Bonsai Books

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Bonsai Books

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:15 pm

Not bragging but over the years I have collected 39 books on Bonsai and Stones. This cataloging all started because someone gave me three bonsai books that had belonged to her late husband, and asked, "Do you have these."? The truth was, I didn't know. I had seen the books and the authors before, but I didn't know if had the actual book. Now I do know and I didn't, but I did find two copies of a book by Peter Chan, so one copy of that is going to a raffle. (Peter was on the China trip and I wish I had had the book with me for an autograph.)
The 39 does not include books brought back from China, I still need to log them in.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:58 pm

Gotcha beat, Billy. I stopped buying books at 72 books; I no longer buy new books as they come out (Morton A's was the last), though I'll probably backslide and if I stumble upon one of the old classics, I usually can't resist).

How many of those do I use regularly? Maybe 4 or 5. The rest take up shelf space.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:49 am

Yes, and Jim,

in his e-mails back then, ended up [unintentionally] encouraging me to purchase older Bonsai books. Laughing

I have an easy time getting rid of the modern ones, and won't part with the older ones.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Ravi Kiran on Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:51 pm

Books in my collection... 20 (got my 20th book today) and counting... Jim I doubt if I can catch up with you in this lifetime Very Happy.... Talking of which ... Jim please let me know which are the 5 books that you keep regularly referring to. Shall get my hands on them incase I don't have them already...

Regards
Ravi

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:56 pm

Good question Ravi. It changes a little over time for me but my current top five would be;
Bonsai: Its Art, Science, History and Philosophy : Deborah Koreshoff
The Bonsai Book : Dan Barton
Bonsai with Japanese Maples : Peter Adams
Bonsai Techniques and Bonsai Techniques II : John Naka
Bonsai Styles of the World : Charles Ceronio

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:19 pm

Man Lung Penjing - Wu Yee Sun - latest edition [ I have the older as well ]
The Spirit of Bonsai Design - Chye Tan
Chinese Penjing - Hu Yunhua
Ortho's All About Bonsai - some of the images are to die for.
Four Seasons of Bonsai - Kyuzo Murata

And - Classic Bonsai of Japan - images

Technique - Koreshoff - natcherully

Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Ravi Kiran on Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:38 pm

Kev & Khaimraj,

Thanks a lot for giving this very interesting thread (Thanks Billy for starting it) an even more interesting twist. Could I request that going forward, those who respond to also mention their top Bonsai books (3 or 4 or whatever number) in addition to mentioning the number of books they have....

From my rather limited collection the most inspirational books (So far atleast)
Bonsai Techniques I - John Naka
Bonsai Techniques II - John Naka
Vision of my soul - Robert Steven
The Magician - The Bonsai art of Kimura - 2 (I am yet to lay my hands on 1 & 3)
And last but not the least - A host of Bonsai articles by Walter Pall.... (I look forward to the day his book(s) get published)

Jim - Looking forward to your response....

Regards
Ravi

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:58 pm

Ravi,

you are most welcome.
As to books, well I don't have too many, and some I have, are in Chinese or Japanese, and Kevin has asked me not to image from other folk's books, copyrite stuff.

If you mean technical books / manuals, then my number rises as 40 something Bonsai Today 1 to 34, missing 1, and a few others on small / Mame' bonsai or other.
Also Mr. Valavanis's Bonsai International magazine, very informative [ I have to get some more ]

The technique part is pretty much handled by the Koreshoff, most of the other books are for images.
You can get the specific books, for example Mr. Meislik on Ficus and Mr. Pilacik on Black Pines, and of course Mr.Adams on Maples, and I believe Elms.
Later.
Khaimraj

***Other images [and in the case of Mr.Treasure great stories.]
Of course you also have Mr.Sulistyo - Tropical Bonsai Gallery and Mr. Douthill - Bonsai -the art of living sculpture - and Mr. Joyce - Natural Bonsai - and Mr. Treasures - Life Histories.


