There are zillions of books on meditation, but there are very few we would recommend, especially for somebody just starting out.
Below you’ll find just the books we feel are the most helpful and clear.
If you want to dig deeply into the meditation system invented by Shinzen Young, that Jessica Graham and Michael Taft (mostly) use in their teaching and writing, here is an enormous, comprehensive, and highly technical—and totally free of charge—PDF file, entitled The Five Ways to Know Yourself.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki
Start Where You Are, by Pema Chodron
Meditation for Beginners, by Jack Kornfield
Mindfulness for Beginners, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Gunaratana
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, by Joseph Goldstein
Break Through Pain, by Shinzen Young
And I have to add in my own book:
The Mindful Geek, by Michael W. Taft
The End of Your World, by Adyashanti — (I highly recommend this text for anyone with advanced experience in meditation. The audio version is also excellent. ~ MWT)
Buddha’s Brain, by Rick Hanson
Hardwiring Happiness, by Rick Hanson
When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron — (This may be the best book in the world for going through a devastating emotional period, like when a loved one dies or a marriage breaks up. ~ MWT)
The Places that Scare You, by Pema Chodron
Shambhala: The Sacred Heart of the Warrior, by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Feel free to suggest other titles you love in the comments below.