Re: Herbs, crystals, and reading, oh my!
An excellent book for crystals, in my opinion, is "Love is in the Earth" <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.amazon.ca/Love-Earth-Kaleidoscope-Crystals-Melody/dp/0962819034/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200155565&sr=8-1">http://www.amazon.ca/Love-Earth-Kaleido ... 565&sr=8-1</a><!-- m -->
This sucker is huge, and each crystal has excellent detail as to what it's actually made up of, common lore, uses, common colors and forms, whether or not it's available, what sort of parts/systems of the body it's most useful for, etc. Out of all of the crystal books I've looked at so far, this one is my favorite. It's a bit harder to get, I'm afraid, but it IS available, usually through amazon. Not many specialist shops carry it, and if they do, they jack up the price.
This one doesn't have pictures, unfortunately, but it DOES have companion books by the same author that do. Due to the sheer number of crystals this book contains, it has TWO pictoral volumes: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.amazon.ca/Love-Earth-Kaleidoscopic-Pictorial-Supplement/dp/0962819077/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200155565&sr=8-3">http://www.amazon.ca/Love-Earth-Kaleido ... 565&sr=8-3</a><!-- m -->
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.amazon.ca/Love-Earth-Kaleidoscopic-Pictorial-Supplement/dp/0962819050/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200155565&sr=8-2">http://www.amazon.ca/Love-Earth-Kaleido ... 565&sr=8-2</a><!-- m -->
Once again, some of the best books for crystals I've ever run across. SO MUCH information it hurts.
As for herbs, I have a nice "little" book I like to recommend that was done by at least two pharmacologists. It's got a very good selection of common and uncommon herbs, their common forms and recommended "Safe" dosages, side effect, their uses, and what other common drugs that they can have adverse interactions with (I think this feature is particularly useful). It also has a lot of good advice in a form similar to do's and do not's, and a section that tells you what, if any research has been done into the uses and effectiveness of each herb, and what was found about it. There is even a little history about each one, a short description of it's looks which is sometimes accompanied by a picture, and references to OTHER books that they used to gather some of their information from, so that you know where it's all coming from.
Here's the book: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.amazon.ca/Complete-Guide-Herbal-Medicines/dp/0743400704/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200156018&sr=1-1">http://www.amazon.ca/Complete-Guide-Her ... 018&sr=1-1</a><!-- m -->
And I think it's a fair price, too, for such a thick, useful book.