Originals

What Your Coffee Table Book Says About You

The A24 Hardcover Hereditary Screenplay 

You’re a self-described “film nerd,” but anyone who’s ever played trivia with you knows you cannot back this up. You chose the Hereditary screenplay on a whim, in hopes it would give you a cool edge, even though you won’t watch Hereditary alone (or after 7 p.m.), and you woke up in a cold sweat for a week after you first saw it.


A Tattered Copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People

You’re up front about your red flags and don’t have a strong grasp on interior design. You rarely have company over, but you imagine elaborate scenarios in which you host dinner parties and your guests listen intently as you regurgitate the advice from this book. You are very charming in your mind.




The Complete Zoobooks Collection

You have 59 vintage magazines precariously balanced on your coffee table, and none of your guests can set their drinks on it because if your Zoobooks get wet, the pages will stick together and they’re not, like, something you can easily replace. It took a lot of phone calls to acquire your Zoobs (shorthand for Zoobooks, all Zoobheads know this). You also do not allow any open flames in your apartment because Zoobooks are highly flammable, so candles and cooking are out. Electricity, too, just to be safe.


McGraw-Hill Education Geometry Review and Workbook, by Carolyn Wheater

God, you’re a sick freak. No, it doesn’t make it more interesting that Chris Evans signed his name in it because you went to the same middle school. Did you even get it authenticated? Creep.


What Happened, or any other Political Book

You listened to Pod Save America religiously in 2017 and made it your whole personality, and now you’re hosting watch parties for the January 6th Committee Hearings. There is an army of RBG mugs lying in wait in your cupboard. You have coasters that say “Nevertheless, she per-SIP-sted.”


A Book of Cats In Silly Situations

You don’t even really like cats…you had a cat growing up, but have never considered owning one as an adult. What do you like? You don’t… you don’t know. This question haunts you. It hangs above your bed at night and lurks outside your shower curtain. This nagging feeling, this buzzing sound, this blinding light of disquiet as you start to question if you’ve ever liked anything at all. And if you are not just an amalgamation of the things you like, then what are you?


The Collected Sylvia Plath

You’re a huge bummer.


The Guest Book From Your Wedding

You had a subdued Covid-era wedding and are consumed by thoughts of what it could have been. You subject your guests to lengthy play-by-plays of your wedding day while pulling up your wedding video on your laptop, and – oh, what the hell, why not! – decide to bring out the freezer-burned remnants of your wedding cake that you stored for the better part of a year, insisting your guests take a little bite to “see how it holds up” in an ill-disguised attempt to squeeze one last compliment out of them. Your marriage is nothing more than a legal agreement at this point.


Exactly One Year’s Worth of New Yorker Magazines

You clearly purchased the print subscription of the New Yorker, never read any of them, have no idea what to do with them now, and are experiencing a deep-seated regret about the whole ordeal. You’ve decided to justify their cost by displaying all of them on your 12×16” coffee table and quietly harboring the belief that one day you’ll get around to reading them. You will look back on your life with regret.


A Book on Butchering Cows

Confusing political messaging, much like the modern Democratic party. Are you vegetarian and sending a message? Did you grow up on a farm? We’re not sure and we’re scared.


Loose Shells That Tell A Story

And that story is: your family goes to Florida multiple times a year. You could probably save and go on a really nice vacation somewhere else – literally anywhere else – but 8 trips to Florida it is! And boy, do you love your momentos from those trips. Surfboard shaped keychains, shot glasses adorned with small crabs wearing swim trunks with even smaller crabs on them, and a half dozen pairs of simply “Hers” flip flops. You have the unworn “His” counterpart flops saved in a tupperware under your bed, just in case. You are a grubby little pack-rat who lives in a sandy, land-locked apartment alone.


An Uncharged iPad Mini

You are a parent of two, and this is where the iPad Mini found its final resting place after being replaced by the much more illustrious iPad Pro. You leave the iPad Mini on display as a testament to the past – a scathing commentary on the rapid turnover of commercial goods, driven by society’s insatiable thirst for progress, no matter the cost – and also because you forgot it was there. You’re busy, okay?


No Coffee Table Book at All

Absolutely barbaric. How are we supposed to judge you now, sicko? A coffee table is for coasters, candles, and books. You do not have to have all three, but you must have a book. There is nothing more depraved than a naked coffee table. This is a lawless, Godless living room and we aren’t safe here.

by Madeline Goetz

Madeline Goetz

Madeline is a writer based in New York with her collie, Oskar.

by McKayley Gourley

McKayley Gourley

McKayley is a writer and producer based out of Chicago, IL.