Not the everyday coffee table in the den or family room. I'm talking about the coffee table in the room that nobody is allowed to go into, the room that's supposed to be kept clean for company even though company isn't really allowed in that room either.
It's a big, fancy-looking book called Our Islands And Their People. That's actually not even the whole title.
|Our Islands And Their People As Seen With Camera and Pencil|
Edited and arranged by William S. Bryan (N. D. Thompson Publishing, 1899)
The book happens to be the first of a two-volume set describing the people and exotic locales that became American possessions after the U.S. victory over Spain in the Spanish-American War: Cuba, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.
The book is large, heavy as hell, and the illustrations are pretty amazing.
When I was younger, it used to drive me crazy when people walked into the bookstore holding a swatch, looking for an art book that matched their sofa. Didn't matter who the artist was, just needed to be, you know, kinda mauve.
Or when people would come in looking for an "important looking dictionary" as in "my son or daughter just graduated from law school and I need something for their office."
This book isn't mauve, but it is important looking.