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.
JD
Music enthusiast and all around acceptable person. Take it or leave it, JD will say things about music that you'll either love, hate, or feel indifferent about.
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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Wednesday
Aug062014

#HPBteensREAD: The Best Teen Reads This Summer

Hey TEENS! These final days of summer mean one of two things: either you are soaking up the sun and enjoying those last moments of being carefree, or you’ve procrastinated and are now furiously cramming your summer reading and projects into the wee hours before you have to head back to____... I promise not to say the “s” word! Whether you’re reading for enjoyment or obligation, we’d love to hear from you! Check out #HPBteensREAD and tweet us your review. (Plus, learn about how you can win a Teen Reading Prize Pack.) Also, follow the #HPBteensREAD hashtag to get some great recommendations!

Our good friend and librarian Kristen at the Irving Public Library, (organizers of the first-ever North Texas Teen Book Festival, coming in March 2015), gave us a quick list of the best teen reads this summer. Have you had the chance to pick these up? --Becky

Hey HPB Booklovers!

Here’s a list of authors and books we can't keep on the shelves!

  1. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  2. The Living by Matt de la Peña
  3. Noggin by John Corey Whaley
  4. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (movie coming out September 19!)
  5. Unwind series by Neal Shusterman
  6. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  7. Divergent series by Veronica Roth
  8. Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  9. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (this title has been super hot, especially with the movie coming out on August 22!)
  11. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles series) by Marissa Meyer
  12. The Selection series by Kiera Cass
  13. The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han - perpetual teen summer reading fave!
  14. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- another teen summer reading fave!
  15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin (the final installment comes out in November and interest for this series has seriously rekindled lately)

I could go on and on with teen books, but I should probably keep the list short and sweet. ;) Take care and happy reading! 

--Kristen, Teen Services, Irving Public Library-Central Library

Friday
Aug012014

Local Store Events Round-Up: August 2014

Local Store Events Round-Up: August 2014

Looking for something to do at your favorite book store? Check out these fun happenings at Half Price Books stores across the country during the month of August! 

All Stores 

NEW Teen Summer Reading Program

HPB is offering our very first Teen Summer Reading Program! From August 1-27, teens ages 14-17 are invited to stop by your local HPB store, pick up a Teen Review Sheet and write a short review of a book you’ve read. Return the Teen Review Sheet to the store and receive a Teen Reward Coupon for 20% OFF your entire purchase. Coupons are valid from September 2-30. Don’t forget to share your favorite books/reviews on Twitter with the tag @halfpricebooks #HPBTeensRead. Program is not available at Half Price Books Outlet.

ARIZONA

Mesa 

Storytime Sundays

Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Mesa HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month. See you Aug. 3!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul222014

The Best of 1972: Books, Music & Movies

Back in 1972, Half Price Books embarked on its mission to provide people things to read and to listen to, at prices they could afford.  (And a few years later, with the emergence of the VHS tape, we offered them things to watch, too.)  Those early customers liked what they saw on the shelves, and the many customers who have come along since have kept us at it, four decades later. 

So what were our customers looking for all those years ago?

What We Read in ‘72

Even in the earliest days, our Fiction section was always well-stocked.  Some of the current titles then were:

  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a parable about a seagull seeking perfection, was an unlikely bestseller from Richard Bach, who said it came along at just the right time.  It had been rejected by numerous publishers before Macmillan took a gamble on it and won
  • Other popular books of that year included Watership Down, by Richard Adams; Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives, which was made into two movies, three decades apart; The Exorcist (published in ’71 and filmed in ’73) by William Peter Blatty; and The Winds of War, a hefty WWII tome written by Herman Wouk and turned into a popular miniseries, starring Robert Mitchum, in 1983

We were reading some more literary stuff, too:

  • Eudora Welty’s last novel, The Optimist’s Daughter, was published in 1972 and won the following year’s Pulitzer Prize for Literature.    
  • The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor, written between the ‘40s and her death in 1964, won the 1972 National Book Award.
  • Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul172014

Books Authors Read with Lindsay Cummings

YA author Lindsay Cummings will stop by our Dallas Flagship store on Saturday, July 19 at 7 p.m. as part of the Mighty Mississippi Book Blast YA panel, joining authors Philip Siegel, Paula Stokes, Ryan Graudin and Julie Murphy. (What fun!) Hope to see you there. Lindsay’s new book, The Murder Complex, is “an action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate.” Sounds like a page turner to me!

