Books ... PC Hardware in a Nutshell, RB and BF Thompson, O'Reilly Books
The forward by Jerry Pournelle (Byte mag and now the website) says this is an opinionated book and so it is. You have snap judgements on everything from motherboards to soundcards. The thing that makes that better than just annoying is that the guy writing it does actually know a little about the subject.
The book first asks the question of whether it's worth the bother of building or upgrading your own PC and after answering in the affirmative goes into work practises and then into issues related to individual components. The depth on audio related stuff is not as deep as I would have liked but the book is aimed at the general consumer rather than audio/music specialists.
Do you need this book? If you've never fiddled with PC's before then this book plus one with loads of pictures would do you just fine. The O'Reilly book is light on pics and I'd say that's a big disadvantage if you don't know what a PCI card, or whatever, looks like. If you already know the basics then this book will be quite useful.
Lost in Music, Giles Smith, Picador
The English do funny, self deprecatory stuff very well. This is the story of an Essex boy's fascination with Pop and then his attempts to get something big happening ... well, something anyway. Anyone who's made similar attempts or who's been a bit curious about what it's all about will find this book very engaging. It's a nice little bit of social history as well.