Programming Books

Here are a list of books that are must reads for beginning programmers:

Learn C because if you don’t there is a lot of old code you won’t understand:
Sams Teach Yourself C in 21 Days (6th Edition)

TCP/IP Sockets in C, Second Edition: Practical Guide for Programmers (The Morgan Kaufmann Practical Guides Series)

C++ is one of the most important languages and has been the standard for decades.
Sams Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days (5th Edition)

C++ Common Knowledge: Essential Intermediate Programming

C++ How to Program (7th Edition)

C++ and wxWidgets
If you are going to develop a GUI program that must install on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, BSD, and other platforms then you should know about wxWidgets and how you can code once and compile everywhere.
Cross-Platform GUI Programming with wxWidgets

C# (C Sharp) and WPF
This is the fastest growing language.
It has a lot of power.
It is probably one of the easiest programming languages for personal computers.
It has one of the best IDEs (Visual Studio 2008) and makes it fast to program with.

It is windows only, so if you need to code Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, and other platforms you will have to code the GUI separately for other platforms. Some people code in C# on windows and wxWidgets for every other platform.
Note: This approach can be a positive as it allows a company to get a fast application out in Windows and then if it sells well in the primary market, the company can then write it for other platforms.

Microsoft Visual C# 2008 Step by Step

Hey, Java is popular. Though I think it is more used for phones than on personal computers.
The Object of Java: Introduction to Programming Using Software Engineering Principles (2nd Edition)

Data Structures Outside-In with Java

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