This is a very good book for someone looking to get started with PIC mcu's. I will warn you up front, the book uses ~$500us in products to get you started driving small motors with PIC's. It uses the PIC BASIC PRO compiler, which is about ~$250us, and an experimenters board from the same company. You do not need to spend this much to get your systems up and running, but the BASIC language is geared for beginners. Microchip gives out their IDE, MPLAB, for free and lite versions of their C language compilers. The term "lite" refers only to the lack of code optimization, other than that they seem to be full featured. I personally use Mplab X, in Linux fedora, and it seems to work fine. Microchip actually sells a couple of inexpensive development tools, most notably the microstick ( ~$25us ), but they also have a new line of arduino compatible devices that can be reflashed to use as a pic platform. You can even breadboard a microcontroller, and just buy an Mplab compatible programmer. The PicKit2 is a very popular model, and somewhat open source, but it will not program Pic32 parts like the PicKit 3 will.
... Now back to the book because that is really what reviews are all about.
I got a lot of great information from reading this book. Even though I program in C, this book offers a great deal of insight as to the algorithms needed to design a motor control system. This book also gives great details about the internal layout of the PIC. I think it is a must read for anyone interested in learning about the PIC microcontroller. I would have easily given it 5 stars, but I do not like the fact it is written around the BASIC language. The C language is really easy to understand, and I think there may actually be less commands, but I could be slightly biased. Once you have learned one language, it is easy to learn more...
I recommend reading "The C Programming Language. second edition" ISBN-10: 0131103628 ISBN-13: 978-0131103627
It is only 274 pages, but there is a lot of great information contained inside, not to mention the book was written by the creator of the language! For a free compiler to use with the examples in the book, I would recommend GCC, which is available at sourceforge.net. A quick web search should put you in the right direction.
Sorry to be so winded, but I just want to make sure you know what you are getting into.
Good luck with the wonderful world of microcontrollers and embedded systems.