I am new to Blender and 3d modeling in general. I took a look at the Blender help file but it wasn’t much help. Is there a book I need to read?
Reading the manual is probably a good idea,
you can read it here
it is constantly being updated, so some of the information is correct for blender 2.40, some for 2.37a and some for earlier versions. Hopefully it will all be updated to 2.40 soon.