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.
 
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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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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. 

 

Tuesday
Jun232015

10 Favorite James Horner Film Scores & Soundtracks

After hearing the news this morning that Oscar-winning composer James Horner died, we find ourselves reflecting on his brilliant work. James Horner created film scores for box office blockbusters including Titanic, Braveheart, Star Trek and Avatar.

If you grew up in the 80s, then some of his compositions might give you flashbacks of your childhood. Horner was nominated for Best Song for the famous little tune "Somewhere Out There" from the animated film An American Tail (1986). He also did work for other family films, including The Land Before Time (1988), Batteries Not Included (1987) and Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989). Here's our ten favorite movie soundtracks composed by Horner.

Apollo 13 (1985)

A Beautiful Mind (2001)


Field of Dreams (1989)

An American Tale (1986)


Titanic (1997)

Deep Impact (1998)


The Pelican Brief (1993)

Jumanji (1995)

Legends of the Fall (1994)

Braveheart (1995)

Which is your favorite film score by James Horner?

---

Meredith is Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate. 
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

Friday
Jun192015

“I am hungry. Therefore I am.” Happy 37th Birthday, Garfield the Cat!

Garfield the cat turns 37 today (the first “Garfield” comic was printed on June 19, 1978). It’s already been documented here that this lasagna-loving, overweight orange kitty holds a special place in my heart. “Peanuts,” “Calvin and Hobbes” and the like are the more critically-acclaimed comic strips, but to me, Garfield’s contempt for Mondays and ability to say exactly what he thinks makes us kindred spirits and, ultimately, makes “Garfield” my favorite comic. If you’re a fan like me, you may already know some of these fun facts, but for the casual reader, here are some gems you may not know about the fat cat:

  • Garfield is named for James Garfield—but not that one. “Garfield” creator Jim Davis chose the name for his title character based on that of his uncle, James A. Garfield Davis, “a large, cantankerous man” who owned many cats. That James Garfield was named after the President, however.
  • Garfield has gotten a makeover. Originally, Garfield was much larger and walked on all fours. Over his long life span, Garfield has learned to walk on two legs and also has a more exaggerated, cartoon-like appearance. See below.

  •  “Garfield” is the most-syndicated comic strip in the world. “Garfield” is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the highest readership of any comic strip ever, appearing in over 2,500 newspapers and journals. Maybe the whole world just loves cats.
  • Garfield lives in the Hoosier State. Though rarely mentioned, Garfield, Jon, Odie and the rest of the gang live in Muncie, Indiana, which is Jim Davis’ home state. Davis’ objective is to make “Garfield” feel relatable to all readers, thus he rarely mentions their location.
  • Jim Davis does not work alone. While Davis still puts together the general doodles and sketches of the “Garfield” comic, a team of artists assemble the final product at Davis’ home in Indiana, as part of his company Paws Inc.

Happy Birthday, Garfield! Here’s to many more years…and many more lasagnas.
What’s your favorite “Garfield” moment?

All images credit of Garfield.com.
--
Jason is Email Marketing Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow him on Twitter @jasonapermenter.

Wednesday
Jun172015

Long Reads for the Longest Day of the Year

For those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice falls on June 21 this year. That means Sunday will be, well… sun day. The proverbial “longest day of the year.” Actually, it’s 24 hours just like other days, but it’ll have the most daylight. Here at HPB World Headquarters in Dallas, we’ll have a whopping 14 hours, 18 minutes and 47 seconds of sun.

If you’re a reader who hates spending money on electricity—or a blog writer desperate for a timely topic—that means 14.3 hours of absolutely free reading light. To take full advantage of it, we suggest skipping the Sunday paper and diving into the longest book you can find. You might not finish it all on June 21, but hey, you only lose one second of daylight on June 22.

Here are some long reads for those long sunny days.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1996)
This 1,000+ page postmodern novel has 388 endnotes, some of which have their own footnotes. Its themes include addiction, tennis, suicide, advertising and Quebec separatism. Fortunately, it’s a joy to read Wallace’s prose, and it’s easy to see why this book made him a star in the literary world.

Endnote: Jason Segel stars as Wallace in The End of the Tour, a film out later this summer about the promotional tour for Infinite Jest.

Footnote to the endnote: the late author’s family did not cooperate in the making of the film.
 

The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro
includes The Path to Power (1982), Means of Ascent (1990), Master of the Senate (2002) and The Passage of Power (2012).
Caro’s masterful multi-volume biography of LBJ contains four books so far, most of which would qualify for this list on their own. Johnson, a highly skilled but deeply flawed politician, is one of our most fascinating presidents, and Caro’s work reads more like a novel despite its level of meticulously-researched detail. The fifth and final book is forthcoming. (Robert Caro, if you’re reading this, get off the Internet and get busy writing!)

 


Underworld by Don DeLillo (1997)

DeLillo’s sprawling non-linear novel spans several decades in postwar America and finds his characters reacting to several historical events. A New York Times reviewer called it “a dazzling, phosphorescent work of art.” The book’s riveting prologue—chronicling Bobby Thomson’s historic home run that won the New York Giants the National League pennant in 1951—is worth the price of admission alone.

 

 

 

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
Published in the author’s native France between 1913 and 1927, this novel in seven volumes (and 4,000 pages) helped usher in the modern era. The highly influential and massive work tells the life story of the narrator, with his everyday experiences—most famously dipping a cookie into a cup of tea—evoking recollections of the past. Current-day novelist Michael Chabon has cited it as his favorite book. Bonus points for tackling this one in the original French.

 

 


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This international bestseller tells the story of Theo Decker, a New York teenager whose life is forever changed when his mother is killed in a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum. This page turner (and there are 800 of them) is a moving and mesmerizing story of loss and survival. While some critics complained about the book’s length, it went on to win the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

 

 

 

 

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
The musical is a big deal. The movie was a big deal. The book is big, too—655,478 words on a couple thousand pages. This French historical novel was first published in 1862 and has been hailed as one of the best novels of the 19th century. In Hugo’s words, the book constitutes “a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life, from bestiality to duty, from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God.”

 



1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
The title of this ambitious novel, first published in Japan in three volumes in 2009 and 2010, refers both to the year 1984, when the story takes place, and to George Orwell’s 1984. Set in a fictionalized Tokyo, the stories of two main characters—a woman and a man—converge over the course of the book. Murakami employs surreal elements, alternate realities, down-the-rabbit-hole digressions, and frequent references to Western composers and musicians as he explores complex themes including murder, violence, cult religion and, ultimately, the triumph of love.

Lest this blog post end up in a blog post about long blog posts, I’ll stop there. What are some of your favorite long reads?

--
Mark is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow him online here.