This is too good of a resource to pass up.
In an article at wall street journal.com Alton Brown gives his top 5 cookbooks!
Alton Brown is the deity of culinary endeavors in the nerd pantheon. I need to work on getting these. I used to have access to the Joy of cooking book and found it an awesome read. I've heard about Ratio and really wanted to grab that one as well.
If you have problems with the link, here is his list:
1. The Joy of Cooking
By Irma S. Rombauer
2. The Frugal Gourmet
By Jeff Smith
3. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
By Marcella Hazan
4. Outlaw Cook
By John Thorne
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992
By Michael Ruhlman