Thomas Biskup recommends: Player's Handbook: Core Rulebook I (Dungeons & Dragons, Third Edition)
"The player's handbook offers a lot of bang for the buck - character creation in D&D V3.5 has been improved by leaps and bounds and there is so much flexibility in the system that I personally no longer feel any real restrictions due to classes or levels. My favourites include: pick as many classes as you want, sorcerors, critical hits, the new familiar rules, feats and more. There also is some stuff that IMHO got worse from V3 to V3.5 but it's easy to ignore (e.g. weapon sizes). Definitely recommended (especially so since the ADOM RPG in the next version will also be grounded on the D20 rules)!"
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A complete list of my reading recommendations is available here.