Favorite Books

PABonsai

Chumono
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Hi everyone. I currently have 2 books, Bonsai by Peter Warren and Bonsai Basics by Colin Lewis. I would like to maybe get a couple more and was wondering....What are your top 3 favorite books? Feel free to comment with your top 3 (or less) books. Doesn't matter to me if they're old or new and I won't ask the "why", it's up to you to elaborate or not. I'm just curious because there are a TON out there and I'm trying to narrow down without buying all of them.

Thanks!
 
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Anthony

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Best bet is probably the first 30 of Bonsai Today.
Has almost everything for training plants.
Magazine begins to repeat after 31.
Good Day
Anthony
 

LanceMac10

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If you are still getting a good grasp on the basics, this pair of books by Harry Harrington are good.


If you have the basics down, I'd just pick up Inspirations 1 and 2 by the same author.

A great non bonsai book that will up your knowledge game would be this one - its a semester or two worth of plant biology condensed down to an edible chunk. Its worth every penny of $16

 

Calnicky

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Hi - I have recently read and enjoyed "Bonsai Life Histories" by Martin Treasure, 2002, Firefly Books Ltd. and "The Art of Natural Bonsai" by Dave Joyce, 2003, Sterling Publishing Co. Both books go through the life histories of various trees, explaining where they came from (nursery stock, landscape salvage, yamadori...) and how they were developed as bonsai from that point onward. Enjoy!
 

PABonsai

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Wow nice. I don't think any of these are ones I had seen on eBay. I'll look into them. As a side question I found John Naka's books on eBay too. What would be a good price to pay? I saw an original 1973 I for $90 and found that to be way too high, but is it?
 

just.wing.it

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I have learned that many bonsai books have "not the best" or outdated info.
I own about 6 bonsai books and I love them all....but I've learned more, good, usable info here on Bnut.....thanks to all of our great members.

Books are still nice to own and collect....and page thru with a strong drink.
 

PABonsai

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I have learned that many bonsai books have "not the best" or outdated info.
I own about 6 bonsai books and I love them all....but I've learned more, good, usable info here on Bnut.....thanks to all of our great members.

Books are still nice to own and collect....and page thru with a strong drink.
I would assume that even if some techniques fall out of fashion that the basic styling points remain they same. I'm one of those who feels that until you have a solid grasp on fundamentals you can't truly "do your own thing" in every respect. So I am trying to get a better grasp on the fundamentals first....I do freely admit that in some regard books are just like BonsaiNut because there's still a fair amount of disagreement. Hell i'm still trying to wrap my head around whether I should pinch junipers or not before it comes pruning time next year!
 
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just.wing.it

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I would assume that even if some techniques fall out of fashion that the basic styling points remain they same. I'm one of those who feels that until you have a solid grasp on fundamentals you can't truly "do your own thing" in every respect. So I am trying to get a better grasp on the fundamentals first....I do freely admit that in some regard books are just like BonsaiNut because there's still a fair amount of disagreement. Hell i'm still trying to wrap my head around whether I should pinch junipers or not before it comes pruning time next year!
Agreed.
And about the juniper.....no.
 

PABonsai

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Agreed.
And about the juniper.....no.
See that's one of those things I don't get. If it's bad practice how did it get so engrained into the art? It's a freakin art that's +1,000 years old. I feel like some techniques should by now just be "the way to do it". It's in ALL the books I have read. If it didn't work wouldn't it have been known to be ineffective decades ago? And that is partly why I want more books. To get more exposure.
 

just.wing.it

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See that's one of those things I don't get. If it's bad practice how did it get so engrained into the art? It's a freakin art that's +1,000 years old. I feel like some techniques should by now just be "the way to do it". It's in ALL the books I have read. If it didn't work wouldn't it have been known to be ineffective decades ago? And that is partly why I want more books. To get more exposure.
Lol, yeah, I hear ya....
I think that that may be one of those techniques I refer to as outdated.

Maybe they didn't have scissors....Lol!

Juniper are certainly interesting and more difficult to understand than a maple to someone like me.....I recall my early days of bonsai, thinking "how do they make dense foliage pads from this wispy scale type growth?"
Its something I'm just dipping my toes into now.
I have 2 junipers that I think are on their way to becoming respectable bonsai some day.
Its a slow process.
 
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Wow nice. I don't think any of these are ones I had seen on eBay. I'll look into them. As a side question I found John Naka's books on eBay too. What would be a good price to pay? I saw an original 1973 I for $90 and found that to be way too high, but is it?
I have both of Naka's books and was fortunate to get them for under $70 each. However, the copies I have were both damaged in one way or another. They are really great books for the history of the hobby and for checking out techniques used back then, but you will find that the information in them can be very outdated at times, and could be detrimental to your trees if you don't live in the same climate that John did. So as collectors items or a physical piece of US Bonsai history to hold in your hand - totally worth it. If you want technique - well $90 will get you a couple of Bonsai Empire courses, or a few months of Bonsai Mirai, or copies of newer books with more modern techniques which might net you better trees in the long run. You can also find most of the techniques they detail in various forums online.
 

Calnicky

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Wow nice. I don't think any of these are ones I had seen on eBay. I'll look into them. As a side question I found John Naka's books on eBay too. What would be a good price to pay? I saw an original 1973 I for $90 and found that to be way too high, but is it?
Looking at Amazon, John Naka's "Bonsai Techniques I" goes for $95 and up, so $90 isn't a bad price.
 

PABonsai

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Looking at Amazon, John Naka's "Bonsai Techniques I" goes for $95 and up, so $90 isn't a bad price.
Well I'm avoiding Amazon. They have that David de Groot book for example. On stone lantern and the ABS website it's $35 and $32. On Amazon it's $100. So I take Amazon with a grain so salt! I found another Naka I for $40 on eBay which is why I was assuming $90 might be high.
 

GGB

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Literati style penjing by Zhao Qingquan is dope as f#ck.

Field guide to trees of north america (kershner, mathews, nelson) Not bonsai specific but a must if you want to learn your natives

Japanese maples by vertrees AGAIN not bonsai specific but the second best book on JM, can't afford the best

Those are my current 3 best purchases, I can tell you that I've bought a TON of bonsai books and almost all were a total waste of cash. Except Nick Lenz's book because I resold it for double what I paid. Do yourself a favor and skip right past all the cheap ones, they're probably garbage. @LanceMac10 and @cheap_walmart_art named basically everything in my sone lantern cart right now. I can tell from sifting through enough crap that those will probably be stellar as well
 

penumbra

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Sorry to hijack the thread but this: Though I do use Amazon a lot, I have been noticing a lot of craziness on pricing there lately. Like 2 bags of Optisorb on Amazon for $100 and it retails in stores like Fastenall for $10 a bag. There is a plant grow bukb I like that is $45 on Amazon and I just got them for about $12 each on eBay but I bought 12 of them. Lately it seems I am finding a lot of Amazon things seriously overpriced.
 
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