I went down to Pemberley Books at Iver on Monday to buy myself a few Christmas presents (well someone has to get you something you really want!). If you ever find yourself near Heathrow I thoroughly recommend an hour or so in this small corner of heaven. I purchased a range of FSC AIDGAPs (Woodlice, Colllembola, Ephemeroptera, Seed + Leaf beetles, Centipedes, Earthworms, Plant Galls), plus Duff Beetles volume 1, Aphis - Macrosiphini and and Soldierflies. This should give me the ability to totally confuse myself next year.
The Woodlice book seems nice and easy to follow. The greatest delight so far is the British Plant Galls by Redfern and Shirley, this is a fantastic book and should provide hours of fun. Obviously field guides are not the easiest sit down and read, they are field guides for use in the field (or lab), so judging without use could be a bit unfair on the others.
Does anyone else have books they would recommend or even better positively love (and why)? A good library is a useful thing, so getting the right stuff is so helpful especially to the non-professional.
I have found the series of FSC Guides are more than useful. Not only are these folders reasonably priced, but each Guide illustrates the more likely species you may see. Subjects range across the gamut - Bees of Britain, Butterflies, Day-flying Moths, Grasshoppers & allied insects, Ladybirds, Shieldbugs, Caterpillars of butterflies, Dragonflies and damselflies, etc and more. These are not always stocked by high street bookshops, but a frequently found in National Trust shops.
One of my main interests is wild flowers and I have numerous books. The one I tend to use more than any other is 'Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland' by Blamey, Fitter and Fitter, published by Domino. Particularly useful are the distribution maps. One of its advantages over others is that it also includes Trees, Sedges and Grasses.
You can get a huge number of free books that are in the general population area at Assignment Writing Company. This site that offers free books still secured by copyright.
I have found the series of FSC Guides some of which are up to date: http://www.study-aids.co.uk
I'm sure you will find these useful.