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People may complain all they want about the overall book or even Python 3 in general, but the chapter about strings (http://diveintopython3.org/strings.html) is amazingly good and will help you understand a lot about encodings, internal string representation and how to read/write strings to the outside world.

Of course a lot of the chapter is python 3 specific, but IMHO p3's handling of strings and encodings is very well done.

Provided that the strings you are going to deal with can be represented in Unicode, which still isn't always the case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_unification#Rationale_and_c...




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