Half Price Books presents the Half Price Blog featuring book reviews, music and movie reviews, trivia and randomness about things we love. That means a whole lot of fiction, nonfiction, music, movies, games, and collectibles… including rare and out-of-print literary treasures.
 
Meet all our Blog Authors & Contributors »

Authors
Becky
Potluck-genius, insomniac-procrastinator and crafting-whiz. Inventor of the “Hey that’s my Boots!” CEO Paper Doll, the HPB Snuggie, braille t-shirt and Tacky BW Holiday Sweater.
Emily
PR maven, news junkie, baseball fanatic, late-night talk show watcher, frequent restaurant diner and former VH-1 reality show addict.
Jim
Film buff and wanna-be chef. Who's up for dinner and a movie?! Crouching Tiger stir-fry or Godfather spaghetti and a bottle of vino. Please, no talking or texting during the movie.
 
Meredith
Donned in an apron, baking pies and other tempting treats – there's nothing desperate about this housewife. Loves travel, the great outdoors, classic films, indie music and non-fiction.
Steve
The Buy Guy is a quarter-century-plus employee expert on all things books & music; his favorite buy involved hundreds of old theology books from the Mount St. Michael Convent hilltop library in Spokane, Washington.
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Friday
Jul312015

Local Store Events Round-Up: August 2015

 

ALL STORES 

The Day the Crayons Came Home Storytime
Your HPB Bibliomaniacs are super-excited for the release of Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers’ The Day the Crayons Came Home on August 18. Your neighborhood HPB is planning a special storytime on Sunday, August 23 at 3 p.m. featuring this sequel to the bestseller The Day the Crayons Quit. We’ll have crayons (they came back!) and special coloring sheets featuring Oliver Jeffers’ whimsical art. All ages are welcome.

 

ARIZONA

Phoenix – Camelback 

First Sunday Storytime
Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Camelback HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 1 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month. All young readers and listeners are welcome!

 

CALIFORNIA

Fremont 

Fremont Festival of the Arts
Look for the HPB booth at the Fremont Festival of the Arts in downtown Fremont on Saturday and Sunday, August 1-2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We'll have coupons and free tote bags while supplies last. And, don't forget to check out our store in The Fremont Hub.

 

ILLINOIS

Countryside

Eddy Decker Book Signing
Meet local cartoonist Eddy Decker on Saturday, August 29, from 1 to 3 p.m. at your Countryside HPB. Eddy will sell and sign his new book Far-Out!: The 8th Grade, which is based on his webcomic. Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul302015

5 Movie Remakes That Are Better Than The Originals

July 29 marks the return of Rusty Griswold in the “sequel” or “reboot” of one of the funniest films ever made, National Lampoon's Vacation (1983). With so many remakes these days, it made me wonder if a film this classic should be remade? After seeing the recent releases of Godzilla and Poltergeist, my initial thought was absolutely not. But, after giving it some thought, there have been many remakes that I have thoroughly enjoyed and actually thought were an improvement on the original. So maybe there is some hope for Vacation (2015). Here are my top 5 movie remakes that worked!

The Birdcage (1996)

A remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Those two names alone should justify this as a must see, but add in the fact you get to see Gene Hackman in drag  makes this a classic remake.

 

The War of the Worlds (2005)

Steven Spielberg adds some much-needed tension and even horror that was lacking in the 1953 original. Although I can’t imagine what it would have been like to listen to the original radio show playing out as a newscast, this film delivers.

 

King Kong (2005)

The original King Kong 1933 is one of the classics in movie history. The original was ground breaking in so many ways and made huge advancements in the world of special effects. Peter Jackson offers a very honorable remake with new special effects, yet stays true to the original film (unlike the remake in 1977). 

 

True Grit (2010)

John Wayne won his Best Actor Oscar for True Grit in 1969. Not to be upstaged, Jeff Bridges gives just as good of a performance, if not better. Hailee Steinfeld also gives a performance that should be applauded. This updated classic by the Coen brothers is a much better representation of the book than the original. 

 

Oceans Eleven (2001)

The 1960 original starred the Rat Pack, which makes it a classic, but Steven Soderbergh takes a very basic bank robbery and turns it into a smart and witty caper, with plenty of twists and a mind-blowing ending. One of the best remakes around that far surpasses the original. 

 

Those are my top remakes, with The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) and Cape Fear (1991) making the honorable mention list. What are your favorite film remakes?

Jim

Monday
Jul272015

Different Stores. Different Stories. #HPBturns43

Today, Half Price Books turns 43 years old! On July 27, 1972, we opened our first store in a converted laundromat in Dallas, Texas. Co-founders Ken Gjemre and Pat Anderson stocked the shelves with more than 2,000 books from their personal libraries. Today, Half Price Books is America’s favorite family-owned new and used bookstore chain, with 122 stores in 16 states.

This year has been a busy one, no doubt. We opened our new Las Colinas store in Irving, TX, relocated our much-loved Richardson, TX, store to a revitalized shopping center and ventured into a new market with our latest store in Citrus Heights, California! Things are about to get even more exciting on August 6 in the Columbus, OH area, as we welcome HPB NorthPointe Plaza to the neighborhood.

