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The Big Pictures: Best Gift Books 2008

Dozens of amazing and illuminating books have been released throughout 2008 that could (and should, in these tough economic times) be contenders on your holiday shopping list. But there's something about the season of giving that makes us think big. And that means picture books, from coffee-table extravaganzas to the small stuff that's big on ambition.

Finding the perfect gift usually is the hardest part, but with these books, the delivery may pose a challenge. A few of the gorgeous tomes below tip into the 20-pound range, so to give you a sense of what you might be lugging and/or mailing, we've included the physical attributes of each title. Whether your intent to delight tends toward the spectacular or the exquisite, each of these gems is guaranteed to dazzle.

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John McAlley
John McAlley is the editor of's Books We Like series. A longtime top editor at Harper's Bazaar, InStyle, Us and Entertainment Weekly, McAlley has written for GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Spin and's Monkey See blog. He has worked as a photo editor at Rolling Stone and been a contributor to Aperture. He lives in Dallas, Texas.