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Coffee table books are a wonderful alternate form of art to cherish and showcase in your home. Full of inspiring pictures and words and designed for hands-on interaction, it's no wonder many of us art afficionados can while away time in an art book store the way we do at art galleries. For seasoned coffee table book collectors, our art book correspondent recommends five amazing titles that should be under your radar. Hunt away!

Murals of Tibet


Thomas Laird / Taschen

I felt pure joy as I turned through this behemoth. Lush Tibetan murals drench the pages—works of master artists revealed to the world for the first time. I suggest viewing a copy in its material glory at Open House, Embassy. Limited to 998 copies worldwide and all signed by the Dalai Lama himself. (Price: US $12,000)

Marilyn & Me (Limited Edition)


Lawrence Schiller / Taschen

A stunning body of portraiture, this book is a stylised portal to the past. Beautifully captured on film, the American icon seemingly comes to life. Shot just months before Marilyn Monroe’s death, Schiller’s photographic feature is full of images never before published and accompanies his own personal memories and anecdotes of his time with Norma Jean. Less than 2,000 copies exist and 1,712 signed by the photographer. (US $1,000)

The Journey: The Fine Art of Traveling by Train


Sven Ehmann, Robert Klanten / Gesault

Avid travellers and rail-travel enthusiasts will enjoy the clean layout and rich imagery coupled with comprehensive and concise accounts of many of the world’s best rail journeys. (€39.90)

The Green Florilegium


Hanne Kolind Poulsen / Prestel

If you love plants, you need this. If you love coffee-table books, you need this. Four hundred works of botanic bliss to be fixated with. You’ll linger over oversized pages as each prints absorbs your attention. Produced in the 17th Century, the works were never signed nor dated, though are attributed to German painter Hans Simon Holtzbecker. (US $237-277)

Hiroshige & Eisen: The Sixty-Nine Stations Along the Kisokaido


Andreas Marks, Rhiannon Paget / Taschen

A sumptuous stroll along the Kisokaidō, or Tokyo to Kyoto journey, commissioned in the mid-19th Century and produced by woodblock masters Eisen and Hiroshige. Pre-industrial Japan is brought to life in a way that only the ukiyo-e style can convey. The book is XXL, produced in scale fit for such a masterful body of work. (US $150)

(See also: Bangkok Gets Its Own Monopoly Game)

Tags: Photography, Books, Collectors, Marilyn Monroe, Coffee Table Books, Dalai Lama, Art Books, Gesault, Prestel, Taschen