I would just checkout one of the more common Basic compilers (MikroElectronika at www.mikroe.com, or the Proton compiler)- each of which have a full functioning, free (compile size limited), downloadable environment. Both have a pretty large user base, where people have posted project code and participate in forums, and both come with sample code for most everything you need to know. The nice thing about these environments is that they ship with basic libraries that contain a lot of functionality- things like math functions, interfaces (RS232, SPI, I2C, etc), LCD display, etc- where this saves a ton of time as a programmer new to PIC coding. You are free to write your own functionality as you require (you can even insert raw assembly into the Basic body if you want!), but using the provided functions is a good way to get some results in hours vs. weeks.
I found that the learning curve was a little steep because some of the core PIC stuff (terms like TRIS, CMCON, ADCON) are used without any explanation; these are fundamental concepts to the PICs, and most uCs in general, and I think authors tend to forget to start at the beginning. So, maybe download a compiler, open a sample project, and then spend a couple of hours Online figuring out what some of the native PIC commands actually mean. I think it would be difficult to read through a book or a PIC data sheet and have any retetion of what you have read- even 1 chapter later... Then, hit up the support forums- people are often very helpful.