The NEW Joy of Digital Photography (Lark Photography Book) is widely considered the number one best graduation present among photography books. I'm honored to hear this and I had absolutely no influence over their decision. And ignore all rumors that I am the sole member of that super-secret secret intellectual society.
But since we're on the topic of Joy (and truly, who doesn't need more joy in their life?), I will say that it's easily the best general photography book that I've ever written. The book presumes no knowledge of photography or cameras, and the author skillfully manages to weave the wonder of digital cameras and technology into a classic book (oh, wait, there I got talking about myself in the third person again) on all aspects of photography: lighting, composition, camera handling, imagination, etc. And the book is illustrated by hundreds (probably more than 400, but I never actually counted) of photos by myself and some of the world's great shooters: Boyd Norton, Derek Doeffinger, Ralph Lee Hopkins (wait until you see his cool wildlife shots), Jim Zuckerman, Ron Niebrugge, Julia Cutter and many others.
OK, that's the end of the commercial :) I just thought I'd give myself a little spring promotion! Oh, and if you happen to live in a rural (or Native American) community that can't afford to buy books these days: I'll send them a copy for free. Just have the librarian contact me. Come to think of it, that goes for just about any library that wants a copy, as long as I can afford to send them.