there are some good books. jim dodge's american baker is still classic. nick malgieri has a how to bake book that's good. Sherry Yard's Secrets of Baking might appeal to you ... she tackles one big concept and then spins it off into different uses. i've always wanted to cook my way through lindsay shere's chez panisse desserts ... everything i've made from there has been fantastic. Or you can just wait a year ... i have it on good authority that there is a bouchon bakery book in the works.
in my experience, pastry, more than savory cooking, is a matter of touch and feel. i did a piece once where i made a couple of pies every week for a whole summer, trying to find the perfect crust recipe. what i found was that at the end of the summer, i could get a pretty good crust out of almost any recipe. it was just a matter of how i worked it.