hey man, glad that you want to know these things
Yeh, umm...ok i have 2 books that helped me soo much, i dont know what i could have done without them!
One would be, The Complete Reference Maya 6, dunno if theres Maya 7 book for that now, but ya
And another one would be Maya Secret of the Pros 2nd edition, teaches you many many things that help your animations, models, and renders, look like it came from the movie =D,
Aim:Nshad BB Court