Reading books is a great help to the backpacking crowds. Whether it be a guide, a backpackers journal log, or even a good humored novel! They can all be a great insight as to different aspects of what you need for the trail, as well as a brief insight to living on the trail. Of course though, the guides are highly important as they provide detailed information as to where everything is located on the trail.
It is highly likely that the trail that you want to hike, or at least that general area, has some sort of writing on it, somewhere. So, go and pick it up and get to reading!