Posted by admin on 07.23.2008 at 4:15 pm
Posted by Jack Hanlon, CBO & Evangelist
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized
Posted by admin on 07.22.2008 at 11:46 am
G. Norman Collie said, “In free countries, every man is entitled to express his opinions and every other man is entitled not to listen.” Well here in the US of A, we’re facing a huge election–involving the first fresh face in our leadership in eight years. The success of any election in democracy relies on those same platonic ideals as free capitalism: perfect information for all involved. Well, I don’t have that information for you reader, and here’s a hint, neither Fox News nor Drudge Report nor Keith Olbermann nor Pat Robertson nor the Daily Show has it for you. You’re going to have to go out there and cull it for yourself from all the myriad places. There’s going to be a lot of opinions, reader, and you’re entitled to listen, or not.
On the plus side, we’ve never had so many different sources of information, but at the same time we’ve never had so many sources of misinformation at the same time. One thing you can be sure of however, is that your own thoughts and arguments are infinitely bolstered by knowing those of the other side (little debate tactic for you, yeah, I was in forensics in high school). In honor of that, it doesn’t matter who you think is the best candidate, get out there and educate yourself. I promise you that there are facts about each presidential candidate that you don’t know and may change your view.
Don’t let this come down to “I’m a _______ so I’m going to vote for their candidate.” McCain is one of the most liberal Republicans in many years, tempering conservative ideals with an understanding of the problems of the people and Obama is one of most likely to spur on positive change in the political process and to be willing to do whatever is necessary for those in need.
Educate yourself, reader. Besides, everyone knows that “reading is sexy” and as Oscar Wilde would quip “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
To get you started, the latest texts from the preeminent candidates:
Have your say » | Tagged Book Reviews, barack obama, books, great quotes, john mccain, politics
Posted by Geoff on 07.21.2008 at 5:47 pm
I just found out about this series of waterproof summer readings that debuted in 2005 (yep that’s right – waterproof books!). With Beach and Poolside you could get some goggles and read the pages of great writers like Garcia Marques, Hemingway, and Updike underwater. Try doing that with your Kindle…
P.S. – for the eco-inclined, Cradle to Cradle is also waterproof.
Posted by Geoff on 07.18.2008 at 4:32 pm
If you’re looking for a memoir about addiction, scrap Frey’s book and check out An Officer and a Junkie. Here you’ll find a well-documented story about a humble guy named Mike Winder going through the horrible realities of addiction.
The story begins as his parents drop him off for his first day at West Point Military Academy and chronicles how he became addicted to various drugs. His drug use at first is reminiscent of a Hunter S. Thompson dope journey but changes course as the years of drugs take serious toll on his body, his mind and his relationships with family.
Mike and I grew up together and he was one of my first friends when my family moved to a new town. We often played hoops together, caused trouble here and there, but also stayed up late occasionally doing homework or studying for physics tests.
The fact is that An Officer and a Junkie simply has more value for people and society. Chances are that, whether you are aware of it or not, you know someone that is an alcoholic or a drug user and functions in his or her everyday life. Some people can even achieve at the highest of levels while simultaneously stuck in the snare of addiction (some examples – Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, and Mickey Mantle).
I saw my friend Mike during most of the stages of his book, from his acceptance to the Academy, his drug abuse, graduation, addiction and recovery. He lives with the physical and mental repercussions of his drug use everyday – his doctors assure him a lifelong sentence of antipsychotic and mood-stabilizing medication – but he is committed to sobriety and living a healthy life.
We all know about the James Frey Oprah debacle. If you think it’s important for a memoir to be true and want to read a good book, check out An Officer and a Junkie.
Which is more important in this case: the story or the truth?
Posted by Jack on 07.17.2008 at 4:41 pm
For your Better World Books shrine (or for your dartboard if you’re the person that keeps vandalizing our Wikipedia page (I promise we weren’t named after a planet in a video game and we’re not an off-shore publicly traded company… sigh)), here is the latest photo of all the Better World Books employees at the Green House (save my boss, who was gallivanting about Florida or some such thing (just kidding, please don’t make me clean the office again)):
Posted by Jack on 07.16.2008 at 3:25 pm
Whilst perusing one of my fave websites: PostSecret (you send in the anonymous secret bearing postcard, they post in online. They also have raised $500,000 for Suicide Prevention Hotline, kudos!). In any event, the following distressing bit was posted today:
I know “you are what you eat” but perhaps content yourself with “you are what you read” and have a graham cracker or nilla wafer (mabye a plain rice cake?) for that papery taste.
