Here is a non-exhaustive list of general-interest dog books that I like. I'm mostly posting it just so I have the link handy to give out as needed. I am always on the lookout for new-to-me good books, so if you ask me in a week or a month or a year I may well have additional titles to rec. But for today, this is a starting point.
-- The Adopted Dog Bible, Kim Saunders/Petfinder.com
-- How to Behave so Your Dog Behaves, Sophia Yin
-- Love Has No Age Limit, Patricia McConnell
-- Do-Over Dogs, Pat Miller
-- Successful Dog Adoption, Sue Sternberg (<-- this is the most controversial book on my list by far; Sternberg has very stringent ideas about how stable and tolerant a dog needs to be in order to be a good prospect for newbie owners, esp. newbies with kids. But there's a lot of good stuff in here regardless of your views on her temperament test, so I'll give it a rec.)
All of these books, except for Sophia Yin's, are geared toward adopters of shelter/rescue dogs, but they are all very good and useful for newbie owners of any dog. I strongly recommend that anyone who is considering getting a first dog read at least one of these books BEFORE bringing the dog home.
-- My Smart Puppy, Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson
-- Train Your Dog Like a Pro, Jean Donaldson
-- The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller
If you can't get to a good training class, or your dog is not suitable for a training class, or you just feel like spending a lot of time drilling the basics for fun (and it is fun! it is a lot of fun!), those are all good starting points that go into a little more depth than the books listed in the first category. They also do a good job of laying out the foundations (attention games, Doggie Zen, "Watch Me," etc.) and explain the hows-and-whys of positive ("clicker") training, a very powerful tool indeed.
-- Dog Sense, John Bradshaw
-- The Other End of the Leash and For the Love of a Dog, Patricia McConnell
-- Bones Would Rain From the Sky, Suzanne Clothier
-- The Intelligence of Dogs, Stanley Coren
Clothier's book is on relationship building and philosophies of training, the others are mostly about the science of dog genetics, perception, and behavior, and how this influences our interactions with our assorted mutt monsters.
Rescue and Shelter Work:
-- One at a Time, Diane Leigh and Marilee Geyer
-- Lost and Found, Elizabeth Hess
If you want to know what it's like to work in a shelter, why animals end up in shelters, why some of them get out and others don't, and the peripheral issues that affect shelters (irresponsible owners, puppy mills, hoarders, differing cultural views on the value of dogs and appropriate treatment of them). Frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring, will pretty much guarantee that you never buy a backyard bred or puppy mill dog ever ever EVER. May cause you to start fostering or volunteering. And that can only be a good thing, even if you have to walk through some heartache to get there.