Do you recommend reading any books before a course and if so, which ones?
We don't expect you to do any reading before a course, but if you'd like to get started now there are a few books in addition to our own that we particularly like.
If you're looking for a small introductory book, we like both 'Permaculture in a Nutshell' by Patrick Whitefield & 'A Beginners Guide to Permaculture' by Graham Burnett.
If you'd like something a little more in depth, Graham Bell's books: 'The Permaculture Way' & 'The Permaculture Garden' are excellent.
As far as chunkier texts go, there are a few more options. The only British book in this category is Patrick Whitefield's 'Earth Care Manual'. There are a couple of excellent American books: 'Gaia's Garden' by Toby Hemenway & 'Designing & Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally' by Robert Kourik (not technically a permaculture book, but close enough in our opinion).
Then there are the Australian books, starting of course with Bill Mollison's books. His most accessible text is 'An Introduction to Permaculture', though his 'Permaculture - A Designer's Manual' is still his finest work. In addition, David Holmgren's 'Permaculture - Principles & Pathways beyond Sustainability' is an updated look at the subject, though quite an academic one. In contrast, Rosemary Morrow's 'Earth User's Guide to Permaculture' is very easy to read & full of excellent illustrations.
Most of these books can be ordered from the Green Shopping Catalogue.
There are plenty of other great books out there on Permaculture & related subjects, but these should keep you occupied for a while...