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beginner, intermediate, and advanced scripting

Hello everyone,

I was reading the "UNIX System Administration Handbook" the other day,
and I really liked the idea of programming your own scheduled
automated tasks. Mr. Holland made a very good point regarding this
"Ok, your computer is doing some "inefficient work", but that's what
computers are
good for -- working.  Save the thinking for people." - Mr. Nick Holland

Anyway, I was curious, the "UNIX System" book mentioned that Perl is a
good programming language to use for scripting, but it does not
explain why.
What are some good books for beginner through advanced scripting? I
poked around amazon.com and the user reviews are generally useless.