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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Bob Pressler on Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:36 pm

Wow this got me counting and I have 53 different ones and four or five duplicates.
My favorites are the first one I ever got Miniature Tree and Landscapes by Yoshimura and Halford it has a lot of old information but to me is still relevant.Then John Naka's first book , of course Koreshoff and Charles Ceronino's bonsai styles of the world. Classic Bonsai of Japan is a pretty good one as well.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:44 pm

Number 1 is Koreshoff. Best bonsai book written (ever!) (IMHO, of course)
Number 2 (a recent addition) Satsuki Azaleas for Bonsai and Azalea Enthusiasts - Robert Z. Callaham <-- that's an "m".
Number 3 Sunset's "Bonsai" - 2003 edition, but especially the 1973 edition. (I have, but despise, the Ortho copycat book).
Number 4. "The Art of Bonsai Design" Colin Lewis.
Number 5 is a tossup between Adams' Japanese maples and Flowering Bonsai (so I guess that makes 6)

I have 1 or 2 picture books one from Kokufen 1980something, and another of Shohin Bonsai from Gafu-ten exhibits Nos. 20-29. I refer to it quite often, especially to the back section where they show some exquisite shohin pots. Also have Man Lung #1, but haven't opened it in years.

I have Naka I, but seldom look at it.

Fiona reminds me of Dr. Liang's book. Haven't looked at it in a long time. Probably need to look again, but I recall that I found some of her horticultural information in there was flat out WRONG!

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  fiona on Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:59 pm

JimLewis wrote: Number 1 is Koreshoff. Best bonsai book written (ever!) (IMHO, of course). Fiona reminds me of Dr. Liang's book. Haven't looked at it in a long time. Probably need to look again, but I recall that I found some of her horticultural information in there was flat out WRONG!
Quite agree with the first part.
You may also be right on the second issue - I tend not to look too closely at the horticultural sections but more at the design and "how I created" bits.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Peter E. on Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:32 pm

fiona wrote: I tend not to look too closely at the horticultural sections but more at the design and "how I created" bits.

Have to agree with that statement.
My collection goes back to early Peter Adams, Dan Barton but most of my little knowledge comes from the complete collection of Bonsai Today / Bonsai Europe magazines.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Ravi Kiran on Mon Feb 14, 2011 5:22 am

Thanks Jim, Fiona for responding... Should we shift this rather interesting topic to either Bonsai or Bonsai Questions. It does not seem to be getting the attention and response it deserves here in this category of Off-topic banter.... Just a thought....

Ravi

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Phil Walsh on Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:46 pm

It feels like a who's who of IBC on here and I feel like a naughty child who has sneaked downstairs after lights out joining in!
Looking at the discussion, it seems Deborah Koreshoff gets the nod as the "best" book, but is it suitable for an enthusiastic beginner like me? Also, just had a quick look for it online and it doesn't seem to be in print any longer, found a second hand copy with notes in the margins, which will make me feel very experienced! The majority of my learning has come from Ken Normans "Growing Bonsai. A Practical Encyclopedia", on IBC and various other sites.
Are there any other books that you esteemed Bonsaists would recommend?

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Feb 14, 2011 5:34 pm

While most bonsai books are somewhat general in their information, I think I would concentrate on books by authors from your own country, such as Peter Chan, Dan Barton, Herb Gustafson, Harry Tomlinson, Colin Lewis, etc.

When buying book make sure they have information you can use and are unique. Sometimes publishers put out the same book, by the same author under different titles and with different covers. Once an author "sells" a book he loses control.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:45 pm

Once an author "sells" a book he loses control.

If an author really "sells" his book to a publisher, he's been took. S/He should always retain copyright.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  JimLewis on Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:47 pm

I hope it won't be long before we have our bonsai book review section back up here. That is broken down into beginner books, intermediate and advanced, and out-of-date and also rans -- with sections on indoor growing and shohin and mini-bonsai.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Phil Walsh on Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:51 pm

That certainly would help someone like me, who wants to learn but is spoilt for choice when it comes to research material and realistically doesnt really know what they are looking for!

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Books for Beginners

Post  JimLewis on Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:30 pm

Well, for you guys in the UK, you really can't go wrong in the beginners' category by getting Harry Tomlinson's The Complete Book of Bonsai. It is also available (at least in the US) in pocket size paperback as an RD Home Handbook, Bonsai.

