Arguably a 'pimp the link' but as it's more of a recommendation than a "here's a good link" I've put it here. Marc, if you wish to move it elsewhere, be my guest.
I've mentioned this book before (purely because it was recommended to me by someone I respect) but this is the first time I've had a copy myself so would like to reinforce the recommendation now I've had a chance to look through it. So this is really from first impressions as opposed to having gone through the whole thing page by page.
Basically, if you are interested in learning After Effects then buy a copy of the thrid edition of Chris and Trish Meyer's "Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects volume 1".
Book details at http://www.cmpbooks.com/product/1246
Remember to get the 3rd edition which is only recently released though. Time will prove me false but (at the time I'm writing this) I could not source a copy of the 3rd edition from any high street book shop I visited and asked (in the UK) or from amazon.co.uk. Email me if you want to know where I got mine.
The freebies on the accompanying disk are worth more then the cost of the book itself. If you attempted to source them yourself you would most certianly be well into three figures!
The thing I like about it (from my first flick through) is that it addresses the tool in a "why and when" approach rather then "if you do this then this happens" approach which you often find.
I mean, it's all well and good knowing that if you click here and hit that key there you get a travelling matt (or whatever) but if you're new you need to understand what a travelling matt is and when and why you might choose to want one. get my point?
And a note on the last page indicates that the 3rd edition of volume 2 (for AE6.5) will be released in the Spring of 2005 so you may choose to want to wait rather than get the current one (for AE5.5).
No promises, but maybe I'll write a more formal review, with more substance, when I've gone through the book more. But don't hold your breath because there is months (rather than weeks) of material in there.
Thanks for listening (ok, reading then). Alan