Suggested Reading

I have often been asked where I have learned the names of plants, bees, or other interesting tidbits of information. While the most meaningful education is from direct experience and observation, literature is a great primer. Here are a few lists of books I've read or am reading. I've broken them into groups (Bees, Plants, and others) that I hope you take the time to read. I've rated them from one to three, three being the highest score, next to the title.

Bee & Pollinator Books

American Honey Plants πŸπŸ
By Frank C. Pellett
American Bee Journal, 1920
This is an old book, though the subject matter is unlikely to have changed much, nor will it be likely to change anytime in the foreseeable future. It lists, by "common name", native and introduced plants, shrubs, and trees that were useful for honeybees. Though the plants are listed by common names, it is not too difficult to determine the species based on the descriptions and the use of internet searches. A full text is available here.
Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide, Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies πŸπŸπŸ
The Xerxes Society
Storey Publishing, 2011
This excellent book introduced me to the variety of bees in our world, and in my back yard. It has entire sections on how to plant for bees in a garden, farm, or other settings, bee families (a taxonomic overview of bees in N. America), and several interesting case studies showcasing increased pollinator activity from human intervention. If you read one book out of this list, this would be the one I would recommend most.
Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens πŸπŸπŸ
Eric Grissell
Timber Press, 2010
I'm currently only in the early chapters of this book, but it is awesome! Eric Grissell gives a detailed overview of the entire family Hymenoptera which includes bees, wasps, ants, sawflies, and horntails. Also their importance in nature (and our little slice of nature, gardens) is detailed. Love this book! 
Farming with Native Beneficial Insects: Ecological Pest Control Solutions πŸπŸπŸ
The Xerxes Society
Storey Publishing, 2014
This is an excellent book to read following Attracting Native Pollinators. The premise of this book is not pollination, but pest control. It seems the methods to increase both naturally broadly overlap, and following the advise of one of these books will enhance both natural pollination and pest control.
First Lessons in Beekeeping πŸ
Keith S. Delaplane
Dadant & Sons, 2007
This is a straightforward book on beekeeping, very conventional. It seems to be big on the use of non-organic methods of pest control in the apiary. Though my personal views restrict the use of chemical treatments as a last resort, it is good to know how IF a problem should arise. This book compliments the other books I've read on beekeeping (particularly the ones mentioned here). If I had read this book before the one below, I'm not sure I would have ever acquired bees.
Homemade Living: Keeping Bees with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More πŸπŸ
Ashley English
Lark Crafts, 2011
This is the first book I had read on the subject of beekeeping. It was also the first book I had read with a reference of "bee plants". This is a charming book, it had inspired me to dive head first into beekeeping, and to get over my innate fear of stinging insects (programmed in us all, thank you society) by bringing home a box of bees in the passenger seat (with a seatbelt, and extremely careful driving).
Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture πŸπŸπŸ
Ross Conrad
Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013
This is my favorite book on beekeeping. If you were to get a single book on beekeeping, this should be the one. Ross Conrad writes in an unpretentious yet decisive tone, speaking casually at times, yet not afraid to have a strong passionate opinion at other times. It becomes clear that he writes with decades of experience behind him, having likely been "through it all", yet the love for the craft shines bright. Another plus: the book is written with organic practices in mind! The reader need not run an organic apiary to benefit from organic techniques.
Plants and Beekeeping πŸπŸπŸ
Howes, F. N
Faber And Faber Limited, 1945
This book written over a half century ago, is timelessly fascinating. Written by a researcher at Kew, many interesting facts are scattered throughout the book (such as the location of a given plants nectaries, color of the pollen, etc.) as well as reference to historical (at the time, fairly "recent") events. A great read. Free text available here.

