I was a very lucky fellow. My first bonsai book was one of the best books still written today. It is a simple book, not very large, being only 8″ by 8″ and just a little over 1/4 inch thick. Hard cover with a good binding.
The book is written in Japan and contains pictures of very good Japanese bonsai. As I went along in bonsai I wanted to own every book I could find. I found a lot and I gave away a lot. Most of then were just crap. Poor pictures of bonsai not very well developed and as I look back now how uninspirational they were. This book covered all the basics, wire, shaping, layers, dividing, grafting and did it with very good drawings. It covered all the forms and how each one should look with a quality Japanese bonsai showing the form. In a lot of ways this book paved the way for my thinking in bonsai and showed be from the beginning in an era void of the internet, and unknowing of the bonsai world around me. I purchased this book in 1984, but this printing is from 1981. A book truly ahead of its time. Find a copy on ebay its still one of the best reads out there. Even if you think you know everything, i’ll bet you will read something in here you didn’t know.
This first book I bought had an iconic bonsai in it, one that would stay with me for many years. I was picture of a needle juniper.
The drawing of how to do things like wire and collecting were superior. The movement in the wire drawing is just the way one should wire. The drawings on collecting show a craggy twisted pine taken from the mountains, something worthy of collection not just because its free.
As I write this ebay has several for sale, one, a “buy it now” for $3.97. Worth it just for the pictures alone.