I have done a lot of random reading over the past year. However I haven't been able to lock myself down to a specific setup.
You just said it yourself. Reading about it isn't going to get you where you need to be before you can wisely lay down $15k on equipment that meets your needs. You will need some experience first.
I'm about 10 weeks ahead of where you are right now. I started with a $150 refractor on a GEQ mount to get my feet wet. From that experience I learned that for my viewing "style", I needed to have a scope that tracks. So I narrowed the choice for my first "real" scope down to an Orion XTg or a Celestron C8 Edge HD. I decided to go with the XTg because ultimately I want to have an AP setup *and* a visual scope, and the XTg can stand in as my visual scope for a good while. I've currently got about $2k in my scope and eye pieces and after just a few uses (darned clouds) I now realize that this modest setup could keep me busy for years. I couldn't even make use of more than I have right now.
AP is still on my horizon but that horizon has moved much further out than I originally thought - I now realize that I need to learn the sky, learn the best viewing locations near me, learn the size of different objects that I'd be interested in photographing, and probably learn bunch more stuff that I don't even know I need to learn, before I can wisely spend more dough on AP equipment.
So my advice is to stop reading and agonizing about telescopes and just pull the trigger on one. If you really can't decide (my situation), then buy a "throwaway" one with the idea that you won't keep it. That takes all the pressure off, and gets you logging observing hours and learning what your preferences are. That's the most important thing.