Just as knowing PIE and etymology can assist with learning vocabulary, I desire to learn Chinese characters from fathoming e.g. progression diagrams and their glyph origins. Your book recommendations must befit tenderfoot Anglophones who know no Chinese like me, so the book must be mostly written in English.
If you're recommending more than one book, please stipulate the difficulty of each book. I don't know how serviceable the following books are.
On Dec 6 2018, Furio Petrossi recommended
- Dileep Rajeev, Learning Chinese Characters : An Ideographic Approach
- Peng Tan Huay, Chen Huoping, Fun With Chinese Characters (3 vol.)
- J. Wu et al. The Way of Chinese Characters: The Origins of 670 Essential Words.
On May 25 2014, OneEye quipped that
Wieger's book [Chinese Characters: Their Origin, Etymology, History, Classification, and Signification: A Thorough Study from Chinese Documents] is interesting historically, it's a fun read, and at the time it was probably the best thing available in English/French. But it's badly outdated now, so I don't think anyone looking for real character etymology should bother themselves with that book. It can be a handy book for learning characters, but for that purpose I personally like Rick Harbaugh's Chinese Characters_: A Dictionary and Genealogy_ better. As I said here, it also gets a lot wrong, but it's the best thing in English right now. But actually, Wieger and Harbaugh would probably go together nicely.