From a technical perspective, books that try to teach PHP and MySQL tend to be stronger and more accurate than other web development manuals: unlike browsers and HTML, servers are not forgiving of poorly written PHP. The complex nature of server-side languages also makes communicating their technicalities challenging. Obviously I’m trying to do the best I can in this blog, but if you wanted a traditional book, I would recommend that you read one from the list below.
The Peachpit series have been a favourite of mine for a long time; they are somewhat technically competent, well-written, and relatively inexpensive.
For an introduction to PHP I would recommend that you start with PHP for the Web: Visual QuickStart Guide, a well-written and approachable book that steps you through installing Apache and PHP and starts with some simple scripts. If you want something more in-depth (and a book that covers the content of more of my classes, if you are taking them), I would suggest PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide.