From this week's prompt at Stitch-Stirrers:
If someone new to crochet who had never really picked up a hook or someone who wanted to advance their skills were to ask you for some good materials for learning, what’s the best resource(s) you've found on the subject of crochet, on-line or otherwise that you would suggest?
I kinda hate to give such a cliche answer, especially with the whole Son of Stitch 'n Bitch debacle still fresh in my mind, but I really have to give it to The Happy Hooker: Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet by Deb Stoller. The how-to-crochet instructions and illustrations are simply the best I've seen anywhere, and I had been looking for instructions I could grasp for years. Maybe it's the bright colors, or maybe Stoller's just speaking my language. Concepts that I just couldn't make sense of when they were accompanied by grainy pictures in my grandmother's tattered crochet booklets suddenly made sense. The book also provides fun patterns that were good choices for my first garments (though check the errata).
As for other resources I'd recommend as absolutely essential (at least for myself), I have trouble resisting any stitch guide, but my favorite is The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden. And I know I say it all the time, but for stitchers, Ravelry is the best thing since... ummm. Maybe ever. It's that good.