I am a non-Muslim, a librarian, and an amateur researcher. I'm tired of hearing the media's take on Islam, and want to learn more about the faith and way of life so I can know the truth, instead of the media's spin on it. Where would you suggest I begin my search?
There's resources online:
Central to Islam is the Qur'an and ahadith, which are the natural starting points. The Qur'an can be downloaded in .pdf form (Google
quran pdffor various translations), and ahadith can be found at sunnah.com (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are generally considered reliable).
(There's a zillion other webpages, but many are trying to push some kind of "how I interpret Islam is correct" agenda.)
However, to get a realistic understanding of how Islam is practiced, nothing beats getting to know Muslims, or going to Muslim-majority countries and seeing things for yourself.