I’d suggest doing as much listening as you can. Much better ROI than reading. :)
near field or far field?
I'll need to do listening yes. I plan on taking a trip to a hifi store soon. And probably far-field. Not looking to spend huge bucks, but space is a huge concern of mine.
The room will have huge impact on far field, don't get crazy about how flat a speaker might measure since most are done anechoically. and as @zonto said listen. Perhaps attend a diy speaker meet or local audio club. Lots of value in well done DIY.
Separate names with a comma.