"Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing"
Do not be dissuaded!
THe book is excellent- I have barely begun to delve into it and already fond visions of cured meats torments my dreams!
The book is very approachable to amateurs, but seems technical enough for those of us with more kitchen experience.
Another book that seems to have a great deal of charcuterie info that can be tackled in the home is "Garde Manger" from the CIA's curriculum- I know it's heavy on pates, but there is a lot of great stuff in there.
Don't miss Bruce Adiell's "Susage making", either
I purchased it in 2006. I've tried a number of recipes - all great! This book has recipes, but it also explains "why" well enough so you understand how & when you can modify successfully. I've also taken workshops from the co-author, Brian Polcyn. He is a very knowledgeable chef & instructor. The thread on egullet (this is very long, covers several years) is fantastic - lots of photos of work in progress & many relevant resources shared.
If you are interested in sausage it is really a must have!
A little over a year ago, we bought our first (1/2) pig and began to make our own sausage. I found Sonoma Mountain Sausage to be a great on-line resource with lots of great recipes; see http://home.pacbell.net/lpoli/index.htm. It is maintained by a sausage lover as a free site. The Ruhlman book is good but pretty rudimentary -- certainly not a bad place to start. The bible for many sausage makers seems to be Rytek Kutas, Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing, The Sausage Maker Inc., 1984. The Sausage Maker and Butcher & Packer are both useful websites if you need to order supplies. We're so smitten with charcuterie that we're building a root cellar so we can cure our own salumis. I also made my own pate this winter -- see Stéphane Reynaud's "Pork and Sons" for a great book on pig and delicious French recipes from the Rhones-Alpes. This weekend I may tackle head cheese.