I have had the same experience: learning on the job or from pet projects, I felt more comfortable with language documentation (and even the C++ spec) than books that re-hash the documentation and are often written with beginners in mind.
There are a few other exceptions, and what characterizes them is that they're not trying to teach a language or framework. An oft-cited example of that would be "The Pragmatic Programmer", but the one book I recommend most often is "Working Effectively with Legacy Code" by Michael C. Feathers, which is about testing. For C++ programmers, "C++ Coding Standards" by Herb Sutter and Andrei Alexandrescu is useful for working in a homogenous team.
I have finished Working Effectively with Legacy Code" this year. It's a great book, especially for those who work with C++ or Java. It's less hands-on for a ruby developer (like me) but is still an interesting and useful read.
It doesn't really address any particular language, though? I'm a PHP developer, and it's fundamentally changed how I work.
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