Dan Barton's The Bonsai Book is also very good, but it doesn't seem to be in print over here. Last I saw, www.abebooks.com had it but at an exorbitant price.

Peter Chan has several books -- all of them so similar you only need one! -- which are worthwhile.

For newcomers to bonsai in the USA, Harry's book is still a good idea, but our own Herb Gustafson's Bonsai Workshop is a very good beginner's book. We all used to recommend the Sunset Magazine's "Bonsai" but for some unaccountable reason, they've let it go out of print after 5 or 6 editions. It is readily available used, but be careful, the first edition is useless. Get either the 1976 edition or the 2003 edition.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Books for Beginners

Post  Guest on Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:45 pm

JimLewis wrote:I hope it won't be long before we have our bonsai book review section back up here. That is broken down into beginner books, intermediate and advanced, and out-of-date and also rans -- with sections on indoor growing and shohin and mini-bonsai.

Why a review section Jim? There is a wealth of expertise right here. Books are often written by one person and are expensive. I would rather see a section where techniques can be exchanged. Just my two pennies.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:46 pm

My apologies, I thought Herb was from the UK, I don't know why.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:57 pm

I have Dan Barton's book, signed when he did a Florida tour some years ago.

My copies of Techniques I & II were signed at a BSF Convention in South Florida some years ago.

I also have Rob Kempinski's book signed but I'm not sure that counts, we are in the same club.

My most valuable book is probably Kawamoto, Toshio Bonsai-Saikei it is a numbered something of 500 (I think) in English, I think there were also 500 printed in Japanese.

And Meislik, Jerry Ficus, The Exotic Bonsai is also signed.

To quote St. Paul or is it Peter, I think that is all.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  fiona on Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:25 pm

Snap! I too have signed copies of Rob Kempinski, Dan Barton and Jerry Meislik - their books that is.

Bet your Jerry Meislik copy isn't inscribed in Scottish Gaelic though, Billy. I was thinking of renaming it Ficus: The MacXotic Bonsai.

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  Ravi Kiran on Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:42 am

Hi Folks ... good to see that this thread is evolving into something that I had looked forward to. Thanks to all those who contribute. Must honestly confess that I never knew the existence of Deborah Koreshoff's book not had I heard of it from someone. Have ordered for one yesterday and have a 6 week wait for its delivery. Keeping fingers crossed for now... I am sure it is worth the wait....

Special thanks to Bob, Khaimraj, Jim and Fiona for the top ratings given to this book...

Ravi

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Re: Bonsai Books

Post  fiona on Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:47 am

And popped through the letterbox today was my copy of Harry Harrington's "Bonsai Inspirations". I am now doubly excited to see how it holds up against some of the "greats" mentioned in this topic.

This thread has made me re-evaluate what I actually mean when I refer to a bonsai book as good, bad, indifferent or even excellent, and I came to the conclusion that the mark of what is meant by a "good" bonsai book, for me, is the number of times I return to it.

There are those I constantly dip into simply because the pictures are inspirational in themselves, and I'd include the dozen or so "books of the shows" that I have in that category as well as several others such as "Classic Bonsai of Japan" already mentioned by several posters, and the NBF's "Timeless Trees" which I picked up on one of my three visits there some years ago. I call them my Inspirational books because they do tend to make one want to get off the couch and go do some bonsai. Wink

I have others that I use because they contain excellent "how to" information. I found the Naka books good in helping me with technique, and David de Groot's "Basic Bonsai Design" which, for all it looks like a low-budget production, punches well above its weight in terms of content and gave me a whole new perspective (either an appropriate word or a bad pun) on design principles. This type of publication I call my Functionals.

There are also those that give me a bit of both - good practical information and inspirational photographic content. These are my Aspirational books as they both hold up the top drawer tree as something to get me off my proverbials while also showing me how I could actually achieve similar results. "Bonsai School" by my countryman Craig Coussins is good for this purpose, and Martin Treasure's "bonsai life histories" is in there too.

Just my random thoughts on an icy morning.


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Re: Bonsai Books

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