My current night time reading consists of two books:
The Essential Guide to Employment Laws by Lisa Guerin and Amy Delpo
The Employer's Legal Handbook by Fred S. Steingold (from Nolo)
Not exactly Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton, but it holds my interest in the HR World.
One very easy read is "Winning" by Jack and Suzy Welch. I received this book from my CEO when I was hired but before I started (a few months lag time). I enjoyed it and it is still on my bookshelf.
Another one he has since given most of the employees (not just HR) is "Jacked Up" by Bill Lane who was Jack Welch's speechwriter for many years. It is a little nonsequential but makes some really good points on how to make better presentations.
Honestly, I have also found that academically the textbooks for the CEBS certification and PHR/SPHR certifications to be full of good academic information.
If you arelimited on time, iTunes also has SHRM podcast available for free.
The Employer's Legal Handbook (not very deep but it casts a wide net and answers a lot of basic questions and it's updated by web so you don't have to buy one every month with each new court case and statute.) (Seingold, NOLO press)
The FMLA (Aitchison, LRIS publishers) <- in depth. Still has some holes in things it addresses, but this law is a black hole of questions anyway, so that's no knock. Valuable resource.
Good to Great is an exceptional business book, also. I strongly recommend it to everybody who manages anything or anyone.
John Kotter, "Leading Change" is a great book.
John Boudreau & Peter Ramstad, "Beyond HR: The New Science of Human Capital".
Mary Cook, "Complete Do-it Yourself HR Department".
TXHRGuy - where do you get the Employer's Legal Handbook via web that is continually updated? I have only had/seen print copies of this.
It's a good source for all things legal. It's not a web version of the book, but they make updates available so you don't have to buy a new book every time you turn around, you can just print the updates. For example, if you look up employees or human resources, there's a section at the bottom entitled "Legal updates to nolo products". It is not a highly detailed book but usually gives you what you are looking for if you get hit with something you haven't thought about for a long time or at the least lets you know what you should be digging into further.
They have a lot of articles there, too.
Here is a link to a site that lists recommened reading for HR professionals.
I would recommend anything by Ulrich in terms of HR becoming more of a strategic player.
The Employee Relations books by Nolo are also a good resource and give good direction on those difficult employee relations issues.
For training, I guess I'm old fashion but if you can find a copy of the Mager Six Pack you will be far ahead of many, plus its a fun read.
Compensation, read Lawler.
The best book that I have read in quite some time is What Got You There, Won't Get You Here by Malcolm Goldsmith, excellent work.
For Strength based coaching you cannot go wrong on the Buckingham series.
That should keep you busy for a while.