I've also been looking at Modern Compiler Implementation in ML, but have no experience in compilers (no courses, work, anything). Should I read Aho first, or is that one I could dive right into?
I haven't read the newer edition of the dragon book, but MCIiML is a much better starting place than the old dragon.
Relevant recent comments:
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1820858 (on parsing + how I feel about the dragon book)
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1822515 (more book, etc. suggestios)