LISTEN, there is nothing wrong with asking for the new Lee Child book for Christmas. If you want to spend the time between Christmas and New Year tackling Jilly Cooper’s new bonkbuster, good luck to you. But there’s an argument for saying that Christmas is the one time of the year when you can indulge yourself. And that goes for books too. Whether you love the arts or fashion, interior design or music there is a sumptuously produced and illustrated book out there more than fit to grace your coffee table.

Here are 10 that have caught our eye and might inspire you too.

The Christmas Book, Phaidon Editors, Phaidon, £34.95

Here’s a festive treat to begin with. Behind a beautifully designed cover adorned with a Christmas tree, this is a handsome collection of festive images. Photographs, paintings, magazine covers, film stills and illustrations, all with a Christmas link, have been brought together to provide a suitably seasonal page-turner. (We are very taken with Dutch designer Floris Hovers’s very minimalist Nativity Scene on page 87). The perfect book to browse while you sit with a glass of mulled wine and Sufjan Stevens’s Songs for Christmas album on the stereo.

Wild Isle, Banjo Beale, Quadrille, £25

Subtitled “!Resourceful and Sustainable Interior Design Ideas”, this is a primer for anyone seeking to bring a fresh look to that faded parlour or liven up the living room. Banjo Beale, interior designer, TV host and goat herding Aussie based on Mull offers up hints on how to create your signature style, whether you want to go boho or bougie on a budget. And to be honest the book itself is a bright blast of cover well worth putting on display itself.

Chronorama: Photographic Treasures of the 20th Century, Abrams, £60

Drawing on the Pinault Collection and the Conde Nast Archive, this mammoth collection of photographs (gathered together for an exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice is a gather-up of gilded images that take in everyone from Charlie Chaplin and James Joyce in the 1920s to Barbra Streisand and David Hockney in the 1970s. A mixture of fashion shots and portraiture, the result is a jewellery box that reminds us that even black and white shots can glitter.

Venice City of Pictures, Martin Gayford, Thames & Hudson, £30

Ah, Venice. Not even Edinburgh on its best day can match the urban splendour of la Serenissima. Martin Gayford’s book is a history of the visual representations of the city as well as a catalogue of the part it played in the history of Western art (the word “significant” may be bandied about at this point if you like). Artists as diverse as Titian and Banksy turn up in the pages of Venice City of Pictures as the author covers the art and architecture associated with the place, right up to the modern day. But you’d be forgiven for dwelling on the pages devoted to the Renaissance. That said, looking at the picture of the architect Carlo Scarpa’s 1950s design for the Olivetti showroom in the city is top of our list of places to visit when we next go there.

Luigi & Iango: Unveiled, Phaidon, £69.95

You know you must be doing something right when Madonna, no less, agrees to write a foreword for your book. The Swiss-Italian photography duo Luigi Murenu and Iango Henzi have spent the last 10 years taking dramatic images of the great and the good and the merely famous. Rihanna, Penelope Cruz, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss and Pedro Almodovar are just some of the people who have posed for their lens. With nearly 300 magazine covers for the likes of Vogue, Vanity Fair and i-D, their work is the last word in celebrity photography in the first quarter of the 21st century and this beautifully designed book is pure eye candy.

A History of Women in 101 Objects, Annabelle Hirsch, Canongate, £25

Translated by Eleanor Updegraff, this quirky, idiosyncratic history of women as told through objects is, its author suggests, “a cabinet of curiosities showing how rich and diverse, how complex and non-linear” that story is. Beginning with a femur bone from 30,000BC - a bone that had been broken and healed, implying that the person whose femur it was, received nursing (otherwise death by starvation would have been inevitable) - Hirsch’s book takes in dolls, books, gloves, 16th-century platform shoes, sewing machines, lipstick, tupperware, George Sand’s right arm, Greta Garbo’s ballpoint pen and Kim Kardashian’s ring in this wide-ranging, beautifully presented book.

Marr’s Guitars, Johnny Marr, Thames & Hudson, £45

As one of the music papers told its readers back in the 1980s, The Smiths were “our Beatles”. A bit of a stretch perhaps, but then it is maybe difficult now to recall the band’s cultural importance in the middle of that decade. And whilst Morrissey has alienated some of his original fans in recent years guitarist Johnny Marr remains worshipped. This photographic exploration of the guitars he owns (well over 100, though he’s not sure himself of the exact number) works as a gorgeous example of guitar porn. But in passing it also offers a little glimpse into Marr’s creative approach. The first decent acoustic guitar Marr owned was the Gibson J-160E. “This guitar inspired me to write ‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’, ‘William, It Was Really Nothing’ and ‘Well I Wonder’. It brought a bit of a beat group sensibility to my writing,” Marr writes.

Entangled Life (The Illustrated Edition), Merlin Sheldrake, Bodley Head, £30

Already an award-winning bestseller, Sheldrake’s fascinating insight into fungi has had everyone from David Byrne and Nigella Lawson to Margaret Atwood raving about it. This new illustrated edition is the perfect gift book for the science lover who wants to know about one of the most mysterious lifeforms we share the planet with.

Love: A Curious History in 50 Objects, Edward Brooke-Hitching, Simon & Schuster, £30

Edward Brooke-Hitching, fact-finder for the BBC quiz show QI, has an eye for the esoteric detail, the revealing anecdote and the downright curious artefact. His latest book focuses on the idea of love through the ages and across cultures, from Neanderthals kissing Homo sapiens 120,000 years ago to the love story stored on the Voyager space ship still sailing into the interstellar dark. Like love itself, this is a strange, fascinating, at times bawdy and even heartbreaking book that takes in everything from love spells to chastity belts, and the Kama Sutra to the afterlife of Percy Byshe Shelley’s heart. Did you know that when George IV visited Scotland in 1822 he presented a silver snuff box to the members of a secret society (and sex club) founded in Anstruther. The box contained a tuft of the pubic hair of his courtesan. Makes a change from shortbread, I suppose.

Vanity Fair: Oscar Night Sessions, Mark Seliger, Abrams, £60

The annual Vanity Fair Oscar party is now a legendary event and for the last decade or so the photographer Mark Seliger has been taking pictures of the great and the good and the glamorous (and on the night in question everyone is glamorous) as they pass through. This collection of Oscar night photographs captures Hollywood at its most glittering; a passing parade of posh frocks, black ties and familiar faces. De Niro? Check. Emma Stone? Of course. Lady Gaga? Naturally.