps, illustrations of places both real and not-so-real. Beats your boring old Atlas any day. Plus, it’s a great way to start a good travel conversation over dinner. The Airbnb guest’s topic of choice.
6. Often Overlooked Vol.1
By Cary Polkovitz
Short, witty stories attempt to give life to the mundane object in the adjacent photo. This book will help your guests find beauty in the little things (like fresh towels) during their stay.
7. Boring Postcards USA
By Martin Parr
A collection of the most hilariously boring, banal postcards the US has to offer. Inspire your traveling guest to write home boring postcards of their own!