I've started many hobbies by trying to learn them on my own. I don't think woodworking is a good hobby to learn on your own. I would recommend taking a beginner class on woodworking. Local woodworking stores, high schools and technical colleges often have classes geared towards the beginning woodworker.
Power tools are can be very dangerous. However, with proper instruction they are safer to use. I would not let anyone I know use a table saw or jointer without first at least watching it in person. Books, magazines and the Internet are all great places for gathering information. However, reading about using tools and actually using tools are two totally different things.
I took a beginning woodworking class years ago. While the class itself wasn't great, it allowed me to try all the tools under the supervision of an instructor without actually spending a penny on tools. Had I not taken that class I would have spent too much money on cheap tools and then just replaced them with adequate tools later on. Knowing what tools to get can only come from experience. The perfect tool for one person isn't necessarily perfect for the next