I've been looking through these books again, and it strikes me that only a couple are very good and most of them are terrible.
First the good. The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch. This is a wonderful book. It has lots of clearly presented information, plus recipes and detailed information about ingredients and properties of each. It also has a technical section on the chemistry of soapmaking, which is very instructive and interesting. This author also wrote The Natural Soap Book which I need to add to my library.
The other book I like is Melinda Coss's The Handmade Soap Book. Lucky for me, this was the first soaping book I bought and I fell in love with the idea of soapmaking because of the gorgeous photos in this book. It's soap Pr0n, I tell you. This one is mostly recipes, but I can't comment on how good they are because right from the start, I developed my own recipes.
The rest of the books were a waste of money. And of course I must mention that Norma Coney's well-known book, The Complete Soapmaker, is basically famous for an error stating that you should add water to lye, rather than lye to water -- remember *snow on the lake*. . . This is basically a rebatching book, rather than a true soapmaking book, which is the problem with a lot of books out there.
If you are interested in learning to make soap, then spend some time at Kathy Miller's Soap site. Another good resource is the Latherings Forum. This board used to be very active, but honestly I'm not sure if it still is. I think there were some issues with people posting about great deals from other soaping supply vendors, which was a problem since the owner of the board is also a vendor.
I use the Lye Calculator at Magestic Mountain Sage for creating my formulas. I print this off and file it in a notebook to keep a copy of exactly what I made.
My cutter and mold are ready to go Monday morning when the kids go back to school!
I walked this morning and listened to The Craftypod, my new favorite podcast. Sister Diane has such a mellow, professional sound, she's very soothing to listen to. The program I listened to was on crafty resolutions. I'm definitely going to check out the bookmark organizers she mentioned, delicious and Blinklist. My bookmarks are 6 years worth of disaster, so this is a great find.