Submission + - Ask Slashdot: new to Linux, which build? ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: I'm a very new user to Linux looking for a distro that allows me to control and customize, but I'm not sure where to start. I had a friend install Ubuntu 12.04 on my computer, with the E17 window manager and somehow I managed to crash it during the copying of some non-important files and now my computer won't boot (the hardware's fine though). I've found descriptions of Arch Linux to be spot on to what I'm looking for and want ( /. user serviscope_minor mentioned Arch a couple weeks ago and it caught my attention), but my experience in the terminal is literally about an hour.
That said, I really want to learn more, don't mind hard work, enjoy challenges, and am perfectly willing to spend hours and hours for months on end to learn command line.
I grew up in Windows, and these days use a notebook running an old version of Ubuntu with GNOME exclusively--I'm comfortable in the GUI of Linux systems, but that doesn't translate into any kind of behind-the-scenes ability...
Any suggestions, projects to start with, books to read, or tutorials to do to try would be appreciated.

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