As much as it pains me, if you are completely new to programming I have to suggest Microsoft Visual C# .NET by Joyce Farrell. She'll give you what you need to learn in a more palatable format as compared to Knuth's "The Art of Computer Programming". (I personally don't like the book, but I'm seeing various universities being successful in using it to teach their students C#.)
If you've written code before, then "Head First C#" would be a better use of your time.
Once you do get the hang of programming, at multiple points in your career, go back to read Knuth there are many kernels of learning packed in those volumes. We are lucky to have him continuing to work on it as new knowledge is gained throughout the industry.
That's true. But in my first list of books, there are books for beginners, and stemming from finishing Head First onto the other authors, it shouldn't be hard to pick up and learn the more advanced layers. Actually head first is not bad, yet it has unnecessary bad reviews, when its actually not bad at all. What are your absolute favourite beginner books?
Unfortunately, people don't do BASIC anymore, and the book fails to cover object oriented programming. It is excellent though in teaching the reader in "how to think like a programmer" without the dry approach taken by modern textbooks or CS courses.