I went through a similar process, eventually getting a reasonable handle on C4D through a variety of sources: as an introduction I went through the C4D courses at lynda.com, these were a really good intro to the interface and basic concepts. With that on board I joined http://www.c4dcafe.com - as I set myself more and more complex projects I used the cafe to get answers to specific problems I was having, or ways to approach a piece. The people there are every bit as helpful and approachable as on the Cow. Finally, I would occasionally use http://www.cineversity.com
If you are willing to invest in a book than I would advise instead investing in a couple of online subscriptions. I found I learnt a lot quicker and more easily using a structured approach and although a book does give you that I found the extra interactive nature of doing things online and seeing video tutorials suited me much better.