I am one of those beginners. I have completed three ships and started with "Build a Ship in a Bottle" by Capt. Dan Berg. This was a very good start for me. I then proceeded to build my library by first checking out books on building ships through the local library and if I found one that I liked I purchased it. This way you don't spend money on a book that doesn't fit you. I have also owned several sail boats and built two from plans over the course of my working life. Due to having five fused vertibre in my back and age, my sailing days have come to an end. I really enjoy the hobby and find it to be very rewarding for me. However, I have a tendancy to want things perfect before I start a project and find I sometimes thinks things to death instead of just "doing it". My last project was the CSS Albermale, which I have completed but not bottlesd yet.
For me, the books, this forum, and a few of the other forums have helpled me tremendously. I don't post very much as I am in no way as knowledgeble as others on this forum. Well thats my two cents worth hope it helps a little.