ok, i actually just got started with linux myself. I have a laptop that was just begging to be played around with. So i got my sister to burn a copy of RH9 for me (i was offline at the time). Couldn't for the life of me get that thing to work. Until i hit the library (yay for free i-net) and looked around online for some help. So i printed a bunch of laptop-specific info and went to work. I got it to install... then i said "ok, now what?" i was staring at a command line with no idea what to do.
After another trip to the library I came home with one book: "Running Linux" distributed by o'reilly. That book was the single most helpful tool i had (with the man pages of course). It doesn't really go into security aside from "don't use root" and "give root a complex password" but for me it was a great stepping stone (having had no *nix experience earlier).
Also, i might have just missed reading this, but did anyone suggest the linux documentation project? http://www.tldp.org/ lots of great howtos and other stuff.
doesn't it feel good to be one step closer to being free from microsoft?