Hi Mamybypamby, and welcome to the forum. I think you'll find folks here easy-going, not snobby, and more than willing to engage in discourse about your "drink of choice".
I would recommend two types of books to get going.
1) Something about whisky in general - how it's made, what are the differences between different traditions of whisky making, how does wood policy affect flavours, things like that! For this type of book, I would recommend Whisky
by Michael Jackson. It's current, recently published, and is edited (and partly written) by someone really well respected. One brief note, the chapters are written by different writers so MJ is a contributing writer and editor here.
I would second Mr Jellis' selection of Malt Whisky
by Maclean. Very similar in terms of material covered to Whisky mentioned above, although the book is a bit smaller. It does have the advantage of being written by the same guy so the writing style may be more fluid. I didn't find this a problem in Whisky, but in any book with multiple contributors I would think this to be a risk. [Aidan - I think you're Bio says you're an editor. Any ideas on this?]
2) I would catagorize books here whose strengths are tasting notes. The two that get mentioned most often around here are Malt Whisky Companion
(Michael Jackson), and Whisky Bible
(Jim Murray). MJ's book has the initial portion describing (short version) the whisky making process - I don't have Murrays book to I can't comment on this. These books are good guides to give you an idea of what a paticular malt tastes like from another's perspective.
Of course the section on this website "whiskies of the world" do much the same thing and are updated constantly. They do not however contain any info about the distillery, usually only reviews on the product.
The only other recomendation I can make is Whisky Handbook
by Dave Broom. This book tries to get past looking at whisky as a commodity and collects "snapshots" of interviews by people in the whisky industry about what they think of whisky and the process by which it's made. It reinforces the notion that whisky is made by people and is a craft as opposed to some routine industrial process. Well I'd better be careful here as this may lead to a debate of sorts
Hope any of this helps.