Coffee Table Books | Alissa Wolenetz, Library Director

Coffee table books. 

They’re heavy, expensive, and unwieldy. They’re also the perfect kind of book to browse through on a chilly fall or winter day. 

One of my favorite books at Stanford was a wildly oversized coffee table book about the Hubble telescope. I brought it home one winter break to show my family. On a clear night, when it was 20 below, we checked the book and then went out with a pair of binoculars and found the Orion Nebula. It was brilliant, if very, very cold. We spent the rest of the evening curled up by the fireplace with hot chocolate and cookies, browsing through photos of galaxies far, far away. 

For the last few days, I’ve been looking through the coffee table books we have here at the Library. For the art fiend, there’s “Montana’s Charlie Russell: Art in the Collection of the Montana Historical Society.” Basketball fans might enjoy Kobe Bryant’s “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play.” Hikers and travelers should get lost in stunning photos and handy tips in “100 Parks 5000 Ideas” and “Where To Go When.” Our interstellar travelers might appreciate National Geographic’s “Encyclopedia of Space.” For those out and about a little closer to home, we have “Glacier National Park: The First 100 Years,” “Hand Raised: The Barns of Montana” and “Photographing Montana, 1894-1928: The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron.” 

We have a book about the Hubble telescope, too, but it’s checked out right now. It was the very first book I chose to display, so I’m quite happy it’s exploring the world at large.  

We’re even featured in one of our coffee table books. Check out “The Best Gift: Montana’s Carnegie Libraries” if you’d like to learn more about how the Library got started. 

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