Below is a list of book recommendations which are certainly worth picking up for yourself. These titles are both inspiring and informative. Some are easier to come by than others, but all are great additions to any bonsai lovers library.
Bonsai Techniques 1, John Naka. – This book has been long out of print, but is still considered one of the best titles out there. John Naka did a lot for bonsai in North America. If you can find a copy of this book, expect to pay over $100. They have been spotted on ABE books online.
Principles Of Bonsai Design, David De Groot. – Arguably the most relevant book available today. This is a must have for anyone getting serious about bonsai. It covers the design of bonsai in great detail. If I could only keep one book in my library, it would be this one. Much of the understanding I have on bonsai development has come from this book.
Forest, Rock Planting & Ezo Spruce Bonsai, Saburo Kato. – Master Saburo Kato created many bonsai masterpieces including some famous Ezo Spruce bonsai and beautiful forest plantings. The book touches on his story, features some wonderful images of bonsai and goes in to detail on creating a variety of forest plantings.
Literati Style Penjing(Chinese Bonsai Masterworks), Zhao Qingquan. – This is a newer book. The size and quality of the images make it very enjoyable as a coffee table book. It is however, much more than that. Featuring dozens of literati trees by a variety of artists and progression articles showing the evolution and how-to for many of Qingquan’s bonsai/penjing. This book is a favourite of mine which has fueled my appreciation for literati and bunjin style.
Trees In Canada, John Laird Farrar. – Published in part by the Canadian Forestry Service, this updated 500 page book is something of a field guide. This book features all of the trees which grow in Canada. Each species/sub-species page features photos of the tree and it’s features, diagrams and info on every detail including Leaves, Buds, Twigs, Seed Cones, Seeds, Seedlings, Bark, Wood, Size and Form, Habitat, Notes and Recognition Guide. Also a visual map of where the tree naturally occurs in North America. Crazy right? It’s like the tree bible. I got my copy from Lee Valley.