(find the PostSecret Collection books here)
In addition, also please don’t use our bookmarks to start the teething process, I promise that the previous prescribed Nilla Wafers or rice cakes will work way better in taste and execution.
Have your say » | Tagged Book Reviews, book reviews, postsecret
Posted by Jack on 07.15.2008 at 3:05 pm
***The following represents the views of the author, and not those of Better World Books in any way shape or form, (but sometimes a guy who writes about books has to speak his mind about them)***
It is not my nature, or perhaps the nature of any blog that attempts to be linked to a company and based on fact, to approach subjects that are more dire than say, an indictment of modern lit or the praising of a book about a political topic. However, sometimes, amidst all the noise, one hopes for a clear sound to ring out, to wade through the incessant chatter of people bent on getting their opinion heard and media engines looking to hock the latest wares. Sometimes a person needs to stand up and at least say “Now hold on a second…”
I’ve heard plenty about Jonathan Safran Foer‘s latest book: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and I’m saying “Hold on here…”. On one hand, he is an author praised for his very well respected Everything is Illuminated (even thrown the fincky label of “genius” by the New York Times) and perhaps there is something to be said, some type of Pirsigian “Quality” to his latest text that creates such a stir amongst the reading public about it.
However, by nature I hate the book. I am inherently biased against any book that looks to use 9/11 as a vehicle for its story, and even moreso when it comes from the hand of a writer who wasn’t there. Those of us who were closer–those of us who were in New York–realize that the disaster was global, but the suffering is still uniquely ours in its way and affects many everyday on a conscious or subconscious level. So a book that wants to take me through a story about it is not exactly inspiring me the way, say, something about the Black Sox would or even something grittier about the Troubles in Ireland.
I’m sure you can tell, but I have a distinct distaste in my mouth about it, one akin to getting so hungry that you can taste your stomach. I realize that the story undoubtedly looks to add an element to people’s understanding rather than capitalize on the infamy and confusion surrounding the event, but this seems to fail on the “too soon” meter, falling flatly while approaching some type of addendum to Godwin’s Law (which Foer already breached having discussed the Holocaust and Antisemitism in Everything is Illuminated). It’s hard, however, to swallow a sense of trying to convey emotion over some capitalizing kitsch when Foer has sold the rights to this latest book such that it be made into a film (on that note, Everything is Illuminated will actually be out soon, I suppose he’s two for two).
Perhaps I’m making an error; only I will lose if I restrict my reading list, especially should I cut out books that have been lauded to whatever degree and credence that we are willing to offer the Public, but I will no sooner tell my Japanese roommate about a love story across internment camps in the West than I will have someone traipse through the memories of such a day, be it with stream of consciousness or with a 14 page flipbook or some “Pearl Harbor”-esque abomination filling theatres.
Please, no political commentary below, but feel free to tell me why I’m wrong about this book. It’s time we stopped talking about if Oprah likes it and started talking about if it’s a worthwhile read and why.
Posted by admin on 07.14.2008 at 2:53 pm
On June 19th, BWB wrapped up their week of annual meetings. This is a time where all employees meet at the warehouse and review the past fiscal year and make plans and goals for the following year. It is a long week of collaboration, discussion, learning, and sharing.
We wanted to do something that would sum up all the wonderful things we discussed throughout the week and emphasize our spirit of team work, and community involvement. In an effort to follow our hearts and do something that makes a difference but at the same time challenge us and be enjoyed, we decided to spend the 19th as the first ever company wide BWB Community Outreach Day!
