There is nothing better than a cold December night, curtains shut, fire (or heating) on and forgetting about the outside world for just a few hours. The best way to do that is to lose yourself in a book and as we all know, sporting books are the absolute pinnacle of literature. So to help you out this Christmas, or to give you a few gift ideas to subtly suggest to your family, we’ve picked out five of our coffee table favourites from Taschen. Warning, this will give you serious book envy.
GOAT - A Tribute To Muhammad Ali, £3,500
Although there is a bantamweight version available for a fraction of the cost, if you want to really look like a boxing buff you need the heavyweight GOAT, all about the life and times of Muhammad Ali. One of the finest sportsmen to have ever lived, this collector’s edition, one of only 9,000 available worldwide, is signed by Ali himself as well as the artist behind the book, Jeff Koons.
With over 3,000 images, and nine metallic double page spreads, nothing tells the story of The Greatest’s career quite like this. Coming in at 34kg, you certainly won’t find a heavier book and you’ll need a sturdy coffee table for it, but this book will wow every single visitor to your humble abode.
Surfing 1778 - Today, £135
Featuring over 900 images and covering over two centuries, this is one of the finest books about surfing around. Exploring the sport over five chronological chapters, we experience and learn everything about this wave cutting practice, right from tracing surfing culture back to its humble beginnings in 1778 (thanks, Captain James Cook) to the global phenomenon of today.
A complete celebration of the sport, it also covers the cultural importance of the sport and features notes from established journalists. One surfing scribe has declared, “There has never been a book like this, and there will never be another one again.”
Rocky, The Complete Films, £650
There is no doubt that the Rocky films are some of the defining sporting films in history and if you love them as much as we do, you will be dying to get your hands on this gem of a book. Rocky, The Complete Films covers everything you need to know and more about the 40 year old film franchise.
Featuring a foreword by and interviews with Sylvester Stallone, this beautiful piece of art brings you all the guts and glory of an enduring action hero and movie masterpiece. Oh, and the Collector’s Editions (No. 51–1,976), are all numbered and signed by Sylvester Stallone, each with a print of Stallone’s painting Finding Rocky (1975) and a 36-page Rocky notebook facsimile. Stunning.
The adidas Archive, £100
Almost a century ago one of the biggest brands in the world was born as brothers Adolf ("Adi") and Rudolf Dassler made their first pair of sports shoes from their mother’s house. Fast forward to today and it has been the whirlwind of a journey, featuring countless trainer designs, shocking moments, and star-studded collaborations with some of the biggest names on Earth.
This book is your guide to adidas’ history, like nothing seen before, and it wonderfully illustrates just how far the German powerhouse has come since 1924. You get to see more than 350 models including never-before-seen prototypes and one-of-a-kind originals and even delve into some sporting memorabilia such as the shoes worn by the 1954 World Cup winning German team. If you love adidas, you’ll love this.
This celebration of all things ‘Prancing Horse’ is truly magnificent and shows us just how stunning a book can be. This collector’s edition comes in an aluminium display case designed by Marc Newson and each one is signed and numbered by Piero Ferrari himself. This excellent piece of work features a complete appendix gathering all of Ferrari’s victories since 1947, and spoiler, there are a lot of them.
With a red leather cover featuring Ferrari’s famous iconic logo and 514 pages of history tucked inside, this is the perfect Christmas present for the car nut in your house. You’ll have to be quick though, the price is going up to £5,000 in January!
You can find the full range of Taschen books here.