If someone asked me how they could learn to cook, I would encourage them to buy "I'm Just Here For the Food" by Alton Brown. This is a book that will teach you the science behind cooking. I love how the book is divided into sections based on type of cooking: Searing, Grilling, Roasting, Frying, Boiling, Braising, Brining, Sauces, Eggs, and Microwaving. It teaches you the basics about each method and which food is the best to use. If you've ever been to the grocery store, looked at the beef counter and wondered what to choose and how to cook it, this book will help you.
The book is a teaching book but still contains plenty of great recipes. I recommend his recipes for Marinated Flank Steak and Skirt Steak. There is also a magnet set included that show you where each cut of meat comes from on the animal, which can help you determine whether a cut needs to be cooked for hours or just a few minutes.
So if you want a colorful, fun way to learn how to cook, pick up this book today.