Plant and Garden Books

Alpine Plants: Ecology for Gardeners πŸŒ·πŸŒ·πŸŒ·
Dr. John Good & Dr. David Millward
Timber Press, 2007
An excellent resource for understanding the ecology of alpine and tundra ecosystems. Anyone interested in the extreme environments that plants are able to survive in (environments that would surely kill us), would want to read this.
Bulbs of North America πŸŒ·πŸŒ·
Timber Press, 2009
This book describes an exhausting list of geophytes in North America, though not every single species is described in enough detail to identify. Most descriptions however are quite detailed, as well as other interesting articles, such as how to grow certain genera and species from seed or in cultivation. This book is a must for anyone interested in bulbs.
Carrots Love Tomatoes πŸŒ·
Louise Riotte
Storey Publishing, 1998
This is a charming little book, almost entirely based on the experiences of gardeners: triumphs and failures of companion planting. In the simplest terms, companion planting is planting two or more plants together, one or both benefiting the other in some form. While I can't say with certainty that everything in this book is stone hard fact, at the very least it is interesting. Organized alphabetically (by common name, "carrots", "tomatoes", etc.), it lists plants that should and should not br planted nearby, as well as other interesting anecdotes.
Crocuses: A Complete Guide to the Genus πŸŒ·πŸŒ·
Jānis Rukőāns
Timber Press, 2011
This fantastic monologue, though not widely accepted taxonomically, is a great tome of crocus knowledge from an experienced grower and plantsman. As an amateur, it is an in depth introductory work on the genus Crocus.
Daylilies: The Wild Species and Garden Clones, Both Old and New, of the Genus Hemerocallis πŸŒ·
A. B. Stout
Sagapress, 1986
This is THE book for anyone wanting to learn about species daylilies, and how they were bred to achieve the thousands of named hybrids that are grown today. I was never a huge fan of daylilies, yet learning about the species, with their unsophisticated subtleties, helped me gain an appreciation for the genus. The book has many illustrations, several in color.
The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials πŸŒ·πŸŒ·πŸŒ·
Daniel J. Hinckley
Timber Press, 2009
This book, written by a famous plant explorer and nurseryman, also the man behind the late Heronswood, is an excellent book filled with unfamiliar species of some well known genera, as well as many genera nearly unknown in cultivation. Many of the plants featured I would consider to be "shade" plants, most originating in forests around the world. (I am hesitant to say "shade", in coastal Washington or other fairly cool maritime climates the plants might be considered "full sun".) Besides the actual subject matter, the writing is inspirational.
Making Plant Medicine πŸŒ·πŸŒ·
Richard Cech
Horizon Herbs, 2000
If herbal medicine is an interest, as is quick reference, this is the book for you. The first section teaches basic herbal medicine making techniques, simple enough for anyone to follow. The second section lists, mostly by common name (Latin names in the back), many herbs, how to prepare them, what they are for, and how to use it.
The Medicinal Herb Grower πŸŒ·πŸŒ·πŸŒ·
Richard Cech
Horizon Herbs, 2009
A good companion to the book above, this book covers the subject of how to grow medical herbs. The thing is, many medicinal plants are basically "wild" (some more than others), so the concepts are universal to gardening. The thing I like about the book, and Richo's writing, is that everything is illustrated my means of a story. Richo's basic philosophy, in my interpretation, is to observe (the how, what, and why), have faith, and be patient. This was a real eye opener for me. By far my favorite book on gardening.
Saxifrages: The Definitive Guide to 2000 Species, Hybrids & Cultivars πŸŒ·πŸŒ·
Malcolm McGregor
Timber Press, 2008
This is a book for anyone interested in alpines, saxifrages, and taxonomy. Malcolm McGregor is the world authority on the subject. I was not a particular fan of saxifrages before I bought this book, but sometimes a book emanates greatness no matter the subject. I now have a deep appreciation for the genus, yet it is not represented in my garden as I possess not a single saxifrage of any sort.
Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web πŸŒ·πŸŒ·πŸŒ·
Jeff Lowenfels & Wayne Lewis
Timber Press, 2010
This book is life-changing. Really. This teaches soil biology in a way that anyone can understand, and illuminates the reality that nature really knows what it's doing. By fostering the soil and encouraging microbial activity in the soil, everybody wins (and plants get what they need without the use of fertilizers or pesticides). A must read!
Western Garden Book πŸŒ·πŸŒ·
Editors of Sunset
Oxmoor House, 2007, 2012
The various incarnations of this book offer different strengths to the reader. The older books far outweigh the rewrites by the number of genera and species included. The newer books include up to date hybrid and selection descriptions as well as many color photos. I have both the 2007 and 2012 books, I will keep both.
Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest πŸŒ·
Mark Turner & Phyllis Gustafson
Timber Press, 2006
This is a user friendly and useful guide for identifying plants and shrubs in the Pacific Northwest. I have found the various indexes to come in very handy, inadvertently teaching me to observe plant characteristics closely and to familiarize myself with plant families. The book is great, but I've found it to be missing many many taxa. It is but a part of a web of resources out there useful in the quest of plant identification.

Other Books

The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworkers Reflections πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ³
George Nakashima
Kodansha USA 2012
Furniture maker George Nakashima is known for his minimalist craftsman style furniture. His book outlines his life. He branched from the Arts & Crafts movement, similar to James Krenov (below).
[Various Titles] 🌳🌳🌳
James Krenov
James Krenov (1920-2009, RIP) was a furniture maker and author of six books on furniture making and his own personal philosophy on the subject. His style originated from the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 1800s/early 1900s spearheaded by William Morris. In essence the prevailing notion in my view is that ornament was of lesser importance to usefulness, a cultural response to the very formal classical styles of furniture such as Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Gothic Revival, et cetera. Krenov built his furniture by composition rather than adhering strictly to a set of blueprints, a method of working which fits me very well. I suggest reading all of his books, they are all amazing.