There are certain technical books that are considered classics - the Ansel Adams Camera/Negative/Print trio, the Henry Horenstein Basic Black& White Photography and Beyond Basic Photography volumes. Depending on your interests, there are plenty of other technical books worth owning, from Theresa Airey's Creative Photo Printmaking to the Tim Rudman books on Lith printing if you're interested in silver gelatin enlarging. If alternative processes are your bent, the Christopher James Book of Alternative Photographic Processes and the John Barnier Coming Into Focus volumes are good overviews. Gordon Hutchings' Book of Pyro is a great volume on using Pyro developers for film. Dick Arentz' Platinum and Palladium Printing and Sullivan and Weese's The New Platinum Print are single-process must-have books if you want to print in platinum/palladium. Depending on your interests, you can go really far down the garden path into specific areas like wet plate collodion.

There are too many good books to even begin listing studio lighting tomes, so I won't even try.

When it comes to photographers, ignore the herd and collect work by people who interest you. Spend time in your local bookstore - I'm sure there is an equivalent in Boston to The Strand/Moe's/Green Apple/Second Story Books that has a broad and deep photo section. If you see something that perks your interest visually, buy it and keep looking it over to understand what it is about it that attracts your interest.