Nancy Sidewater
September 19, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

What Are They? Coffee-table-book coffee tables created by the Boym Studio and featured in Alexander Payne and James Zemaitis’ The Coffee Table Coffee Table Book (Black Dog, $45). Coffee Tables? That’s right. The book spotlights more than 130 of them, from 1915 to the present. ”It’s an homage to this object we all use and rest our feet on,” says Payne. Um, Doesn’t This Seem Familiar? Payne gives props to the 1994 Seinfeld episode in which Kramer touts his own coffee-table-book coffee table on Live With Regis & Kathie Lee. But the idea first got legs from Boym two years earlier. Why Not a Book on Chairs? ”What one has on a coffee table is a kind of resume of who we are as individuals,” says Payne. And What’s on Payne’s Coffee Table? ”Haven’t got one at the moment,” admits Payne, who’s moving into a new home. ”But usually my reference books and my fruit juice.” — Nancy Sidewater

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