If you’re interested getting an electronics tinkering hobby off the ground this detailed list of things you’ll need (including why you’ll need them and how to get the best value) is an excellent starting place.
Kenneth Finnegan started his adventures in electronics tinkering a little over two years ago and in that time advanced from being a complete beginner to putting together some really advanced projects. After his projects started appearing on popular hacking/electronics blogs like Hack A Day he decided to put together a guide to help out all the new hobbyists who were emailing him about his projects and what kind of gear they should get.
His buying guide covers books, equipment, development tools, components, and analog chips. His list is very detailed with links galore and plenty of explanation for a new hobbyist.