In honor of her stop by HPB, we asked Lindsay to share some of her favorite books with you in our “Books Authors Read” series. (Look for posts from the other Mighty Mississippi Book Blast authors soon!) Thanks for the recommendations, Lindsay! – Emily

---

Growing up, I was always fascinated with survival stories. My dad, a double amputee who survived Meningitis, loved to read books about humans defying the worst of odds. When I got sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I turned to survival stories, too. They helped me feel a little stronger by the time I closed the book. Here are a few of the ones that have really stuck with me through the years:

1. LEGEND by Marie Lu 

This entire trilogy blew my mind. I was so drawn in from page one to the incredible dystopian world that Marie Lu created. Told in split POVs between a military prodigy girl and a criminal street boy, LEGEND is the perfect survival story that crosses genres. Adults and teens alike will devour all three books.

2. ILLUSIVE by Emily Lloyd Jones

This YA debut is one of the coolest books I’ve ever read. It’s Ocean’s 11 meets X-Men, and every page reads like a movie. Fans of science fiction and heist stories will be dying for the next book in the series. I know I am!

3. MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH by Bethany Griffin

This retelling of Poe’s classic story is so lyrically written, but at times, the scenes are so creepy that it gives you chills. I loved this dying, diseased world, and one girl whose willpower is Katniss Everdeen-esque. Book two in the series really lays on the action. I loved it!

4. THESE BROKEN STARS by Aime Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

A killer sci-fi about a debutante girl and a young military hero who crash-land on an alien planet. This book has incredible scenery, an amazing writing style, and a love story to last the ages.

5. THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin

Set to release in November 2014, this YA survival story is reminiscent of MOULIN ROUGE, and opens up readers’ eyes to the truth behind human trafficking, while giving readers a feel of exciting, action-driven scenes. I fell in love with all three points of view! Incredible story-telling.

---

Lindsay Cummings in the author of The Murder Complex.

You may visit her online or follow her on Twitter @authorlindsayc.

Wednesday
Jul162014

Is it signed? How to spot an authentic autograph.

Fans of Half Price Books know there are always all sorts of treasures to be found in our stores, including books, music and movies, among other unique items. But one very unique treasure you might not have thought about is autographs. The first thing to know about collecting autographs is that there is only one way to be 100% sure that a signature is authentic, and that is to get the autograph in person. Be sure to keep an eye out at your neighborhood Half Price Books as we continually have author signings. Authors like Brad Thor, Robin Roberts and Maggie Stiefvater have made it to HPB in the past and we have many exciting announcements this fall.

Back to autographs. If you don’t actually get a signature in person, be aware that there are no regulations on anyone printing their own certificate of authentication. Do your research on what companies are reputable. The two largest authentication companies are PSA/DNA and JSA. Seeing their small sticker on an item helps you know something is authentic, but anyone can make mistakes.

If you are purchasing or selling an autograph, there are several things for you, as well as our buyers at the counter, to inspect. There are many different types of fake autographs:

STAMPED SIGNATURE: This sort of fake autograph is the easiest to spot. It usually has the appearance of a rubber stamp. Look for things like uneven ink distribution and no actual pen strokes. Also, the ink tends to pool up in some areas, or there are small sections where there is no ink at all.

PREPRINTED AUTOGRAPH: The next easiest to spot is the preprint. These are photos or printed items where the item was signed by someone, then taken and mass produced. You get these quite often with big name stars who receive a ton of fan mail. Here is an example of a celebrity preprint. 

AUTOPEN SIGNATURES: These are a little more difficult to spot. An autopen machine works by tracing over a pattern of a person’s signature. When autopens are made, they tend to have the same width of line throughout the signature and no variations in width as a real signature would. There also tends to be perfect dots at the beginning and the end of the signature, as the pen goes straight down and straight back up when finished. A dead giveaway on these is to just do a little research. It is not uncommon at all to find different signatures that all match perfectly. Someone that uses an autopen we all know is President Obama himself.

SECRETARIAL SIGNATURES: These are probably the toughest to spot as some of them can be quite good. These are handwritten signatures usually done by secretaries, other family members, or people at a company.  Do you research carefully on these. Compare signatures from legit in-person signings. It also helps when comparing if you turn the signatures upside down, that way your brain doesn’t fill in the gaps to form letters. Your mind is simply comparing images.

FORGED SIGNATURE: These signatures out on the market are simply being forged and sold as authentic. A lot of the same steps are taken when looking for a forgery as looking for a secretarial signature. Elvis Presley and The Beatles are always near the top of the list as the most-forged signatures.

Our buyers at Half Price Books check over each item that has a signature, doing their best research to determine if an autograph is authentic or not.

Now that you have a background on the different types of signatures, the best advice in autograph collecting is to have fun with the hobby.

Don’t get into it to get rich. Just collect what you love. 

 --

Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.