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I wouldn't recommend K & R to a beginner. To a first approximation C is portable assembly language and Kernigan and Ritchie wrote for an audience approximating their coworkers at Bell Labs - people with experience in Assembly language.

A book I would recommend, particularly if Zed Shaw's Learn the Hard Way does not appeal to you is Head First C.[1] The underlying pedagogy of programmed instruction is similar. The exercises are more diverse, the tone is lighter, and the overall presentation more approachable.

Good luck.

[1]: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920015482.do

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