Guys Read

What a man has on his coffee table reveals volumes about his taste.

Perhaps you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a man by the books he has on his coffee table. Book collections are an insight into personal preference and should represent an arbiter with good taste. Whether the idea is to impress or simply for personal enjoyment, thought-provoking, picturesque books are for those who won’t settle for a predictable page turner. Here are a few filled with surprises and sure to provoke conversation.


From the 1915 Omega Lawrence of Arabia chronograph to the 1985 Ulysse Nardin Astrolabium, The Impossible Collection of Watches selects the 100 breakthrough timepieces of the 20th century. Not for the lightweight watch collector, the book, itself, weighs 18 pounds. (Assouline, July 2015, $695)


More than a car buff’s tome, Giorgetto Giugiaro: The Genius of Design digs deep — 500 pages deep — into the Italian automotive master’s work with lavish illustrations and photographs. Giugiaro is an icon noted for such concept cars as the Ferrari 250, GT Berlinetta, De Tomaso Manugsta, Maserati Ghibil, and Iso Grifo. In 1999, he was named “Car Designer of the Century” and inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. (Rizzoli, March 2015, $95)


“No more second guessing,” touts the pitch for Esquire The Biggest Black Book Ever: A Man’s Ultimate Guide to Life and Style. Esquire promises that its 1,037 tricks, techniques, and secrets contain the power to transform any man into a complete success. (Esquire, May 2015, $25)


Photographer Mario Testino traces the evolution of male identity over the past three decades in SIR. His largest book-to-date features more than 300 photographs in almost 500 pages, with each picture representing a unique point of view. Studies of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Jude Law, David Beckham, and Mick Jagger take on a different demeanor through the lens of the Peruvian-born, internationally recognized photographer. The SIR book is a limited edition of 1,000 numbered copies signed by Testino, bound in Japanese cloth, and delivered in a metal slipcase. (Taschen, March 2015, $700)


As Cuba slowly opens up to the United States, interest is piqued in the long-isolated island nation. For architecture aficionados, it’s an opportunity to get up close and personal to one of the most beautiful and architecturally diverse cities in the world. Havana Modern: Twentieth Century Architecture and Interiors rediscovers the city in photographs — shot exclusively for the book — of private homes and buildings that were previously not photographed and most inaccessible to visitors. (Rizzoli, October 2014, $65)

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