As someone who has a number of oversized architecture books on– or tottering precariously on– his bookcase, Christopher Hawthorne’s review of the new Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture caught my eye:

If you think the gorgeous new Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture would make a great coffee table book, you’re right. But you might need a bigger coffee table…. The book comes in its own clear plastic carrying case, and is a foot and a half tall and 12 inches wide and weighs about 18 pounds. At $160 plus tax, it also comes with sticker shock…. Clearly it hopes the book will become a fetish item for the swelling ranks of design aficionados who buy their dining-room chairs from Moss or DWR and can offer sophisticated commentary on Zaha Hadid’s architecture even though they work in a law firm.

Mmmmm…. conspicuous consumption in handy (or bulky) book form.