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Best coffeetable books to give (and receive)

Every year, the holiday season hosts a slew of books designed to be looked at as well as read. This year, some of those books remind us of things we ought not to have forgotten — Mexican artwork as vital today as when it was created in the first half of the last century, and some Renaissance masterworks that look as if they were made yesterday. There are other delights as well: mountains seen from above as never before, portraits of every owl species known, a nonsense master's exquisite paintings, Hokusai's lost sketchbooks, and even a Hokusai pop-up book.

Frank Wilson is a retired Inquirer book editor. Visit his blog Books, Inq. — The Epilogue. Email him at