With Make: Electronics, you'll learn all of the basic components and important principles through a series of "learn by discovery" experiments.
Make publications does it again with a killer beginner projects book. It has excellent, full-colour illustrations, clever experiments, and pretty much covers what happens when you finish building the project.
Get step-by-step instructions on building working devices that demonstrate fundamentals such as voltage, amperage, resistance, inductance, and capacitance. Then tackle more complex electronics concepts, including analog/digital conversion, logic gates, and integrated circuits. Along the way, you'll learn valuable tips and techniques, always with clear explanations of what you're doing and why.
If you've always wanted to learn electronics, but were intimidated by other books and overly-technical websites, this book is for you! It's an excellent companion to the Forrest Mimms series of beginner publications (which take a more homey, notebook-like approach)
You can download a PDF sample of the book here.