With Mother’s Day coming up on May 14th it’s time to show your appreciation to the woman who gave birth to you, suffering pain equal to that of passing a pot roast through a nostril. These ten great coffee table books for Mom are guaranteed to be inspiring, coveted and as they were meant to be, enjoyed. Beautiful, well-reviewed hardcover books about women, by women or celebrating women.
Ten Great Coffee Table Books For Mom
The Female Lead: Women Who Shape Our World Hardcover, by Edwina Dunn (Author), Brigitte Lacombe (Photographer)
This beautiful book profiles women from all walks of life: from politicians to artists, journalists to teachers, and engineers to campaigners. But this is not a book about celebrities, though many of the subjects are well-known. These are women who have led their field, who have broken the mold to achieve, or who have inspired changes through relentless endeavor. Telling their stories through in-depth interviews, and illustrated with arresting photography by world-class photographer Brigitte Lacombe, this book will help and inspire women everywhere to realize their hopes and ambitions. Subjects include journalist Tina Brown; Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep; actress, writer, and director Lena Dunham; Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee; the first female fire fighter in the FDNY, Brenda Berkman; MP Mhairi Black; sailor Tracy Edwards; entrepreneur Jo Malone; and human rights activist Yeonmi Park.
$34.85, buy it here
Modern Women: 52 Pioneers (Hardcover) by Kira Cochrane (Author)
Modern Women is a celebration of some of the influential and inspiring women who have changed the world through their lives, work and actions. From suffragettes to scientists, activists to artists, politicians to pilots and writers to riot grrrls, the women included have all paved the way for gender equality in their own indomitable way.
Find out about extraordinary women including writer and teacher Maya Angelou, computer scientist Ada Lovelace, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, film star Katharine Hepburn and pioneering musician Björk. Their lives also enable bigger stories to be told: the suffrage movement with Sophia Duleep Singh; the civil rights struggle and Audre Lorde; advances in science made by Rosalind Franklin; the push for artistic freedom in the work of Frida Kahlo and Louise Bourgeois; and the importance of equality in all sections of society advocated by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
$23.99 buy it here
Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order) Hardcover by Bridget Quinn (Author), Lisa Congdon (Illustrator)
Historically, major women artists have been excluded from the mainstream art canon. Aligned with the resurgence of feminism in pop culture, Broad Strokes offers an entertaining corrective to that omission. Art historian Bridget Quinn delves into the lives and careers of 15 brilliant female artists in text that’s smart, feisty, educational, and an enjoyable read. Replete with beautiful reproductions of the artists’ works and contemporary portraits of each artist by renowned illustrator Lisa Congdon, this is art history from 1600 to the present day for the modern art lover, reader, and feminist.
$19.46, buy it here
Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood’s Greatest Costume Designer Hardcover, by Jay Jorgensen (Author)
All About Eve. Funny Face. Sunset Blvd. Rear Window. Sabrina. A Place in the Sun. The Ten Commandments. Scores of iconic films of the last century had one thing in common: costume designer Edith Head (1897–1981). She racked up an unprecedented 35 Oscar nods and 400 film credits over the course of a fifty-year career.
Never before has the account of Hollywood’s most influential designer been so thoroughly revealed—because never before have the Edith Head Archives of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences been tapped. This unprecedented access allows this book to be a one-of-a-kind survey, bringing together a spectacular collection of rare and never-before-seen sketches, costume test shots, behind-the- scenes photos, and ephemera.
$44.35, buy it here
Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze Hardcover, by Charlotte Jansen (Author)
A new generation of female artists is emerging who have grown up in a culture saturated with social media and selfies.
This book looks at how young women are using photography and the internet to explore issues of self-image and female identity, and the impact this is having on contemporary art.
Forty artists are featured, all of whose principal subject matter is either themselves or other women. Each is accompanied by a short profile based on personal interviews with the author, giving a fascinating insight into this exciting shift in female creativity.
$20.39, buy it here
In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs Hardcover, by Grace Bonney
Over 100 exceptional and influential women describe how they embraced their creative spirit, overcame adversity, and sparked a global movement of entrepreneurship. Media titans and ceramicists, hoteliers and tattoo artists, comedians and architects—taken together, these profiles paint a beautiful picture of what happens when we pursue our passions and dreams.
