I'm a bit late, but better late than never? The books I've been reading lately have been mostly professional.
Bulletproof Web Design
Improving Flexibility and Protecting against worse-case scenarios with XHTML and CSSBy Dan Cederholm
Dan's fun-loving voice makes this subject, sometimes a dry one, easy to read from the first paragraph of the book.
“I have a confession to make. There's no such thing as a completely
bulletproof Web site. Now, before you close the book and put it back up on the shelf (hopefully sticking out a bit further than the others, thanks), allow me to explain.”
From that moment, Dan takes you through all the most essential things to being an
accessible and BobbyApproved website.
Designing a flexible website, while an essential skill to a professional web-designer, presents many challenges. Today's web-designers don't necessessarily keep in mind the idea that some of their audience may need to be able to adjust 12pt font to a bigger size, or may need another marker for hyper-links, because they aren't able to see blue text as different thank black. Throughout the book, Dan makes even the most complicated design issues easy to understand, and the solutions workable. He takes time to describe everthing he's talking about in detail, so even beginners can understand it. The problems he points out are very real-world, and the solutions he offers are very useful.
If there is a fault in this book, it's that Dan appears to assume anyone reading the book has only a rudimentary understanding of file structure and web-design. As a slightly more advanced webdesigner, I just skipped over the parts I already knew, and read the stuff I needed.
For anyone who is strongly image-based in their web design, and finds themselves designing a site that needs to be more flexible, or at least less image based, this book is essential. Dan takes you through the reasoning and basis for changing the way you design a web page, and makes it easy to understand.