What are the best reads for the field of SEO (search engine optimization)?
Personally, I'd say: the anatomy of a large scale hypertextual search engine (by the google co-founders, about Google search engine, in 1998)
Kleinberg's hubs & authorities algorithm, which has some parallels with the Google paper
WebmasterWorld's forums...I participate there as well, but, the archives are where most of the awesome stuff is.
Google issues an SEO best practices paper on their blog recently, download the PDF...also, read up on their webmaster section, etc.
After all that...you'll be ahead of 50% of the people who do it professionally.
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Seach Engine Optimization has a wide scope and I would recommend you start reading blog posts on SEOmoz.org. They have a wide array of articles that willl help you become a certified SEO professional.