(Casey, head of Pricing, taking “Outreach” a little too seriously)
Locally, our offices in NY, GA, and CA have done things in their respective communities. We here at the warehouse have also become more involved with the community through green festivals and literacy groups, but we had never done something to this large a scale. We opened up the activities to anyone that wanted to join. With over 100 employees and 5 different destinations, it was a logistical challenge to say the least. However, we had the most perfect weather, local school buses to transport us around, and wonderful organizations to join. It is amazing what you can get done, when everyone pitches in!
Over 100 employees from the warehouse, Georgia, California, New York, Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota, Illinois, and Pennsylvania joined in the fun.
(the first round of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall)
First Stop: Habitat for Humanity was finishing up a project close to the warehouse. They had built a house for a family, and had landscaping, a garage, and interior work to still be done. 28 BWB employees spent the day completing the project and the hammering never stopped!!!
Kreece doing Quality Control on a decidedly non-six sigma job
(Hippie) sod tilling, courtesy of Abby
Everyone putting up a frame, not just an Amish thing!
2nd Stop: Northern Indiana Food Pantry is a distribution center for many of the local food banks. 45 employees from BWB broken out over 3 shifts went to work sorting food, checking dates, and helping Northern Indiana Food Pantry prepare to distribute many pallets of food to locations throughout the area.Competition broke out over the 3 shifts as to which team sorted the most and judges are still out on that decision!
3rd Stop: Habitat for Humanity ReStores are retail locations where Habitat sells those materials they recycle from their job sites and resell to support all their good work. 12 employees went to work at the local store here in town. They were put to work setting up displays, moving product and helping to sort and stock. The “do-it-yourself” types on staff will be making this store one of their stops when completing another project at home…everyone should! They have some incredible things you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Look for these stores near you as well:
4th Stop: City of Mishawaka local parks are something the city takes pride in and they give us welcomed “green space” that our employees as well as others in the community enjoy. 50 workers were dispatched to weed, lay down mulch and pick up debris in some of our area parks keeping up our commitment to the environment.
5th and final Stop: Literacy Council of St. Joseph County is one of our favorite local groups. BWB employees have not only volunteered for their adult tutoring program, but we went to work to help them tackle some outstanding tasks at their office in downtown Mishawaka. 4 staff members went over to help with filing, cleaning out closets, setting up bookshelves and packaging up children’s “giveaway” packets complete with books and learning material.
BWB appreciates all these organizations, their hard work and how they contribute to the community. We wish to thank them all for letting us join in. Not only did it give the employees here at BWB a day out of the warehouse and fun times spent with coworkers, we were also able to pitch in and help the community. There isn’t a better way to spend the day!
Posted by admin on 07.14.2008 at 6:53 am
In reading Black Voices for the second time, I am even more inspired to walk into my destiny versus the first time I read it as an undergraduate student. This book is a compilation of great short stories, and poems of some of the worlds most famous African American writers and poets including Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Lorraine Hansberry, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright just to name a few. The substance of this book really deals with some of the most complicated, and also the simplest issues that African Americans have faced since the beginning of American history. Even if you only gain some of the knowledge that this book offers, it’s an excellent read for all book lovers, as well as any aspiring writers.
Have your say » | Tagged Book Reviews, black voices, book reviews, Will Eaton
Posted by Jack on 07.11.2008 at 1:27 pm
You probably know Larry McMurtry from his writing. From having penned the Lonesome Dove series and Terms of Endearment to his hand in writing the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain, he is both prolific and consummate professional. His latest release, Books: A Memoir sounds right in line with the arc of his writing… but doesn’t touch it for a moment.
Books: A Memoir is the story of how McMurtry has gathered 7 buildings worth of books “creating what he calls a book town in Archer City, Tex., modeled on the Welsh village of Hay-on-Wye.” The story, a paltry 272 pages in comparison to his heavier tomes, blows through 109 chapters, frequently asking questions without offering much by way of answers.
I haven’t gotten through the full text yet, but as someone fascinated by books and the people who hoard/love/loathe them, it’s a must read. In its way, the story also offers a side of McMurtry that his writing would never tell you, of journeys and a subtle humanism that his distinctly western writings, in many facets, belie.
If nothing else read it to see what kind of rope that a master storyteller, hand steadied in epic tales, can make from a hundred tiny strings.
Have your say » | Tagged Book Reviews, book reviews, larry mcmurtry
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