I love the Vogue Stitchionary 1-3. More on an aesthetic level though. Really great pictures and colors and clear, basic, easy to follow instructions.
There's almost zero commentary, narrative, or side notes, which I think is the biggest fault of the series, but, their beauty and organization easily make up for it.
Another thing I like about the books is that they use the same weight yarn for each swatch and it is well photographed in full color. It gives you a very vivid idea on how your pattern will turn out.
The Stitchionaries are useful as stitch dictionaries but they also make great coffee table books. I think even non-knitters can appreciate them. ^_^
The first book contains basic to advanced patterns consisting of knits and purls (and a few YOs). Ribbing, lace, chevron, herringbone, etc.
The second book focuses on cables.
The third focuses on colors.