Adulting: Pick the Right Coffee Table Book

You’re an adult! You’ve got your s*** together! You swear! You have a coffee table book and everything!

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Adulting: Pick the Right Coffee Table Book

Alright! You’ve got a room in a new apartment or your first home or you’ve finally decided to get your stuff together and make a statement. But you’re broke, because right now, everyone’s kind of broke. State of the universe. So it goes.

But you’re convinced that it’s time to be an adult, because “fake it ‘til you make it.” Welcome to adulting.

So now you’re hosting a dinner party or thinking about showing off your new digs in some other way. The number one way to make an impression? To prove you’re an adult and have a personality and style and your s*** together?

Coffee table books.

But how do you choose the right one?

Here are (some of) your options and what they tell your guests as they perch on Gumtree-found and up-cycled couches and beanbag chairs while you make the good instant coffee in the kitchen.

Artistic Nudes
You’re an ahhrteest. The human body is ahhrt. And makes a political statement about diversity, inclusivity, and the commodification of bodies. Go you(?)

The Meta Coffee Table Book About Coffee Table Books
You watch a lot of inception. And appreciate irony. This book is worth a one-off, “I’m in on the joke” cackle, but will never actually get opened.

The DIY-ed Photo Album
This is actually pretty damn adorable. Taking an afternoon with friends to print out Instagram and saved facebook photos and arrange them in an album you’re comfortable enough to put out is darned cool. Guaranteed to spark conversation if you run out of adult stuff to talk about. I’m impressed.

Famous Quotes and/or Portraits
This one is a little risky. If it’s a collection of politicians and historical figures you actually dig, again, this can be a great way to spark conversation. But if you inherited it from your parents and don’t actually care about any of the material, it’s literally just a paperweight.

SCIENCE! (Facts & Statistics)
The periodic table. Different theories of creation. Geographical and ethnographical statistics. Again, it all comes down to how much you actually engage with the material. If you’re a Chemistry nerd and have an illustrated book of elements with their properties, that is cool as heck. I always like informative books, but the bottom line with all of these is: who cares what I like? If you’re into it, your enthusiasm will bleed into the room and bubble over onto your guests.

Children’s Books
It depends on which book, but there’s something sweet and bizarre about having a massive copy of Bug in the Rug or Madeline or Curious George in the middle of your very adult coffee table. It’s inviting and there’s a reason children’s books appeal to kids: they’re colorful, simple, and can be enjoyed in wee segments. You don’t need to sit there and read the whole thing. Which is the whole point of a coffee table book. Pick it up, put it on your lap, and open it in the middle. It’s a book that’s almost certainly going to make people just feel good, because it’s nostalgia.

Happy hunting, ya’ll! Get weird, make a statement, and best of luck adulting!

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Sam Ferrante is a poet, editor, facilitator, and writer born on Long Island, college-fed in Western New York and Paris, and then poetically raised in Buffalo, NY; Ireland; and Australia. A former member of the Pure Ink Poetry team in Buffalo and a regular competitor in Dublin's Slam Sunday, Sam was a Co-Creative Producer at Melbourne-based Slamalamadingdong in addition to serving on the Melbourne Spoken Word Committee. Sam has been published in Ghost City Press, Blowing Raspberries, and The Dirty Thirty Anthology and has been featured at The Owl & Cat Session, La Mama Poetica, Girls on Key, and White Night 2016 among others. Her debut book of poetry, Pick Me Up, got rave reviews from her Mom. She is currently the Editor of CrowdInk.