I don't think the Camel is a bad first choice provided you already have grounding in another programming language. The Camel is a great reference and serious programmers will probably wind up buying it (and others) anyway. If Perl was your first programming language then I could see your point.
I'd recommend The Perl Cd Bookshelf, Version 3.0, if you can afford it. You get Programming Perl, Learning Perl, Perl Cookbook and 4 other books as well. If you can't spring the $80 USD though, you can pick up older, used versions for as little as $13 USD from the bookseller whose name should not be spoken. You'd spend almost that much ($80 USD) if you bought any two of the three books mentioned separately.
Also, the Cookbook provides great examples/explanations for common programming tasks.
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