Thursday, December 18, 2014

Coffee Table Gems

To continue with the gift ideas for your loved ones this holiday season, I have two beautiful coffee table books that I reviewed for Shelf Awareness this year. One is perfect for your nature-lover or photography lover, the other for your pop culture junkie. Take a look.

Crown of the Continent: The Wildest Rockies
by Steven Gnam

In this stunning homage to the expanse of Rocky Mountains between Missoula, Montana and Banff, Alberta, photographer Steven Gnam captures the Crown of the Continent in all of its colors, seasons and life while locals offer essays on the importance of this exceptional geographic stretch and the need to increase wildlife corridors.

Gnam preserves the vast plant and animal life in breath-taking colors and textures. All the images--taken at ground level, and in some cases below water--emphasize the miraculous expanse of this region, especially in relation to man.

The essays weaved into the collection are as mesmerizing as the images. Crown of the Continent was conceived as a way to educate people to the vital importance of connecting protected islands of wilderness. Each essay, with a passion mirroring the photographs, contributes to the enlightenment through anecdotes, data and insight.

Contributor Michael Jamison says, "There is no separating the human from the wild. Our species has not seceded from nature." Readers will feel this connection acutely in Crown of the Continent.

Crown of the Continent (ISBN: 9781594857720) is available from Mountaineers Books.

Retronaut: The Photographic Time Machine
by Chris Wild

With the chance discovery of an old book of photographs, Chris Wild realized the mental image he had of history was inaccurate. He set out to find other photographs that would transform his "low resolution version" into "a new colorful past of high resolution, high contrast, low noise--and lots and lots of detail."

Wild took the acquisitions of his quest to the Internet and created a blog he called "Retronaut" to mean "someone who travels back." Retronaut: The Photographic Time Machine brings a slice of the virtual collection into a captivating print compilation of photos, posters, advertisements and other curiosities that enhance the detail of bygone times.

The organization of the images combined with riveting quotes and thorough captions will mesmerize readers as they view snapshots of the world through Wild's retronaut goggles.

Sure to be a great conversation starter, Retronaut is a perfect coffee table book. Teachers may find it a fresh springboard for projects. And fans of the unusual will rejoice.

Retronaut (ISBN: 9781426213830) is available from National Geographic.


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