Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy National Library Week!

It's National Library Week, and no one loves to support libraries more than B-Logistics! We love to help libraries, foundations, and Friends of the Library groups re-sell weeded and donated materials to help raise extra funds for their organizations. We also love library humor, and are thankful that we have a "Netflix for Books" available to us in our communities!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, John Steinbeck!

Happy Birthday to John Steinbeck! The author of 27 books, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, he is one of the greatest American authors.

In honor of John Steinbeck’s birthday today, I decided to write a review of his novel “Of Mice and Men”. I recently read this book for the first time as part of my goal to read one book a week (or 52 total) in 2013. I don’t know how I missed out on reading this book in high school, but I decided it was time to tackle it.

It has been a while since I read a Steinbeck novel, the most recent being “The Winter of Our Discontent”, two years ago. I had forgotten how easy it is to read Steinbeck; he doesn’t beat around the bush, and provides vivid imagery to set the scene for the reader.

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the book, and wish to do so without preconceived notions, please do not read any further!

Since the book is very short (only 107 pages), I was able to read it in one day. I enjoy reading this way because I can stay in the story and take everything in in one fell swoop. I had heard that the book was very sad, and those anecdotes proved true.

 The book tells the story of George Milton and Lenny Small, two migrant workers who struggle to find and keep work due to Lenny’s mental disability. While Lenny is a bit of a gentle giant, his inability to know and control his own actions repeatedly gets the duo into trouble.

One of the main themes of the book is essentially “The American Dream”. Published in 1937, the book tells the story of individuals who yearn for independence, and a life under their own power. Most of the characters in the book are poor, and beholden to others for their pay, food, and shelter. Throughout the book, George and Lenny spread their dream of “living of the fatta the lan’”, and having their own farm in a location that only George knows about. There is a triumphant moment in the second half of the book where it seems that this dream is really going to come true. As a reader, I felt very happy for George at this moment, because as tough as he wants to seem, he has a kind heart and is a good person for taking care of Lenny. Unfortunately, Steinbeck is as cruel as most authors, and disaster prevents this American dream from coming true.

Another theme in the book is loyalty. As I mentioned previously, George is essentially Lenny’s caretaker. They are repeatedly questioned as to why they traveled together, which indicates that this kind of loyalty was not common at the time. Lenny is strong as an ox which makes him a good worker, but has the mind of a child, which creates many problems for George. George hints throughout the book that he is resentful towards Lenny, and that it would be easier for him to go out on his own, but he never abandons him, and does everything he can to help Lenny navigate life. It is really sweet how George takes care of Lenny, even in the end when Lenny accidentally murders a woman, and George kills him to prevent a gruesome death at the hands of the woman’s husband. It was very sad to read about Lenny’s demise, but also made me see that George always did what was best for Lenny, even when it was very hard.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and am glad to have read it.

What is your favorite Steinbeck novel? Have you read “Of Mice and Men”? What did you think of it? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Name is Emily, and I am a Book Nerd

At three years old I began suffering from an affliction that affects thousands of people in the United States; I became a book nerd. My "gateway book" was a board book about a little baby that my mom read to me every night. I loved the book so much that I learned to "read" it. (Really, I just memorized the words and when it was time to turn the page.) I was hooked. Once my mom realized what I had done, she  began teaching me the alphabet, which I mastered with practice (you could call her an enabler). When I began Kindergarten, the addiction was solidified.

Since my introduction to books, I have never been cured. Though my mother tried to keep me from reading in inappropriate places (the dinner table, church, under the covers after bedtime), I never kicked the habit. Board books led to The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Jones, and Little House on the Prairie. As my addiction worsened, and I began reading more hardcore stuff, like Harry Potter and The Giver. I went to junior high, and my teachers introduced me to literature, which soon led me to works by George Orwell and  J.R.R. Tolkien. My high school obsession with The Lord of the Rings was probably my lowest point,  as I read the books over and over again to soak up as much of Middle Earth as possible.

In my undergrad I read less, because in college, who has time to read for fun? After I graduated I had the startling realization, "I can read whatever I want again!". This new freedom to explore genres that I hadn't read in years was exhilarating. I read philosophy, fantasy, politics, science, new books, and old books. I keep a list of all the books I read each year, and enjoy looking through them and remembering everything I learned. This year, I am challenging myself to read one book a week. I am already behind, but that's okay, because my addiction will see me through!

Books make me feel something that I can't get anywhere else. I am a book-sniffer, and never a page-folder. I love to touch books, read books, collect books, and give books as gifts. I love libraries, books stores, and home collections. I dream of someday having a library with a ladder (this is probably my #1 goal in life).
When I have a ladder in my library, my life will be complete.

 I love books, and I love people who love books. Book nerdom is an addiction I hope to never overcome!

If you are a book nerd, please join my support group by leaving a comment about your own struggles with book addiction.