This is not by any means meant to be a comprehensive list of available books, but rather an eclectic list by me. Links are to Amazon.com. All these books can also be found at BN.com (Barnes & Noble), or Borders.com, at most large university bookstores, or special ordered anywhere. Below is a link to AddAll.com, which is a search engine for used and out of print books. AddAll sometimes has really good prices, and often has really bad prices. Caveat Emptor. There's also a link to Half.com, which sometimes has good prices. I have no affiliation with any bookstore, and don't really care if you buy any books or not.
If you want to really learn theoretical physics, first you'll need to read and study a book on mechanics and a book on electrodynamics. There is no good book on electrodynamics at this time. Most college courses are taught out of the instructors notes, using Jackson as a reference. Mechanics will teach you about momentum, energy and LaGrangians; Electrodynamics will teach you the basic math of fields and field expansions.
You'll also need to study a graduate level book on Quantum Mechanics. This will teach you matrix mechanics, state expansions, and basic approximation theory.
Currently, there is no good book on special relativity. You're just presumed to have picked it up somewhere. Unfortunately, there's nothing to prepare you for General Relativity, you're just going to have to have your mind altered like the rest of us. I strongly prefer Weinberg, but his approach is considered dated by many. Wald is a much more modern approach, but I consider this approach a good illustration of Einstein's quote: "Ever since the mathematicians got ahold of relativity, I find that even I don't understand it."
Quantum field theory is taught out of Peskin and Shroeder everywhere.
Some years ago Gerard t'Hooft wrote an article in Scientific American on the standard model. This article is the best explanation of quarks ever written. Nothing else comes close.
Since no one understands quantum gravity, the books range from meaningless to meaningless and indecipherable.
I list no books on string theory. IMHO, string theory is mathematics, not physics.
|Books with little or no mathematics|
|Graduate level textbooks, lots of mathematics|