I really want to learn the basics of type. However, there are so many books on the subject that I get overwhelmed while searching.
This one is kind of old, but it's outstanding. To those desiring the basics it's a good fit:
The Mac is not a Typewriter by Robin Williams (link points to product page on Amazon).
There is an edition called "The PC is not..." also, but the classic work that many other people recommend is the Mac one.
Meet Your Type by FontShop is a pretty decent quick and free guide to the basics, which explains a lot of common terms (like cap height, x height, counter, points, families, kerning, leading, etc.), how to choose the right font and make it work and so on. It's only a 52 page PDF with lots of graphics, so if you really want to get into typography and learn about it, it's probably not a good choice. But for a quick introduction if you just want to get familiar with the basics, it's worth checking out.
To add to the list, Stop Stealing Sheep and Find out How Type Works is also a great read. http://www.amazon.com/Stop-Stealing-Sheep-Find-Works/dp/0672485435
Here are some free books about typography
Here are a few that I have in my collection that have some good information.
- The Elements of Typographic Style
- The TeXbook
- While You're Reading
- Idea Index: Graphic Effects and Typographic Treatments
- Exploring Typography
- Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students
You can find all of these on Amazon or at B&N Hope this helps and good luck
I found The Complete Manual of Typography does an excellent job of unpacking complex knowledge in an elegant manner. (Link to Amazon)
It shows step by step how to apply simple principles (contrast, alignment, repetition, proximity) and use color/fonts to get a clear design for a business card, for example.