There has been quite a bit of talk on my writer's loop recently about the basics of writing. People are looking at improving their skills by taking classes. That's not always a possibility for some people, due to time, money, or what is available in their location.
I tend to do a lot of reading on craft and have found some books that I've considered quite helpful. One of those is from the Gotham City Writers Workshop, Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide. I like the way this book tackles specific areas of writing. Through the use of a story (which is actually published in the book), each chapter author looks at how the story approaches things such as characterization, pacing, dialogue, etc.
I found this to be an excellent book, forcing me to practice the skills that they discussed. With each chapter written by a different author, you get differing views that all seem to come together and make sense. If you are looking for something to add to your library, this is a good one. It can be purchased at most major book stores across Canada and the US, or can be ordered online from Amazon.