The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 38; What Coffee Tables are For

The idea of a coffee table book is not a new one, people have been pilling these tombs onto their small legged tables for years. Changing them depending on the audience, the art books, the classic cars, that over-priced huge book of  French film from 1970 and that interior design of Manor houses. None of which the owners have ever read.

I have never been one for the coffee table book, even when I actually owned a coffee table which I currently do not.  They were big bulky and surely just those pointless art books no one ever reads. But recently I have found this fascination of the larger collection book that a coffee table book is. Of course my tastes differ from what I remember seeing on tables at friends' parents houses or bosses over the years. You won't be finding a book on Picasso donning my living room shelf, you will find wine, cocktails, food and fashion, a delectable dive into my joys.
I am sure others may come up as time goes on, there is one book I have my eye on currently but needs to fit in with my style of literature but also once I have read the ones I have. I plan on knowing these books so when conversation does come up, I am ready, able and wanting to delve into the subjects at hand. Rather than the awkward "oh you want to talk Chopin" coming from my host which sadly was a conversation I ungentlemanly started as I noticed a large book on the Polish composer and knew it was there for show and nothing more. I was correct thankfully as I knew very little but in case my idea was wrong was prepared to learn.

There is something of finally becoming grown up when you own such books, even though they show interests in the same way my Batman annuals did as a child.  So maybe they are just a new version of the annual.  After quite a bit of research (constantly seeing on Instagram) I added a couple onto my Christmas list.  And I am now working my way through these beautifully curated books.

However, they are acquired at first, as a way of learning more on the subjects I love and going forward teaching these sparks of knowledge to others. I feel a book if large and hardback needs to always serve a purpose, not just look good, but do not forget, it must also look good, it is out on show you know.