Funny, I didn't read this thread before today, when I bought a Classical collection from... Naxos
I've enjoyed classical for some time, although I've never been an expert in it. So I was in my neighborhood record store this afternoon and I saw this set called "A-Z of Classical Music" from Naxos. It's basically 2 CDs with bits and pieces of around 40 different pieces, and it only cost $7.95. I thought it would be a good way to get a taste of a few things I've either never heard, or heard buy never knew the name of.
But get this... it came with a 560-page book on classical music. There's about 450 pages of information on *every* composer you could ever want to know about, including bios, type of music, recommended recordings, and further reading. Then there is a 60-page glossary of musical terms. Finally, there is a 45-page section of every major movie of the past few decades, along with the classical pieces used in the movie -- so if you hear a piece in a movie and think "I like that -- I wonder what it is?" you can just look in here
Some of the stuff in the book is a bit below me, but a *lot* of it is way above my knowledge level, so this turned out to be a great purchase for dirt.