NEW YORK — The holidays bring out the inner-coffee table book obsessive in gift buyers. They're easy, weighty and satisfying to give. You've done your job with your pricey treat.
A few to consider for music lovers, history buffs, foodies, fashionistas and more:
"The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970," by Kevin Howlett, Harper Design, $60. The Fab Four's years on air at home, as told in transcripts of interviews, photos and internal documents. Coincides with the November release of a new album, "On Air — at the BBC, Volume 2."
"Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation," by Questlove, Harper Design, $45. Aretha, Smokey, Ike and Tina, Marvin, Michael, Diana — and plenty of photos and text covering the work of Don Cornelius, host of the longest running syndicated program in TV history. The frontman for the Roots takes us on the journey through the show's debut in 1971 to 1993, the final episode Cornelius, the creator, hosted.
"Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music that Changed the World," by Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine, Tundra Books, $29. For young readers, the music industry vets offer an introduction to 27 legends, including James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. Includes two CDs totaling 27 tracks.
<strong>HISTORY & MEDIA</strong>
"Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection," edited by Neil Kagan and Stephen G. Hyslop, Smithsonian Books, $40. From the story of Winchester, the swift-footed horse of Union commander Philip Sheridan, to Winslow Homer sketches.
"Vanity Fair 100 Years: From the Jazz Age to Our Age," edited by Graydon Carter, Abrams, $65. Anything you ever wanted to know about the magazine in archival black-and-white, color covers and illustrations, all spanning the arts, war and politics.
"Vietnam: The Real War," by The Associated Press, $40. Mostly black-and-white, up-close photography of the fog and debris of war, including an injured John McCain and the cut of a knife into the belly of a Viet Cong prisoner under interrogation by a South Vietnamese soldier.
<strong>FILM & PHOTOGRAPHY</strong>
"Guillermo del Toro, Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections and Other Obsessions," by del Toro and Marc Scott Zicree, Harper Design, $60. Notebooks, sketches and interviews from the mind of the "Hellboy" and "Pan's Labrynth" creator. Thoughts from Neil Gaiman, Ron Perlman and others.
"Humans of New York," by Brandon Stanton, St. Martin's Press, $29.99. Includes 400 color portraits from the meandering chronicler of the New York condition.
"The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion," by Jay Scarfone and William Stillman, Harper Design, $40. Production stills, munchkin and Dorothy hair and wardrobe tests. Mock certificates for a brain, courage, heart and home are included in a back envelope of memorabilia, along with a death certificate for the Wicked Witch of the East.
"Caught in the Act: Actors Acting," by Howard Schatz, Beverly J. Ornstein and Owen Edwards, Glitterati Inc., $65. Portraiture by Schatz with oral histories and improvisation at his direction. See Sam Waterston respond to the prompt: "You're a dairy farmer who hates cows, hates milk and hates getting up at 4 a.m. seven days a week, just after signing a mineral rights deal with a natural gas drilling company." One hundred percent of royalties from sale of the book to be donated in equal shares to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the SAG Foundation.