Reginald Braithwaite encourages us to go beyound the cut-paste action. I agree completely, I consider search for code is like a block. Copy-paste can help you get through your current block, but that is the furthest you can go with it. Every block is a learning opportunity that will help you cross all your future blocks. You can take much more than just functionality from a piece of code, the good way of writing code, the idiomatic uses, reuse and most importantly capabilities of the language. So I try to follow this advice to the best of my ability.
What I cannot follow is to read the books. It has been quite a while since I have read a full book on programming language. They always seem stale and incomplete when compared to the intelligent and insightful discussions in the online world.
So what do I do? I read individuals, like Reginald. Like Sam Ruby, Tim Bray, Bjarne Stroustrup, Bill Venners, Ian Bicking, Martin Fowler, Steve Yegge, Paul Graham, Obie Fernandez, Kevin Barnes, Bruce Eckel, Bill de hÓra, you can find the treasure in my blogshelf, and it is still growing. If you cannot follow individual people, follow other aggregators and planets. Yes, nowadays I prefer a blogshelf to a bookshelf. Mind you, there are not only blogs, there are papers, experiments, even short books, wikis, but available online. These people not only help you understand theory behind the code, but they also push it to extremes to give you a glimpse of the possibilities. And that is what one needs to understand to be able to not only read the code, but also rewrite it for a particular scenario. That is it, they help me understand not only what a piece of code can do, but also what I can do with that piece of code.
So, are all programming language books dispensible? No, but I would say they are not sufficient. I will suggest read the online documentation, tutorials and follow the individuals who experiment with the language. The next time you lay your hands on a ready-made piece of code, google for the keywords and try to read what these individuals say about them. That will give you a much better picture and a much better understanding of what you can do with it.