This question comes from Adrianna, a client of mine...and it's one I'm asked a lot.
Can you recommend a beginners tarot book and deck?
Here's my response to her:
Do you have my book Back in Time Tarot? If not, please get it. :o) It's great for beginners and has the entire Universal Waite Tarot reproduced in it for those who don't have a deck. To see if you resonate with this type of personal journaling, you can see some samples of my BIT Tarot Method here.
If you have a Kindle, and you're an absolute beginner, consider my eBook Tarot Basics to get you started. Also, you can learn the Tarot card-by-card via my Tarot Explorations series (click here to see all the eBooks available).
Other fantastic books are Mark McElroy's Absolute Beginner's Guide to Tarot, as well as his book What's in the Cards for You? Learning the Tarot by Joan Bunning is also good , but she has the whole book already on her site at LearnTarot.com.
The best Tarot deck is the one you resonate with. I have tons of reviews on my site with lots of card images to give you a feel of the variety out there at this link. If you like snow, frost, winter and even Christmas, check out the Snowland Deck that my husband and I created on SnowlandDeck.com.
Since many Tarot books and blogs reference Rider-Waite-Smith style decks, you may want to check out the Universal Waite (one of the most attractive of the RWS decks).
For example, Mary K. Greer's 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card is superb, and should definitely be on your shelf after you work through the beginner books I mentioned.
But if you're starting out completely fresh with the cards, the resources I've mentioned in this post will more than get you on your way...especially if you actually do the exercises or contemplate the questions offered in each book.