It is likely that your coffee table will see more action this time of year than any other. Between the holiday napkins, egg nog, gingerbread people and all the rest, the coffee table is the hub of activity right about now. Here are some nice volumes to add weight, depth, color and art to your surface.
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According to author Gian Carlo Calza, the introduction of tea-bags into the world have made high tea a “somewhat sterile experience.” Huh. Well, I suppose that tea, like many an Eastern tradition has been slaughtered as it travelled west towards the clutter culture of America. Calza (who is a Professor of East Asian Art History in Venice) takes us through what makes the Japanese art and culture so engaging to folks around the world. In a beautiful and cleanly organized volume, “Japan Style” takes us on a journey through irregular beauty, the feeling of nature, and masters of art in its three main sections. There are 150 illustrations (paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and the like) which all have a very soothing effect as you wander through them. The observations he makes in each area are a bit more academic than your typical coffee table book. You’ve gotta be pretty hardcore about Japanese art to get in there nice and deep. If you’re looking for a sturdy book to go with your black, white and red theme (that visitors will enjoy for a few minutes), then this is it. As for bedtime reading…well, unless it’s on the syllabus, then probably not so much.