8 great coffee table books for last minute gifts
Photo by Gui Avelar on Unsplash
Exellence book on table

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If you are looking for a last minute gift and don't know what to get someone, coffee table books are one of the safest gifts you can give. It acts as both entertainment and decoration. Let's face it, when you walk into someone's house for the first time and sit down on the couch, the book on the table in front of you is the first thing your eyes revert to. It is a conversation piece that gets people talking, gives character to your home and tells people a little bit about you before anyone speaks a word. It is a great way to make a lasting first impression.



1. Eruption In The Canyon: 212 Days & Nights With the Genius of Eddie Van Halen. An Uzi, a band member getting run over with a Porsche and an illegal military vehicle driving on to Fred Durst's lawn with a gun pointed at his head. And that isn't even the half of it. Keep in mind that this is a really strong list, so when I say that Eruption In The Canyon is the King Kong of coffee table books, you need to trust me. Author and filmmaker, Andrew Bennett, chronicles his time documenting one of the greatest guitarists of all time: Eddie Van Halen. You do not have to be a Van Halen fan to appreciate just how special this book is. Take a first-time look behind the curtain of the most private rock star in history. Featured in Billboard Magazine, Eruption In The Canyon reveals Eddie's amazing work ethic, insane passion, eclectic behavior and lovable personality. I simply cannot say enough about this book.



2. The National Parks: America's Best Idea is a look at some of the most scenic national parks in the U.S., complete with breathtaking photos and the history behind them. Dayton Duncan teams up with author and filmmaker Ken Burns to bring you a fascinating perspective on how our national parks came to be what they are today.


PBS, $118.11 on Amazon

3. What's The Punctum. Imagine a journey through an alien dream sitting on your coffee table. What's The Punctum is Alice In Wonderland meets Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy with a splash of Twilight Zone and Stranger In A Strange Land. Hang on to your hats as Maine author Cheryl Ann Johnson takes you down the rabbit hole with amazing and truly unique artwork. This picture book is a great ride for people of all ages. I absolutely love all of her work.


Buy it on Amazon, $10

4. The Book of General Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong. If you know someone who believes that the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing, then The Book of General Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong is for them. This book is filled with surprising answers to questions we all thought we knew. Get ready to fact check because if you thought you knew who the first president of the United States was, James Bond's favorite drink, how long a chicken can live without a head or what George Washington's teeth were made of, you will have a tough time believing what you read in this New York Times Bestseller.


Buy it on Amazon, $21.60


5. Cabin Porn Inside. If you are looking for a conversation starter, have a book called Cabin Porn on your coffee table. This is a great way to get a read on your new guests, because there will either be laughter and intrigue or complete dead silence, followed by a fake phone call with an "emergency" that they have to attend to. All the more wine for the rest of you. Despite its provocative cover, Cabin Porn is hardly as salacious as its moniker. It features some of the most remarkable handmade homes in rural America. Be warned that while it might be inspiring to see such purity in beautiful architecture, the blanket fort you made for your kids last night might not seem as impressive.


Buy it on Amazon, $20.99

6. Harrison Dwight, Ballerina and Knight Speaking of blanket forts, don't forget the kids table. From actor, musician and now author, Rachael MacFarlane, Harrison Dwight, Ballerina and Knight is just the thing to keep the little ones engaged in something other than a video screen. Illustrated by Spencer Laudiero, the impressive artwork is as slick as it gets. That, coupled with the important message dealing with the challenges of stereotypes, this children's book is a must-have.


Buy it on Amazon, $17.99

7. In Vogue: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine. My final recommendation needs no introduction. In Vogue: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine. This is truly a universal coffee table book. With world class photography, this book takes you through the history of one of the most iconic magazines ever made. Vogue is one magazine that will never go out of style.


Buy it on Amazon, $75

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less