Careful about nomenclature. Java 5 is a version of Java 2. It is called J2SE5.0 but you find 1.5.0 on all the websites.
Think:- Which books have you used before? Were you happy with them? Would you like a new edition of the same book? How experienced are you? Are you prepared to wait until the autumn when new editions of the books may become available with details of J2SE6.0 in?
You are presumably familiar with Bunkhouse Books, which is part of JavaRanch? Look there. Go into your local College Library and browse through the books for an hour or two.
I happen to like the Deitel and Deitel style, and was very pleased with my copy of Deitel H M, Deitel P, Java how to program 6/e, Upper Saddle River NJ: Prentice-Hall (Deitel Inc) (2005), but some people don't seem to like their style. It takes you to at least "intermediate" level, but starts at a very "beginner's" level. As I said, I like their style, but lots of people don't. You can see sample chapters on the Deitel website, so "try before you buy." Another book I like for experienced people only is Horstmann and Cornell. Look here and here, with samples available as well. Horstmann and Cornell is: Horstmann C, Cornell G, Core Java 2: [Vol 1: fundamentals, and Vol 2: advanced features] 7/e, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall (Sun Microsystems Press) (2004)[/edit]
Find the book review threads on these fora.
Then think about actually buying something. [ June 21, 2006: Message edited by: Campbell Ritchie ]