My current fav is the new, totally oversized Gourmet, collected recipes by Gourmet mag. It's a giant yellow book that you can get at the library. It's fun to read and the steps are pretty easy. There's a lot of info in there. It's notvegetarian, but there are lots of recipes that veggies can eat, or you can adapt. Wonderful stories, too.
My fav veggie cookbook is Laurel's Kitchen. It reads like a novel sometimes. There are lots of editions, so check that out. The later editions have tasty, but more more simplified recipes that just work better, imo. Anything by Molly Kazten is nice as well. Vegan Planet is also an amazing book and filled with recipes even carniores would like.
The Joy of Cooking is a good textbook, but it is very dry and boring.
Julia Child's How To Cook is nice, with lots of great pix. This is where you will learn how to take a part a chicken for chicken soup, how to make a nice white sauce, a pie crust, how to use herbs etc. In this way, the Joy of Cooking is great, but it doesn't have Julia's neat tone or the pix.