Coffee Table Books to Flip Through in a Stranger’s Living Room While Your Brother Takes a Piano Lesson Upstairs

By Eldridge K. Steppenwolf

Ah, another Saturday morning. The bliss of the birds chirping, the sweet scent of freshly cut grass, and the sound of your younger brother Brian practicing the main theme from Jaws our parents’ massive, out of tune, grand piano they got for show.

Suddenly, the domestic tranquility of Saturday Morning was shattered by Mom telling you to get your ass in the forest green Toyota Sienna so you won’t be late for Brian’s thirty minute piano lesson that takes an hour and forty five minutes to get to.

The instructor, Jonathan, is well aware of the hefty journey Brian makes every Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m.

However, Jonathan does not like to wait. He has stipulated in the contract that if pupils arrive between three and four minutes late, the lesson is void and said pupil must attempt again the following week.

You are unsure why your presence is required at yet another one of Brian’s piano lessons and you search the room for something to do while Brian absolutely butchers Beethoven’s Ninth.

Then, suddenly, a beacon of light. The coffee table. Covered end-to-end in large, glossy books on art, music, film, and one with entirely too much nudity for it not to be weird.  

Here’s our quick guide for navigating the sea of coffee table books before Jonathan silently comes down, brushes his ponytail out of his eyes, and tells you not to touch anything:

  1. David Hockney: A Bigger Book

Be confused as to why this man drawing a bunch of pools is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Get ready to ask your mom why you don’t have a pool and when she tells you to buy one with your own money, remind her that you are 7. Make sure you wipe the cheeto dust off your fingers before you flip through Hockney’s best works or be prepared to face Jonathan’s wrath when he inevitably emails your mom about it weeks later.

  1. Bruce Springsteen: The Stories Behind the Songs

New songs, new looks, and New Jersey. Feel free to peruse 500 pages of photos of the Boss’ motorcycle collection and hazy New Jersey turnpikes. Silently wonder why someone as lame as Jonathan would have a book that includes so many cool leather jackets and men in grease-stained white tank top smoking cigarettes on the side of the highway. Be sure to ask your mom if the next family vacation can be to Atlantic City.

  1. Vanity Fair, October 2011

Although definitely the last choice for older brothers who are in the living room of their brother’s piano teacher, this magazine is weirdly moist and has a ton of pictures. In fact, there’s even a perfume sample on one of those thicker card stock pages that you can apply and hope Jonathan doesn’t notice you stole his scent. There is also sometimes a crossword near the back of the issue, but I would guess Jonathan filled that out many moons ago.

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