I recently got a copy of Simplicity's Fabric Guide: The Ultimate Fiber Resource, which was released in 2011. For a sewist who's getting back in the game, like me, it is the perfect companion. The book comes packed with all sorts of info - from a brief history of fabric to caring for and working with fabric.
There's a whole chapter with basic information on different types of fabric, including each fabric's characteristics, uses, and sewing tips. This is definitely a helpful tool when selecting fabric for your projects.
Lots of tips on fabric preparation
There's also a whole chapter on threads.
The brief history of fabric was definitely a teaser - I'd have enjoyed more info on that topic. Even though the book is excellent for newbies, I don't think seasoned sewists will find it as useful. If you've been sewing for a while, you probably know most of the stuff by heart, so it may be a boring read.
The book is meant to be a guide to turn to again and again for most basic sewing questions. Overall, I think it is a must-have when you're starting out.