NEW YORK -- Art, architecture, music or travel: Coffee table books can fill just the right gift niche, especially when the cost would be budget-busting if you bought one for yourself.
Offerings abound at holiday time. Some suggestions:
"Game of Thrones: The Costumes," costumes by Michele Clapton, written by Gina McIntyre. Insight Editions. The costumes of the HBO series were integral in bringing George R.R. Martin's world alive. Best jewelry? The dragon necklace of Daenerys. Best wedding gown? Sansa had two, one in gold with the Lannister lion embroidered at the back of the neck and another in spectral white with a fur collar and fish clasps influenced by her mother. $75.
"Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking," compiled and edited by Rocky Lang and Barbara Hall. Abrams. Collected from libraries, archives and personal collections, the book covers more than five decades of letters, memos and telegrams from celebrities and other insiders. In a 1952 letter, Humphrey Bogart addresses John Huston as: "Dear Fly in the Ointment." $40.
"Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: A Visual History," by Fred Rogers Productions, Tim Lybarger, Melissa Wagner and Jenna McGuigan. Potter/Penguin Random House. With a new feature film starring Tom Hanks, the beloved children's television host and his show remain hot commodities. The book offers a guide to characters, puppets and episodes. $35.
"Worn on this Day: The Clothes that Made History," by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell. Running Press. Space suits, Olympic uniforms, armor: Centuries of garments are revealed. The book time hops in a calendar format. On Oct. 13, 1970, Angela Davis was captured at a motel, almost unrecognizable with her "Black Power" afro straightened and pulled under a short wig. Starting Sept. 1, 1941, Jews in Germany were required to wear a yellow Star of David sewn to their clothes. $28.
"Supreme Models: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion," by Marcellas Reynolds. Abrams. From the first to make it into catalogs and onto the covers of magazines to runway stars past and present, this book pays homage to black models. Iman Abdulmajid, included, once said: "I'll be truly happy when we're not counting the number of ethnically diverse models on a fashion runway or campaign..." $50.
"Ralph Lauren: In His Own Fashion," by Alan Flusser. Abrams. How did little Ralph Lifshitz, born to Jewish immigrants of modest means in the Bronx, become the mighty Ralph Lauren? For starters, he scrutinized the style of 1940s Hollywood stars. But when it came to westerns, Lauren wanted to be Randolph Scott, the "tough, trail-worn cowboy," rather than the clean-shaven hero riding the white horse, Flusser writes. The book coincides with a new HBO documentary, "Very Ralph." $50.
"Ballerina: Fashion's Modern Muse," by Patricia Mears, Laura Jacobs, Jane Pritchard, Rosemary Harden and Joel Lobenthal. Vendome. The early 20th century included the rise of the ballerina as a cultural figure and the iconic tutu as inspiration for a new style of dress, Mears writes. The influence continues today. See the progression through meaty text and archival photos, stretching from the Ballets Russes of the 1930s to Rei Kawakubo's tulle and chiffon skirt and "Biker Ballerina" leather jacket for Comme des Garcons in 2005. $60.
"Ballerina Project," photographs by Dan Shitagi. Chronicle Books. Shitagi has parlayed the popularity of his Instagram feed @ballerinaproject into a book in more than 50 shots of accomplished dancers around the globe over 18 years. Katie Boren stands en pointe on a Wolford factory floor in Austria and Mikaela Kelly is draped over a fire hydrant in Bushwick, Brooklyn. $40.
"Ansel Adams' Yosemite," by Ansel Adams. Little Brown and Company. The book includes images from Yosemite National Park selected by Adams before his death in 1984 and meticulously reproduced by his publisher of more than 40 years. Adams, an environmental activist, wanted to encourage park visitors to be the same when he selected eight photographs in the 1950s to offer exclusively as affordable souvenirs at Yosemite. He added to the eight over the years. $40.