I bought the book, Sensational socks.. which really helped me to leanr how to construct socks. Once you learn that, sock patterns are a breeze! Also, I learned to do my socks using Magic loop - so much faster and easier for me. I am learning how to do toe-up, two socks at time to help squelch my second sock syndrome.
Ravelry has oodles of great basic patterns. This one from Lion is FREE.
If you're on Ravelry, check out my group, Moving Beyond Rectangles. We are a newbie group and are all trying socks using various methods!!