Physics research caught my interest right from some time in middle school/high school. I was a brilliant student and top of my class when I graduated M.Sc. in Physics from a top ranked university many years ago. (In India M.Sc. and Ph.D. are separate programs). I and my family were financially weak. After M.Sc. I made a halfhearted decision to go into a CSE program and take a job instead of going into a Physics PhD program. Not liked it much, kept slogging on. Now I decided that I will get back to physics, getting started on it with a self study. What text books would you suggest for a self-study course? Context: Should be good enough to get me started on the research part of Ph.D., more than sufficient to get past the MIT or CalTech qualifying exam. I did physics before and did well so I have some advantage, even though that was looooong years ago. Many of the courses/profs had no prescribed textbook, instead we went by lecture notes. What books have answers to problems so that I will be able to check my worked out solutions ? Independent solution manuals would also be helpful.