I read through thousands of books to find these. I now have a vendetta against "I can make money by publishing an eye-grabbing book!" people. Grrrr.
Exercise and Fitness
For helping to stay healthy while staying at home during this pandemic
- You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren - no money? no problem, this book has you covered for workouts.
- Convict Conditioning by "Coach" Paul Wade - This is indeed a workout book for people in prisons. It gets you strong, fast, sans gym.
- Callanetics by Callan Pinckney - Devised by a woman who wrecked her back on a multi-country trip, the exercises are devised so you do one hour once a week. That's it. It can improve your posture and appearance, but more importantly it can help with improving your physical poise.
- Not technically a book but could be considered one: Liam Rosen Fitness - if you just want to get fit and healthy, this is the best place to start so you can understand what to do and what not to do
- Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible by Edward C. Smith - if you only get one, get this one, because patios and balconies are easier to find than land
- The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery - the old, the classic, the behemoth. Racist and possibly outdated.
- Deep Rooted Wisdom by Augustus Jenkins Farmer - Learn how to garden with a ton of very helpful tricks and tips.
- The Heirloom Life Gardener by Jere & Emily Gettle - Learn how to save seeds and grow the most usual veggies.
- The Cottage Garden Month-By-Month by Jackie Bennett - Cottage gardening focuses on perennial shrubs and herbs, saving you time and effort.
- Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett Markham - This and the Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible can feed you a substantial amount of stuff using nothing more than a backyard space and a patio.
- The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward C. Smith - Get more vegetables by knowing what you're doing.
- The Foxfire series by Eliot Wigginton - Details the way things were done in years gone by in Appalachia. Incredible resource for people who live off-the-grid and have no idea what they're doing, but layer it with internet research because the way things were "always done" isn't usually the best.
- The Indestructible Houseplant by Tovah Martin - Black thumb goodbye.
- The Forgotten Arts series by Richard M. Bacon - Another book very helpful for homesteading.
- A Handbook of Scotland's Trees by Fy Martinoga - If you have a woodlot or forested area, read this to understand more about what you've got.
Gardening for Pleasure
- A Year of Roses by Stephen Scanniello - if you keep killing roses this will put a stop to that, also has helpful tips for gardening year round.
- The Foxfire series edited by Eliot Wigginton, with the caveat that some of its directions are historically accurate but dangerous
- Lost Crafts by Una McGovern, same caveat
- Back to Basics by Abigail Gehring, with the caveat that some of its directions may be dangerous
- The Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments and Prints from Nature by Nick Neddo - super fun stuff especially if you've got kids
- Celebrating Birch: The Lore, Art and Craft of an Ancient Tree by North House Folk School - all about birch and its crafts
- The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket - covers sewing, embroidery, knitting, baking, and the reasons why you'd bother
- Prepper's Survival Hacks by Jim Cobb - General "make the most of what you've got" type manual for making nifty doodads.
- The Everygirl's Guide to Life by Maria Menounos - I wish this was taught in schools. It has lifehacks that are that useful. Especially helpful for dealing with bureaucracy and big stuff such as careers and networking.
Camping, backpacking and wilderness survival
- Snow Sense by Jill Fredston et al - For not getting killed by an avalanche
- Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills by The Mountaineers - For safe, sane wilderness recreation
- Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Living by John and Geri McPherson - For learning various tips on survival
Cleaning and organization
- Organizing from the Inside Out for Teens - Not just for teens. Read through it once, apply its knowledge, and you'll have much less stress about cleaning for the rest of your life.
- The Zen of Organizing by Regina Leeds - more of a "why" book than a "how to" book, can get you fired up to clean
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo - if you already are into cleaning and organization, this is like the next step up
- Clean Your Space by Melissa Maker - a basic beginner's manual of getting and keeping your place clean with minimal effort
- My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag by Jolie Kerr - specific information for cleaning problems
- Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home by Thelma Meyer - if you need a whole bunch of yearly, monthly, and weekly cleaning checklists this one is for you
Herbal medicine, medicine, and health
- The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, latest edition - Specific solutions for every typical health problem, in doctor speak. This is what doctors use to look things up instead of Google.
- Herbs by Lesley Bremness (note: I highly highly recommend looking up each herb with its latin name in Pubmed Central before you use it) - The original work that got me into herbal medicine and probably saved my life.
- Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal by Rosemary Gladstar - A basic primer into herbal medicine.
- What To Expect when You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff - the whole series. Like health class but without useless filler and with parenting tips. It's fantastic.
- Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd - explains how to reduce the likelihood your home will make you sick.
- Everyday Ayurveda by Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya - a good introductory text to Ayurveda, the Indian method of natural and herbal medicine
- The China Bayles series by Susan Wittig Albert - helpful for beginners
- The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker, whatever edition suits your fancy - the recipes are reliable and it just works
- This Ain't No Picnic: Your Vegan Punk Rock Cookbook by Joshua Ploeg - Simple, cheap, filling.
- Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner - Vegan cheese recipes.
- Alice's Tea Cup by Lauren and Haley Fox - Tea party type stuff
- Good Eats 1 and 2 by Alton Brown - Helpful introduction to cooking, and the recipes work.
- Feed Your Face by Jessica Wu, M.D. - explains how to create beautiful skin from a dermatologist's point of view
- Japanese Beauty Secrets by Hisako Grace Maeda - the title says it all, and you can pick up some helpful hints
- Make It Up by Marie Rayma - literally how to create your own makeup from scratch
- Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin - explains some of the "how" of putting on makeup with several example looks
- Makeup is Not (just) Magic by Ikumi Rotta - absolutely the best manual for people who don't know where to start with beauty and makeup
- Your Beauty Mark by Dita von Teese - warning: this is not an easy lighthearted read; you have to really think about each sentence to get much out of it. It's best combined with a thing called an Illustrated Discovery Journal, created by Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance.
Stress Relief and Mental Health
- How To Be You by Jeffrey Marsh - Another book I wish was part of the school curriculum. Helps you to accept yourself as you are.
- When Panic Attacks by David Burns, M.D. - Ditto school curriculum. Teaches the skills of dialectical behavioral therapy so you can apply them yourself and overcome all kinds of unhelpful thinking.
- Massage by Clare Maxwell-Hudson - Basic massage people can do to help their families and children relax.
- Unf#ck Your Brain by Faith G. Harper - Helpful for dealing with past traumas, but don't use the book by itself, double it up with other help.
- Simple Abundance: 365 Days to a Balanced and Joyful Life by Sarah Ban Breathnach - A whole year of helpful tips and tricks to improved mental health, provided you actually attempt the recommendations.
- The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday - Fantastic resource to get your head screwed on straight. One of my favorite books of all time, helps you keep everything in perspective.