You are so right to put the buzzzzzz out on those two books, Mzz. Bee. (As for late in the game, I'll smack you around about that later).
When I plan a trip, I've got a Secor on my left, the topos in front of me, and a glass of wine in my right. It's a good overview of most of the peaks, and a good place to get the starter information (ie: is this peak technical or not, feasibility for solo or not). After figuring the route in my head and on the map, I usually go to summitpost.org for more information, trip reports, and photos.
FOTH was the textbook for the Wilderness Training Course (WTC)
that I took back in 2007. When I started doing more technical rock climbing last summer I read the center sections that covered that sort of information (not covered in the class). Again, excellent overview, illustrations, and instructions, and it led me to other texts with more detailed information.
But you're right, Bee. What I see more and more often are people wandering out onto the trails completely unprepared or unaware of what they are getting themselves into. Just a little preparation can go a long way to heighten safety and pleasure in the BC, and can be the difference between success and epic.
And yes, Bee, Finger Peaks is actually the first day of the Sierra Challenge this summer. Perhaps a scouting trip is in order?