Just like our booklovers, every store is different and has its own set of unique stories and quirks. To celebrate our birthday, I thought it would be nice to share some of my favorite HPB stories.

Did you know our President and CEO Sharon Anderson Wright was the first employee at Half Price Books? She is the daughter of co-founder Pat Anderson. Sharon managed the Richardson store location and would take her dog Dylan to work with her each day. Even today, many of our store locations are dog-friendly. If you ever visit our corporate offices in Dallas, Texas, you’ll be greeted by Vader at the reception desk.

While most booklovers come through our doors looking for the perfect read, some have been lucky enough to find the perfect love here as well!

 

Our Flagship store was the backdrop for Brady and Nichole's grand proposal during Valentine's Day weekend. We've also been a special once-in-a-lifetime wedding venue for booklover Jenny and her handsome groom.

Last, one of my favorite HPB stories of all! Jammie, (my "cube"-mate....our offices share a wall), began her Half Price Books story working at the Lincoln Square store in Arlington. Aaron, her now husband, had just started working there, as well. The two became fast friends, and, a year later began dating. Below is their first photo together as a new couple, ironically at a Half Price Books holiday gathering! The happy couple has added a new chapter to their HPB story...an adorable son named Malcolm.

What are some of your favorite Half Price Books stories or memories? Tell us your story by mentioning @halfpricebooks and using #HPBturns43 on Twitter. You can also jump over to Facebook and leave a comment on our birthday post.

--

Sam is Public Relations Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Friday
Jul242015

An Afternoon at the Paper Towns Tour

The Paper Towns Tour made a stop in our hometown of Dallas last week, and thanks to our friends at the Penguin Young Readers Group, I got to attend!

People waited in line ALL DAY in the hot Texas sun for the opportunity to get inside and hear from their favorite author, John Green.

Look at all the people! To see an author! My faith in humanity is restored.

The festivities were hosted by Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn, the YouTube duo Just Between Us.

Allison and Gaby introduced Saint Motel, whose song, "My Type," is on the Paper Towns soundtrack.

 

And then it was the moment everyone had been waiting for… John Green!

As you can tell from this video, people LOST THEIR MINDS. (And rightly so, he’s great!)

 

 

After talking to the crowd for a bit, John informed everyone we were going to get to see twenty minutes of the movie! I have no pictures of this because I’m pretty sure I would have been taken straight to jail if I had tried.

Following the movie clip (if you can call twenty minutes of something a clip), stars of the movie Nat Wolff and Halston Sage joined John on stage to take questions from the crowd. Cara Delevingne had been at the other Paper Towns Tour stops but didn’t make it to Dallas because she had to make an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that night. (Which seems like a pretty great reason to miss something.)

 

After the event was over, we got the opportunity to head backstage and meet John, Nat and Halston, who were all lovely and delightful people.

So what I’m trying to say with all of this is John Green is awesome, Paper Towns the book is awesome and Paper Towns the movie looks to be awesome. If you haven’t read the book, we have SIGNED copies at our Dallas Flagship location right now. Stop by or give them a call to get one before they are gone. And go see Paper Towns the movie today!


Thursday
Jul232015

Long-Lost Wartime Illustrations by Dr. Seuss (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

Like another long-lost literary classic published earlier this month (Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee), the new What Pet Should I Get? was written in the late '50s by an author loved by millions of all ages –– Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known by his fans as Dr. Seuss. We will have copies of this Dr. Seuss discovery in HPB stores when it’s released to the public on July 28. But we wanted to take this opportunity to show-and-tell about a real Dr. Seuss World War II-era treasure, This Is Ann. This booklet was a wartime publication of the U.S. Government Printing Office and was illustrated by Dr. Seuss.

RAREST OF RARE COLLECTIBLES

This Is Ann: She’s Dying to Meet You, by Dr. Seuss
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943

This 38-page pamphlet was issued to U.S. soldiers during World War II to warn them of the threat of “Ann”—the anopheles mosquito that carried malaria. Many were distributed but few have survived. It’s especially rare to find a complete copy in Very Good condition like this one. The text was written by kids’ book author and illustrator Munro Leaf, who is best known for his children’s classic The Story of Ferdinand.

Our Flagship store in Dallas recently got hold of this rare gem, and they are asking $750 for it. If you’re interested in buying this rarest of rare collectible, visit HPB.com/buyguy and contact me, the HPB Buy Guy.

RARELY-KNOWN TRIVIA

Here are a few little-known facts about Dr. Seuss:

No credit for This is Ann — Dr. Seuss was Captain Theodore Geisel at the time he co-created This Is Ann, so neither he nor author Leaf, who was also serving in the military, received credit in the pamphlet.

Bestseller lists across decades — Only a few authors have ever topped the both New York Times Fiction and Nonfiction Bestseller Lists. The last Dr. Seuss book published during his lifetime, Oh! The Places You’ll Go!, topped the Fiction list in 1990.

Not a fan of Dick & Jane — Dr Seuss said that The Cat in the Hat was “the book I'm proudest of because it had something to do with the death of the Dick and Jane primers.”

––

Steve is Staffing & Development Manager (aka the "Buy Guy") at Half Price Books Corporate.