You mentioned that you just recently switched to digital, do you still have your film equipment? Do you anticipate continuing to use it? Most of the major film camera manufacturers now make digital SLR's which is cool because you can sometimes use lenses from your existing film camera on the digital SLR. As well you can outright buy a digital SLR kit that would come with at least one, sometimes two lenses.
If you're serious about it, I would start reading up on, talking to people about a more powerful digital SLR. It gives you much more control over your image. Granted I do have a little point and shoot that I can just toss in my bag and go with. But when I know that I'm going out on a real shoot, I need something more powerful.
I personally shoot with a Nikon D200 when it comes to digital, but their other models D50 and D80 offer a lot of the same features, at a lower price. Go to www.nikonusa.com
and you can read up on the specs for the above mentioned cameras. I've not personally used Canon cameras, but from everything I've read they seem to be solid.
Since there aren't any classes in your area, go online and see if you can locate a local photography group, that would be a way for you to network and gain some tips/experience. Also consider what kind of photography you would want to shoot, landscapes, portraits, products. With each type comes different kinds of equipment that you will need to invest in.
Books are definitely a good way to learn things, but hands on experience and experimentation are the best, in my eyes. Go to one of the large book stores like Barnes and Noble or Borders, check out what they have on the shelves, if you see something you like, buy it online!
Most of the time it's cheaper.
Hope some part of this helped... and good luck!!!