First up, a book to while away the cold winter evenings as you toast your tootsies in front of the vents on your overclocked PC: "Head First Python" (O’Reilly) by Paul Barry.
I last wrote about the language quite a while ago … let me look that up … wow, actually it was … when I discussed Python and its pure Java implementation, .
Over the intervening years both projects, which are open source and widely used in many enterprises (including Google, which has a particular fondness for Python), have gone from strength to strength with the latest release of Python being Version 3.2 beta 1 (which appeared Dec. 6) and the newest Jython release, Version 2.5.2 RC2 (turned loose on Oct. 24).
Now, learning any language can be a serious undertaking. To really grok a language you have to change how you think about expressing problems and "Head First Python" is designed to do just that.
"Head First Python" provides a pretty comprehensive tour through the Python language with a lighthearted approach ("lighthearted" always sounds lame but, in this case, it's a compliment) that includes lots of graphics, lots of asides and annotations to the text, lots of answers to "dumb questions" (questions that might be naively asked), and lots of exercises intended to give your brain a bigger picture of the subject matter. It's an unusual approach (O'Reilly has a series of books based on this premise) and one that manages to be educational without being boring.