Leave it to the guys who make the software our own team uses to work remotely to write the book on the subject. Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson ($13) takes an in depth look at the growing trend of employees working from home, discussing both the benefits and challenges, and why more businesses will want to promote this model in the future. It's not coming out until October, but if it's anywhere near as insightful as their prior Rework, it'll be well worth the wait.
You might not think about it — in fact, you're probably even less inclined since the advent of Wi-Fi and cellular data — but the Internet that keeps a big chunk of society functioning is actually a huge, world-spanning networks of routers, wires, and other complex gadgets. Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet ($17) takes you on a tour of these places, from massive data centers and historical spots to caverns full of wire and the ten-thousand-mile undersea cable that connects Europe and Africa. A must-read for anyone who spends the majority of their day online — so basically everyone.
The NBA playoffs are just around the corner, so what better time to soak up some knowledge from the winningest coach of all time? Penned by former Chicago Bulls and potential future L.A. Lakers coach Phil Jackson, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success ($17) tells the story of Jackson's rise from a kid in North Dakota to a leader of hyper-athletic, enormously-ego'd men, with plenty of insight on how he handled the personalities of his players and got all-time greats like Jordan and Kobe to buy into a team concept bigger than themselves. Okay, so it's not technically coming out until May, but that should still give you plenty of time to finish it before the Finals.
No matter if you're drinking vodka, gin, rum, or whiskey, your booze of choice came from a plant of one form or another. The Drunken Botanist ($12) takes a look at this grand tradition of fermentation and distillation, with tons of information and stories about various drinks. And should you think it's all just boring facts, rest assured that the 400-page book also contains over 50 drink recipes, as well as growing tips for those looking to grow their own garnishes.
We might not be in school any longer, but that doesn't mean we don't still enjoy throwing folded pieces of paper around the office. The New World Champion Paper Airplane Book: Featuring the Guinness World Record-Breaking Design, with Tear-Out Planes to Fold and Fly ($12) will have you owning the skies above your cubicle with 16 fold-out model planes, instructions for folding "Suzanne" — the current world-record holder with a flight of over 225 feet — a primer on flight theory, 22 total designs, and tips on adjusting your plane to achieve maximum flight time. Just be sure to make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands, lest your next meeting be interrupted by a bombardment of pink construction paper.
Replace your overly safe coffee table repertoire of cars, architecture, and perhaps even pets with something a little more... interesting. SuicideGirls: Hard Girls, Soft Light ($26) is the second photography tome from the revered website, boasting over 200 pages of photos that continue to challenge the typical pop culture definition of beauty while serving as inspiration for your next — or first — tattoo. Oh, and if you couldn't tell from the title, most of the photos were shot using natural light, giving them a quality rarely found in collections like this.
And here you thought rockers and actors were the only ones with lavish drug and sex addictions to write about. Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors ($10) looks at those writers who did battle with inner demons on a grand, and thus historically notable, scale. Starting with the Marquis de Sade and continuing all the way up through Hunter S. Thompson, Bret Easton Ellis, and even the infamous James Frey, it provides an entertaining yet startling look at the way outlandish behavior and literary genius have often been linked. See also: Hunter S. Thompson's daily routine.
So it may or may not be legal in your area, but even if it's some legal grey area — and by "grey area", we mean "not legal" — that doesn't mean you don't need something more to do with your greens than just throw them into a colorful piece of glass. Cannabis Cupcakes: 35 Mini Marijuana Cakes to Bake and Decorate ($12) is pretty much what it says on the cover, giving you recipes like Snickers Muffins and Toxic Red Velvet Cupcakes to bake your bake-fuel into. Lest you question the credibility of the author, just know he's responsible for titles such as Spliffs, Spliffs 2, Spliffigami, Bongology, Baked!, and Seed to Weed. And no, we didn't make all those up. Promise.
If most people tried to write these stories, they'd probably be overly depressing. Fortunately, Marc Maron isn't most people. Attempting Normal ($15) is this blisteringly funny comic's tale of loss, broken hearts, cats, drugs, work, and much, much more. Following Maron from the loss of his job and marriage through to his current incarnation as the host of the wildly popular WTF with Marc Maron podcast, it offers a little wisdom, a little insight, and a lot of laughs.
Freak out your ophidiophobic friends by proudly placing Serpentine ($30) atop your coffee table. Not a serpentine, mind you, but the 200-page collection of dangerously beautiful photographs from Mark Laita. Including such snakes as the albino Honduran milk snake, the Malaysian coral snake, and Kobe's favorite, the black mamba, the book also contains an essay from novelist William T. Vollmann exploring the various associations with the animals that make them so menacing to so many.
Eat like winter is coming by cooking up some of the delicious grub in A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook ($20). Created by fans of the series Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer and given a foreword blessing by series author George R. R. Martin, this 200+ page book contains over 100 recipies, helpfully divided by region. So whether you're looking for a pork pie from the Wall or biscuits and bacon from Across the Narrow Sea, it's got you covered.
Many great architects have huge lists of building they've designed for other clients — but it's the houses they create for themselves that really illustrate who they are. The Architect's Home ($26) is a 480-page exploration of this phenomena, with each home listed in an A-Z manner by architect, and including large, full-bleed photography, and text relating to the architect and the home, many times from the designer him/herself. Perfect coffee table fodder for the artsy/designer crowd.