Holiday Gift Idea: Easy Reading

The coffee table book—boring old gift or inventive present? We like to think it’s the latter (and we’re excellent givers).

Here, a few of our favorites.

1229464224No Pictures, by Ron Galella

We fawned over every inch of the pages (and killed nearly an hour in the process). Full of black and white photos, the book features distressed, angry, frustrated, and surprised celebrities offering anything from a polite smile to the obligatory hand-shield to a solid one-finger salute. In the 1970s, Galella, the godfather of modern paparazzi, was hit with both a restraining order from Jackie O. and a right hook from Marlon Brando. Luckily, he lived to tell about both in this buzz-worthy tome.

1229463891Awearness: Inspiring Stories About How to Make a Difference, by Kenneth Cole
Kenneth Cole put together a collection of 86 stories from humanitarians—famous and not-so—who have made a difference in economic, civil, and social situations around the world. The topics range from the globally pressing (President Bill Clinton talks about the fight against AIDS) to the gravely domestic (Jamie-Lynn Sigler reflects on eating disorders and body image.) The entire book is black, white, and red all over—denoting Cole’s devotion to the HIV cause (100 percent of net proceeds benefit his AWEARNESS fund) and giving the book a dramatic look.

1229464216Influence, by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

We, too, were dying for a meaningful peek into the lives of M.K. & A., so we weren’t surprised when Influence topped the bestseller charts immediately upon its late-October release. The book is filled with beautiful and edgy photos of the twins in various poses, including lots of their signature deer-in-the-headlights pout. The twins take turns talking about and interviewing their influences.

Available at Barnes & Noble, Prudential Center, Boston, 617-247-6959,