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
Jul102015

Rare & Collectible Editions of To Kill a Mockingbird

Interest in the classic Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird has not waned over the fifty-five years since its initial publication. And it’s sure to spike with today's release of her long-tucked-away second book, Go Set a Watchman.

We’ve seen very few first editions of To Kill a Mockingbird at our stores over the years, but we’ve bought and sold thousands of copies of various paperback and hardback editions, and a few of them are collectible.

Of the book’s many fans, few are willing and able to spend the $15 grand or so it would take to buy a true first edition, but the first’s priciness make some other editions collectible—while much more affordable.

PAST
Recently, one of our stores bought three copies, from the estate of a book dealer, of the 35th Anniversary Edition of Mockingbird, all signed by Harper Lee. They were “only” $1,000 each. The store sold all three copies in one day!

PRESENT
Later printings of the first edition are not the Holy Grail of Harper Lee, but close enough to it to have value. Here’s a 17th printing, available at the Dallas Flagship store for $250.


The slipcased 2006 edition is another affordable but special edition of the book. This copy is priced $70 at our Arlington Lincoln Square store.


Even the earliest book club editions of this treasure have some collectible value. This book club edition features a photo of the author, taken by her childhood pal Truman Capote. Lee requested that the photo be removed from later editions.

So, if you want to own a copy of this classic book to go with your brand new copy of Go Set a Watchman, you can pay the big bucks and get a first edition, you can buy a nice, clean paperback reading copy for a few bucks or you can settle for something in between that will grace your bookshelves. Any way you go, you’ll own a piece of American literary history that will be loved for generations to come.

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

Tuesday
Jul072015

What High School Students are Reading this Summer!

We’re just over halfway through our Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program! This year, we also encouraged high school students to read one book each month and fill out an online review. We received almost 1,500 reviews for the month of June alone! With your help, we hope to beat this number in July. There’s still plenty of time for students to read a book and submit a review. We’ll even send you a coupon!

Here is what some of our High School reviewers are saying.

"The Blood of Olympus is so good, I don't even know where to begin. Everything was resolved beautifully, and it was full of action and laughter for me. I just wish I could follow the Seven for the rest of their lives. (Including Nico and Leo. Especially Nico and Leo.) If you haven't read this already because you're afraid of finishing the series and having nothing meaningful in your life anymore, I suggest you read this, finish the series, and start the whole series all over again. Unless you need a break from Rick Riordan and his awesome demigods, but I doubt it."

"The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken was an amazing book filled with tons of action and romance along with some of the best character development I have seen in a while! This book had me hooked from page one and kept me hooked throughout the whole book! The story of how Ruby embraces who she is and what she can do is inspiring and so much fun to read!"

"The [Divergent] series was riveting and definitely a page-turner! I loved being able to cheer on the main character, Beatrice, one second, and cry with her the next. You can immerse yourself into the novels and forget about the world around you. The series takes you on an adventure and you'll love every second of it!"

 

We made several reading suggestions for readers at the start of the summer, and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series has far and away been the most popular choice of those books featured. Here are some of the other books students are reading.


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Thanks again to everyone who have participated in our Summer Reading program. There's still time to read in July. High school students, visit HPB.com/FYB to submit your own review. You might make it into next month’s blog!

--
Jeremy is Customer Service Specialist at HPB Corporate

Friday
Jul032015

AT40 Turns 45: A Look Back at the American Top 40

This Saturday, the United States of America turns 239 years young. What’s a Fourth of July celebration without food, fireworks and a little funky music?

Another American institution celebrating its birthday on Independence Day is the American Top 40 radio countdown program. 45 years ago, way back in 1970, legendary DJ Casey Kasem took to the airwaves, ranking America’s chart-topping radio hits. Since then, the show has survived a few new hosts, an evolving radio landscape and ever-changing musical styles. Let’s take a look back over the years…

Did you know?

  • The original Casey Kasem-hosted show only lasted until 1988. Shadoe Stevens took over from 1988-1995, upon which the show was cancelled. AT40 was relaunched in 1998 with Kasem, who continued hosting until his retirement in 2004, when he passed the headphones to Ryan Seacrest.
  • The first song ever played on AT40 was “The End of Our Road” by Marvin Gaye, which peaked at #40.
  • Casey Kasem’s final #1 song in 2004 was “Hey Ya!” by Outkast. This was also Ryan Seacrest’s first #1 song.
  • The youngest artist to chart on AT40 is Willow Smith, whose “Whip My Hair” debuted at #35, while she was age 10. (She was 9 when the song was recorded.)
  • The oldest artist to chart on AT40 is Louis Armstrong. “What a Wonderful World” entered at #32 in 1988, at which time Armstrong would have been 86 (it was recorded when he was 66).
  • The longest-charting song on AT40 is Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite,” which stayed on the charts for 72 weeks from 2010-2011.
  • The current #1 hit, “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, matched Katy Perry’s “Roar” by taking just five weeks to get to #1—the quickest of any song in the 21st century.

