New Colour Guide is the latest in a series of photobooks that UK-based photographer John MacLean has been producing since 2007. It is enjoyable but philosophical, straightforward but enigmatic, and these myriad qualities (not to mention the tension between them) make it one of our books of the year. To explain this tension further, the images in New Colour Guide are quite simply very appealing—MacLean is a skilled photographer, and he's captured more-or-less everyday moments in a visually pleasing way—but the words that accompany these images throw everything into a different light, as it were. The captions describe the photos in the most basic way imaginable, leaving all the room for interpretation in the world, while the title of the book itself is vague: what is this book a "guide" to? As my "email tennis" with MacLean shows, he himself is not eager to over-explain his work, preferring to leave something of its mystery intact. For a thoughtful work like this, it's a position that makes sense.