Oh boy, Ralph Blum. He's an odd character in my opinion. A lot of people, including myself give him credit for sparking a big interest in runes in the United States. Blum was not entirely worthless as many rune workers will say. His interpretations of the runes and his basic info he supplied was a good start for people to build on. The main blunder he did was to try and change the system and try to go against the tradition. He added a blank rune, essentially for the fun of it. Ralph's book is good if you take a sharpie and hunt through the book and eradicate the blank rune sections lol.
Books I suggest are:
The Runic Workbook by Tony Willis
Runes: Understanding, Casting, and Divination by Jonathan Dee
The Runes Workbook by Leon D. Wild
Elements of the Runes by Bernard King
Northern Magic: Rune Mysteries and Shamanism by Edred Thorsson
Something I'd like to add to this post, if you don't mind, is that some good woods that I have worked with are apple which is associated with Idunn, oak which is related to Thor, yew which is related to Freyr, and ash which is connected to Odin.
Also a good cloth to cast runes on is a simple white bandana. You can get them at Wal-mart either in men's clothing or the fabric's section. A good pouch is made from organic materials as that shows a connection with the Earth. I would go with cotton.
Thank you for info moon