Best of the Decades

  • #1 song of the 1980s: “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John
  • #1 song of the 2000s: “Yeah!” by Usher featuring Ludacris & Lil Jon

Need some tunes for the holiday weekend? Here’s a handy AT40 playlist to keep the grooves flowing all weekend long.

--
Jason is Email Marketing Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow him on Twitter @jasonapermenter.

Wednesday
Jul012015

Local Store Events Round-Up: July 2015

Local Store Events Round-Up: July 2015

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 July!

ALL STORES

Summer Reading Program
Research shows that children who do not continue reading through the summer can lose a month or more of progress made during the school year. To help keep appetites up for reading, Half Price Books is hosting the FEED YOUR BRAIN® Summer Reading Program Monday, June 1 - Friday, July 31, 2015. Kids preschool through high school age can earn $5 HPB Bookworm Bucks as a reward for reading over the summer. Pick up a reading log at your local HPB today.

 

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

Citrus Heights

Win Books for a Year!
What does every booklover want? More books! To celebrate the opening of our new Citrus Heights store, we're giving away FREE BOOKS for a YEAR! Visit www.hpb.com/win to enter now and see complete giveaway rules and prize details. Deadline to enter is July 12, 2015.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun242015

Read the Movie: Your Summer Guide to Movies Based on Books

It’s summer time, and that means summer blockbusters on the big screens. Maybe you aren’t interested in being chased by dinosaurs or being swallowed up by an earthquake, so I would like to suggest some great summer reading to get the jump on other really great movies hitting theaters in the near future.

Paper Towns by John Green 

Paper Towns is a very good coming of age story about a young man, Quentin, who sets out with his friends to find a missing girl, his next door neighbor Margo. Margo leaves clues and leads Quentin leading him and his friends on a wild adventure. Look for Paper Towns in theaters July 24.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Thomas and his fellow Gladers face their biggest challenge yet, searching for clues about the mysterious organization known as WCKD. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s superior forces and uncover the truth about the shocking plans for them all. The next film in the Maze Runner saga starts September 18.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

The true story about a group of climbers that get stranded on Mt. Everest due to a storm. Everest, the movie adaptation,  has a top-notch cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright and Josh Brolin. Everest will also be presented in 3D, which should make this a real cliffhanger. In theaters September 18.

Black Mass by Dick Lehr & Gerald O’Neill

Black Mass tell the story of the most infamous violent criminal in U.S. history, Whitey Bulger. Johnny Depp is almost unrecognizable portraying Bulger and has a lot of early Oscar buzz that might earn him his fourth Best Actor nomination. Black Mass opens September 18.

That should be enough reading to keep you ahead of the game at the movie theatre!

--
Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.

It’s summer time and that means summer blockbusters on the big screens. Maybe you aren’t interested in being chased by dinosaurs or being swallowed up by an earthquake, so I would like to suggest some great sumer reading to get the jump on some other really great movies hitting theaters in the near future.

 

 

Paper Towns by John Green 

 

Paper Towns is a very good coming of age story as a young man, Quentin, sets out with his friends to find a missing girl, his next door neighbor Margo. Margo leaves clues and leads Quentin leading him and his friends on a wild adventure. Look for Paper Towns in theaters July 24.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4olpTxktM4

 

 

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

 

Thomas and his fellow Gladers face their biggest challenge yet, searching for clues about the mysterious organization known as WCKD. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s superior forces and uncover the truth about the shocking plans for them all. The next film in the Maze Runner saga starts September 18.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-44_igsZtgU

 

 

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

 

The true story about a group of climbers that get stranded on Mt. Everest due to a storm. Everest has a top notch cast with Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightly, Robin Wright and Josh Brolin. Everest will also be presented in 3D, which should make this a real cliffhanger. Everest start September 18.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZQVpPiOji0

 

 

Black Mass by Dick Lehr & Gerald O’Neill

 

Black Mass tell the story of the most infamous violent criminal in U.S. History, Whitey Bulger. Johnny Depp is almost unrecognizable portraying Bulger, and has a lot of early Oscar buzz that might earn him his 4th Best Actor nomination. Black Mass opens September 18.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE3e3hGF2jc

 

 

That should be enough reading to keep you ahead of the game at the movie theatre.