I’ve been intrigued by the idea of The Best Books on any one (or all!) subject(s) for a while. Some time back I started http://www.septivium.com/ to try and begin compiling such a list, or at least gather some support from elsewhere, although it never went very far. There are always more books, and always less time!
If you haven’t seen Ask Metafilter’s thread from 2007 about the best books for particular fields, you might find that interesting. I extracted the books here, although the original thread is worth a read too: http://www.septivium.com/b/2009/05/07/mefi/