The following books can most be read by beginners, and most are meant for beginners. I don't cover every topic, because I don't have time to compile such a list:
History of philosophy:
-Ancient Philosophy: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy) by Christopher Shields.
(Shields has also edited a book on ancient philosophy which is much more advanced, and not as good, get this instead.)
-Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume 1: The Dawn of Analysis by Soames.
-Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume 2: The Age of Meaning by Soames.
(These books by Soames on the history of analytic philosophy are not always historically accurate, but they are still very useful and Soames writes clearly. Perhaps not for a total beginner.)
-On individual philosophers see for example The Routledge Philosophers series, some of these are more advanced.
-On some modern philosophers, you might see for example the Key Contemporary Thinkers Series, from Polity/Wiley.
Philosophy of language:
-Philosophy of Language (Fundamentals of Philosophy), by Alexander Miller.
-An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy) by Michael Morris is also readable - though Lycan's Philosophy of Language is probably better.
Philosophy of science:
-Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series) by Peter Godfrey-Smith.
-The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science (Blackwell Philosophy Guides, Vol. 7) ed. by
P. Machamer & M. Silberstein.
(The first is a popularizing introduction, the second is a little more advanced.)
-Logic, Language, and Meaning, Volume 1: Introduction to Logic by Gamut.
Additional useful books:
-Philosophy and Ordinary Language: The Bent and Genius of our Tongue (Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Philosophy) by Oswald Hanfling.
(This book by Oswald Hanfling is pretty amazing, and will change the way you approach philosophical problems, and make you realize why language is so important for philosophy. You don't have to agree with it, but it's a very useful book on philosophical methodology from the ordinary language philosophy perspective.)
-The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
by Robert Audi. Useful to have.
On Wittgenstein, because you need to read about his philosophy before you die:
-A Wittgenstein Dictionary by Hans-Johann Glock. Doesn't include the new Wittgenstein interpretations, but is still very handy.
-Wittgenstein (Arguments of the Philosophers) by Robert J. Fogelin. Get the 2nd edition.
Other good book series:
New Problems of Philosophy
Central Problems of Philosophy
Problems of Philosophy
Routledge Philosophy GuideBooks
Routledge Philosophy Companions
Cambridge Companions to Philosophy
Blackwell Companions to Philosophy Series
Regarding your comment on the big names. Philosophy does not have "normal science" and "paradigms", so you can't escape the big names approach in most introductory level textbooks. And after all, philosophy is about ideas, concepts, arguments, words, definitions, interpretations, theories, questions etc. and these don't exist in a vacuum but are what humans produce. Often philosophers are not even trying to invent theories, instead their goal might be to analyze theories.