Hey, thanks for reading!! I've had exposure to programming in college (c++), but havent done any in many years. Seems from what ive read that Head First java is a good beginners book. My question is this: Should I be concerned about getting a a copy of the book from, say, 2005 versus 2008? Anything significantly new in the language, trends, that wont be covered in a 2005 version? Just looking to save a few $...also, if having some prior exposure to c++ means you might recommend a better book, please do tell
You have already been told of the popularity of the Head First books; they are very definitely for beginners. If you buy the Java book, make sure to get the 2nd edition.
I am fond of the Deitel books, which have their own peculiar style. Some people dislike their style. Fortunately you can find sample chapters on the Deitel website, so you can see whether you like their style. You probably won't notice that much difference between the 6th and 7th editions, but don't buy the 5th or older editions.
I don't like books which have all their working shown in a main method, nor books which use addActionListener(this) throughout to demonstrate Swing event handling.
I think the best all-round book I have seen is Horstmann and Cornell, which has been updated for java6 (8th edition); it is particularly intended for people coming to Java from a C++ background, but is probably not a beginner's book.