Knitting for Dummies
is actually a really good book to start with. You might want to try out some books geared toward teaching kids to knit too. They are very straightforward and usually have large pictures that make it easier to see stitches.
I'd try starting out with wooden knitting needles actually. They are easier to hold and the yarn want slip/fall off the end of the needles as easily. Also, with metal needles a lot of times your hands will begin to sweat and make the needles slippery. Wood looks cooler too
Any yarn will work well, but you might find it easier to use some that isn't particularly fuzzy or really dark colored. It's easier to see what you're doing with a light, solid colored, non-fuzzy yarn.
Oh yeah, check out your local Park and Rec catalog of classes. A lot of them offer beginning knitting classes. That's where I learned to knit; I didn't personally know anyone who did it. The class was really helpful.