My understanding of conceptual metaphor is based on the Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), developed by George Lakoff and his colleagues and followers throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. I am an entry-level researcher, who was hooked on the topic, and my work, of course, is not the ultimate truth.
Introduction to the field of the CMT
Lakoff, George; Johnson, Mark. 1980. Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lakoff, George; Turner, Mark. 1989. More than cool reason: A field guide to poetic metaphor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The following books have very well written introductory chapters on metaphor and many other basic concepts of cognitive linguistics:
Geeraerts, Dirk. 2006. Cognitive linguistics: Basic readings. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Geeraerts, Dirk; Cuyckens, Hubert. 2007. The Oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Visit George Lakoff’s website for all other books on metaphor, framing and mind. Check also the following:
Turner, Mark. 1991. Reading minds: the study of English in the age of cognitive science. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Johnson, Mark. 1987. The body in the mind: the bodily basis of meaning, reason and imagination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kövecses, Zoltan. 2010. Metaphor: a practical introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kövecses, Zoltan. 2005. Metaphor in culture. Universality and Variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gibbs, Raymond, W.Jr. The poetics of mind. Figurative thought, language, and understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dancygier, Barbara; Sweetser, Eve. 2014. Figurative language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Evans, Vyvyan; Green, Melanie C. 2006. Cognitive linguistics: an introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Fauconnier, Gilles; Turner, Mark. 2003. The way we think: conceptual blending and the mind’s hidden complexities. New York: Basic Books.