I do swatch for socks because if my gauge is off, they truly won't fit.
About sock books--this one is my favorite:
Sensational Knitted Socks
by Charlene Schurch
I like it because it does cover several types of patterns for the top of the sock, and it provides "recipes" for making several different sizes. It also gives a detailed explanation of the "anatomy" of a sock which really helped me in my understanding of how a knitted sock comes together. It also has a nice troubleshooting section to help with solutions to common sock problems. It really is a nice book.