One of the first things that people who are new to Buddhism ask me is "Can you recommend any good books?"
I'll tell you, my wife and I have been the victims of some BAD books on Buddhism. There's a lot of garbage to wade through before you come across the gems. I don't know how it is in other languages, but the English-language selection can be pretty grim sometimes. I generally divide english-language books into three broad categories:
1: "California Hippie Buddhism" - Books by authors like Jack Kerouac, that make Buddhism out to be a free-ride peace and love deal, where you can do all the drugs you want and wander the countryside, radiating lovingkindess to your fellow man. Terrible. Unfortunately, a great majority of non-Buddhist Americans see Buddhism in this light, thanks to books like this
2: "Dry, Scholarly, and Inaccessible" - Many books written by monks who seem to have lost something in trying to communicate with the average layperson. There are books in this category that have merit, but only if you're experienced or you are a scholar. Many 600+ page tomes, containing line-for-line translations of the Pali canon, lack the simple humor or bright outlook that really "clicks" with the Western mindset. My opinion: Save it for later, when you are REALLY into Buddhism.
3: "Just Right" - There are some authors who can't seem to get it wrong, and write books for the Western mind that really speak to you. Thich Nhat Hanh comes to mind (pronounced TEEK NAHT HAHN-- Thich is a Vietnamese word meaning "teacher" or "monk"). These are the ones that you come across once in a while and just say....."wow".
So, the purpose of this thread is to help you find books to read if you want to learn more about Buddhism. Feel free to ask any questions or even offer up reviews of any books you've read.