Hi Sherry, I am new to Javaranch too, just stumbled on it using google. Feel so fortunate to have found this. It is like heaven. I am preparing for scjp and though I had little knowledge about the Java language, have no work experience in Java. I agree with you (almost everyone on this forum does) that the K&B book is great for beginners and amateurs alike and one of the best for the exam. Right now I am doing that and then the next book I would study is Khalid's.
Regarding the time that you suggest for preparing - do you mean part-time or full-time? Maybe that can help examinees get a better idea. I would like to think that about 3 weeks full time (about 6 to 8 hrs/day)preparation should be good, ofcourse assuming you have access to the right information like Javaranch.