No doubt you'll be able to see some behind-the-scenes material when Skyfall finally makes its way to Blu-ray, but let's face it: who really watches that stuff anyway? Bond On Set: Filming Skyfall ($27) gives you backstage access right now, and in a form that's way more handy for the average viewer. Photographer Greg Williams worked alongside the cast and crew to create this unique look into the world behind the world's most famous spy. [Scouted by Nathan]
And you thought dog photos taken on land were cute. Underwater Dogs ($12) is a testament to the power of the pooch. Weighing in at over 140 pages, it features more than 80 portraits by award-winning pet photographer and animal rights activist Seth Casteel, all printed in high quality on thick stock. A perfect oversized stocking stuffer for the canine lover in your life.
Given that it's Bond's 50th anniversary and Skyfall opens next week, odds are you're going to see a lot of Bond-related stuff pop up over the coming days — but nothing as comprehensive as this. Weighing in at 600 pages, The James Bond Archives ($200) is the result of two years of research in the EON Productions archives. Inside, you'll find 1,100 images, including previously unpublished stills, on-set photos, memos, storyboards, designs, posters, and more, all accompanied by oral history from over 150 cast and crew members who worked on everything from Dr. No to the latest 007 adventure.
Despite the stereotypes, most guys aren't really that handy. Which is why we need helpers like The Art of Fixing Things ($11). This slim paperback provides you with 150 tips and tricks for doing repairs — it's information that most of us are smart enough to know but never got experience doing. Helping you along are over 175 photo illustrations, so all you need to provide are the problem, the tools, and the brawn.
If you're expecting page after page of inked up flesh, you're going to be disappointed. Forever: The New Tattoo ($32) is an depth look at the current state of tattoo culture, with an emphasis on the new underground scene and its increasing convergence with high fashion and art. Sure, there are some high-quality photos to illustrate the story, but it's the words here that are the highlight, not the pics.
Hemingway wasn't shy about his drinking, and as such set a precedent for the successful, boozy gentlemen to come. To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion ($17) celebrates the author's colorful history with dozens of authentic recipes culled directly from his novels, history, and folklore, all accompanied by anecdotes about Hemingway himself.
Already worked your way through the original 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die? Not to worry — expert Ian Buxton is back again with a whole new list for your liver to fear. 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die ($10) offers up 101 more whiskies that every wannabe connoisseur should try, including selections from locales as unlikely as the Czech Republic, India, Japan, and Taiwan. Most importantly, all of them are described as "affordable and accessible", so we're assuming you won't need to sink your life savings into completing the list.
And you thought zombies were the only undead you'd have to fight. Fresh off his essential guide to fighting zombies, Roger Ma is back with The Vampire Combat Manual ($11). This 320-page guide will walk you through crafting deadly weapons, solo and team-based combat techniques, utilizing UV rays to your advantage, and will even debunk some common myths that could cost you your blood — and your life.
Maybe it should be considered more of an encyclopedia than atlas. The World Atlas of Beer: The Essential Guide to the Beers of the World ($20) is filled to the brim with brewski knowledge — the history of beer, brewing methods, and info on countries that brew the best. This hardcover also gives you a thorough overview of a little more than 500 of the top beers from around the world.
Politics aside, we're damn happy to still have a thriving American auto industry — and nothing represents its strengths better than GM's luxury label. Cadillac: The Standard of the World ($75) celebrates 110 years of this iconic brand with 150 photos and illustrations that take you through the company's history, highlighting revered models and concept cars alike in full-bleed glory. Prime coffee table fodder for the automotive obsessed.
Ernest Hemingway was famous for a lot of things — his love of food and drink among them. The Hemingway Cookbook ($17) offers up over 125 recipes culled from the legendary author's life and works, which are situated alongside family photos, dining passages from his stories, and personal correspondence from the man himself. Guaranteed to be more interesting than the latest cookbook from (insert up-and-coming Food Network star here).
Bizarre doesn't even begin to cover the strange subculture you'll discover in the pages of the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia ($22). Written by former prisoner and prison attendant Danzig Baldaev, it examines the underground language of tattooing used by the criminal class of Russia using hand-drawn notes, written explanations, and photos by Sergei Vasiliev. It's sure to become a staple of your coffee table collection — and the same could be said for Volumes II and III. [Scouted by Richard]