$19.03, buy it here
Flowers, Art and Bouquets (Classics) Hardcover, by Sixtine Dubly (Author)
Be it a single delicate bud or an explosion of colorful blossoms, the beauty of flowers has inspired artists, designers, and other creators for centuries. The Big Book of Flowers showcases a glorious profusion of floral images across a vast spectrum of artistic media and time periods. Design writer Sixtine Dubly chronicles the evolution of floral design in this remarkable compendium, which also features stunning work by more than forty contemporary floral artists in London, Paris, and New York, from minimalist to elaborate. This resplendent collection of gorgeous imagery blooms before the reader’s eyes.
$57.80, buy it here
Zaha Hadid Architects: Redefining Architecture and Design, Hardcover
Zaha Hadid was a creative genius without equal. She captured the imagination of the world design professionals and the general public alike by challenging perceived limits in architecture, engineering, construction, and related fields. Her sudden death in 2016 shocked the design community. This extensive monograph shares with a wide audience her exceptional body of built and unbuilt work.
With signature sophistication and superb creativity, Zaha Hadid led her firm to create transformative cultural, corporate, and residential spaces. Her firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, maintains the founder’s commitment to ideals of fluidity, innovation, originality, and organic progression. The practice is driven by the development of complex interfaces between natural topographies, human-made systems, and innovative technologies. Inspired by the principles of Hadid, this exquisite book showcases and celebrates the design approach of one of the world s most extraordinary and iconic leaders in architecture, design, and urbanism.
The first book published on Zaha Hadid Architects since Hadid’s death in 2016. Beautifully packaged with rich photography and detailed drawings, it shows her works across the fields of architecture, urbanism and design.
Explicates the collaborative thinking and cultural philosophies characteristic of Zaha Hadid Architects and also how this approach resulted in award-winning, sophisticated, compelling design.
Numerous building types featured (museums, auditoriums, housing towers, commercial developments) including: MAXXI: Italian National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome, the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games, and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku.
$46.39, buy it here
Chanel: The Vocabulary of Style Slip Cover Edition, by Jérôme Gautier (Author)
Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971) was undoubtedly the most influential fashion designer of the 20th century. Her clothes and accessories have remained perennially chic, and her legendary fashion house continues to exert a powerful sway over today’s designers. Jérôme Gautier tells the story of Chanel’s iconic style through hundreds of images, many taken by the leading lights of fashion photography, including Richard Avedon, Gilles Bensimon, Patrick Demarchelier, Horst P. Horst, Annie Leibovitz, Man Ray, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, and Ellen von Unwerth. This innovative volume pairs classic and contemporary photographs, placing fashion plates from Chanel’s time alongside those by the house’s designer-in-chief, Karl Lagerfeld. For instance, Cecil Beaton’s portrait of Chanel appears alongside Lagerfeld’s image of Cate Blanchett emulating her, and a classic plate by Henry Clarke flanks an arresting shot by Juergen Teller.
Through these dazzling photographs, Chanel: The Vocabulary of Style identifies key elements that have defined Chanel’s style for generations, such as jersey and tweed, formerly considered menswear fabrics, and the little black dress, which transformed a hue previously reserved for mourning into a statement of elegance. Pearls were her staple, and she often embellished outfits with her signature camellia. Eleven chapters compare the original forms of these enduring trademarks with their later expressions over the years and to the present day, letting the vocabulary of Chanel’s style speak for itself.
$61.81, buy it here
Women Hardcover, by Susan Sontag (Author), Annie Leibovitz (Photographer)
The photographs by Annie Leibovitz in Women, taken especially for the book, encompass a broad spectrum of subjects: a rap artist, an astronaut, two Supreme Court justices, farmers, coal miners, movie stars, showgirls, rodeo riders, socialites, reporters, dancers, a maid, a general, a surgeon, the First Lady of the United States, the secretary of state, a senator, rock stars, prostitutes, teachers, singers, athletes, poets, writers, painters, musicians, theater directors, political activists, performance artists, and businesswomen. “Each of these pictures must stand on its own,” Susan Sontag writes in the essay that accompanies the portraits. “But the ensemble says, So this what women are now — as different, as varied, as heroic, as forlorn, as conventional, as unconventional as this.”
Prices vary (Hardcover new, used and paperback), buy it here
If none of these appeal to you, perhaps you’ll find one from the over 320 on our Pinterest Board of Beautiful, Brilliant and Best Buy-Worthy Coffee Table Books: