2 formatted answer
source | link
  • What should I be reading?

It depends on your platform but since your on a deb based distro it should be easy...

https://www.torproject.org/docs/debian.html.en

  • If I use the synaptic package manager to install Tor in, say, Linux Mint, will I get the most recent stable version of Tor?

Not by default, but it will be if you get it from deb.torproject.org. See the second step of the above link.

  • When I installed Tor (briefly) some years ago through the synaptic manager, it immediately started Tor and set it running at log-in time, which I did not want. Is that still the case, and how can I avoid it?

IircIIRC turning it off is as simple as 'sudo /etc/init.d/tor stop'sudo /etc/init.d/tor stop.

  • What should I be reading?

It depends on your platform but since your on a deb based distro it should be easy...

https://www.torproject.org/docs/debian.html.en

  • If I use the synaptic package manager to install Tor in, say, Linux Mint, will I get the most recent stable version of Tor?

Not by default, but it will be if you get it from deb.torproject.org. See the second step of the above link.

  • When I installed Tor (briefly) some years ago through the synaptic manager, it immediately started Tor and set it running at log-in time, which I did not want. Is that still the case, and how can I avoid it?

Iirc turning it off is as simple as 'sudo /etc/init.d/tor stop'.

  • What should I be reading?

It depends on your platform but since your on a deb based distro it should be easy...

https://www.torproject.org/docs/debian.html.en

  • If I use the synaptic package manager to install Tor in, say, Linux Mint, will I get the most recent stable version of Tor?

Not by default, but it will be if you get it from deb.torproject.org. See the second step of the above link.

  • When I installed Tor (briefly) some years ago through the synaptic manager, it immediately started Tor and set it running at log-in time, which I did not want. Is that still the case, and how can I avoid it?

IIRC turning it off is as simple as sudo /etc/init.d/tor stop.

1
source | link

  • What should I be reading?

It depends on your platform but since your on a deb based distro it should be easy...

https://www.torproject.org/docs/debian.html.en

  • If I use the synaptic package manager to install Tor in, say, Linux Mint, will I get the most recent stable version of Tor?

Not by default, but it will be if you get it from deb.torproject.org. See the second step of the above link.

  • When I installed Tor (briefly) some years ago through the synaptic manager, it immediately started Tor and set it running at log-in time, which I did not want. Is that still the case, and how can I avoid it?

Iirc turning it off is as simple as 'sudo /etc/init.d/tor stop'.