The big problem with a lot of modern gardening books is that they have page after page of glorious colour pictures but tell you very little. Not all of them, but certainly a lot and for that reason I tend to make most use of older books. I even have one that belonged to my grandfather that I regularly dip into. Many of the varieties listed in it are difficult to find now and most of the chemicals have been banned but the basic information is still sound.
For the benefit of other growers I've compiled a list of books that proved very useful to me and which have the sort of info. that is very relevant to today's circumstances. Most will be available from the various online sources such as abebooks and Amazon but the dedicated recycler will scour the charity shops and boot sales for the best bargains.
1. Vegetables for small gardens, by Joy Larkcom. This is probably my favourite and a book that is in constant use for the huge amount of information on all aspects of veg. growing.
2. The complete vegetable grower by W.E. Shewell-Cooper. Another invaluable resource with useful data about crop yields, catch-cropping and inter-cropping.
3. The fruit garden displayed, by the Royal Horticultural Society. Very good on propagation, pests and diseases of soft and tree fruit. Many useful illustrations.
4. Grow your own fruit and vegetables, by Lawrence D. Hills. A general book by one of the pioneers of the 'organic' movement. Interesting ideas about compost and feeding the soil.
5. Organic Gardening by Charles Dowding. An excellent guide to the no-dig method of food growing with great emphasis on composting and feeding the soil rather than the plants. The section on winter salads is particularly useful.
6. Growing under glass, by Christopher Brickell (RHS). Plenty in here for those gardeners with a greenhouse. Even if you only have a cold frame or a few cloches you'll get something from it.
7. Your garden soil, by Harry Maddox. A book all about soil, composts and fertilizers. As experienced gardeners know, there is much more to the soil than meets the eye. Very useful book.
8. Vegetables for garden and exhibition, by S.M. Gault. Although I don't grow for show I still find this one full of helpful tips.
9. Food for free, by Richard Mabey. Not a gardening book but the foragers bible. I know that many grow your own fanatics are also keen to gather and use wild food.
10. The Thrifty Forager by Alys Fowler. Too much of a 'picture book' for my taste but it still has good information on edible foods that may be found growing wild in the countryside or even in parks in the middle of towns!