The new My Heritage Blog has a post by Kim dated 13 October 2010, entitled, "Genealogy Books -- A Popular Research Tool?" The article discusses the popularity of genealogy books in the UK and other topics. At the end of the article, Kim asks the question, "Do you have a book that you think every genealogist should have on their bookshelf? As a matter of fact, I have a number of them.
My basic approach to any subject of interest is to go to the library and check out every book I can find on the subject and read all of them. In my earlier years, when I wasn't so wrapped up in genealogy, I could read more than a book a day. Now, I am very much more selective although I still read a few books on my iPhone while waiting for appointments or at other odd times during the day.
When I comes to genealogy books, the local library had a very weak offering, so I ended up purchasing every interesting book I could find. Usually, I would look at the Brigham Young University Bookstore. They have a very large selection, not only for the classes on family history, but a good selection of other books of more general interest. I am afraid that my selection is heavily slanted towards the United States topics and England, Ireland and Scotland. Outside of one line from Denmark, all of my ancestors came from the British Isles.
The one book that gave me a good understanding of the whole subject of genealogy was and is:
Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co, 2000.
Here is another one:
Fischer, David Hackett. Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Not strictly a genealogy book, but still a valuable resource that provides a fundamental understanding of the settlement of British America.
Continuing with a selection of others:
Szucs, Loretto Dennis, and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. The Source : a Guidebook of American Genealogy. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006.
Everton, George B. The Handy Book for Genealogists: United States of America. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 1999.
Eichholz, Alice. Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004.
From there, I have dozens and dozens more, all of which are more or less useful depending on what I am doing at the moment. With all the hoopla about the Internet, books still haven't lost their appeal or their usefulness.