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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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Friday
Apr102015

Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary: Celebrating Drop Everything and Read Day

Beverly Cleary turns 99-years-old on Sunday! The beloved author of books like Henry Huggins, The Mouse and the Motorcyle and the Ramona series, was born on April 12, 1916. We would like to celebrate her birthday by telling you a few things you may not know about this author.

  • Yamhill, OR, the town where Mrs. Cleary was raised, did not have a library. So her mother made an arrangement with the State Library to have books sent to her and then created a reading area in a small room above the Yamhill Bank.
  • After moving to Portland in the first grade, Beverly came down with the chicken pox and was out of school for a while. Being behind in her schoolwork when she returned she was placed in the lowest reading circle and quickly became bored with her required reading selection.  Since Mrs. Cleary began writing, she has always kept in mind children who are struggling with reading.
  • Though Mrs. Cleary’s parents had another gentleman in mind for her, Beverly eloped with Clarence Cleary, whom she had met in college.
  • Though Mrs. Cleary was determined to write “the kind of books [she] wanted to read,” she followed her mother’s advice and got a steady job as a librarian.
  • When her husband asked her why she didn’t write a book, Mrs. Cleary said, “Because we never have any sharp pencils,” so the next day Mr. Cleary brought her a pencil sharpener.
  •  Mrs. Cleary’s mother also advised her to write simply and make her books humorous, because “everyone likes to laugh.”
  • Mrs. Cleary’s first book Henry Huggins was published in 1950.

  • Mrs. Cleary’s best-loved character, Ramona, appeared as a minor character in Henry Huggins
  • Mrs. Cleary had a neighbor named Ramona, and one day, as Mrs. Cleary was writing the character of an annoying little sister, she heard someone call out “Ramona!” so that became the name of her character.
  • Mrs. Cleary would bake bread while she wrote.
  • You can see statues of Ramona Quimby and other Cleary characters in Portland’s Grant Park.  Many scenes from several of Cleary’s books take place in Grant Park.
  • Mrs. Cleary is a cat lover and owned one cat who tired of competing with the typewriter for Cleary’s attention, would sit on the keys
  • In 2000, Mrs. Cleary was named a living legend by the Library of Congress.
  • Mrs. Cleary’s last book Two Times the Fun was published in 2005.  It is an omnibus, containing stories like The Growing-Up Feet, Two Dog Biscuits and Janet’s Thingamajigs.

  • In Mrs. Cleary’s  book Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona’s class celebrates Drop  Everything And Read (D.E.A.R.) Day, a day set aside to encourage everyone to take time in their day to read.  As a result, D.E.A.R. Day is now celebrated every April 12 to coincide with Mrs. Cleary’s birthday. What a wonderful way to celebrate someone’s birthday!

So, don’t forget to stop by your local Half Price Books on Sunday, April 12, and take time to read something fun. Perhaps even revisit your childhood by picking up a copy of your favorite Beverly Cleary book.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Cleary!

--

Julie is Traffic Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You may follow her on Twitter at @auntjewey.

Wednesday
Apr012015

Local Store Events Round-Up: April 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 April!

ALL STORES

2015 HPB Tournament of Fandoms!

We’re down to the final four in our The Tournament of Fandoms! Your votes will decide who has the biggest fans of all. May the best fans win!
 
ARIZONA

HPB at Phoenix Pride Festival

Look for the Half Price Books booth at the 35th Annual Phoenix Pride Festival on Saturday & Sunday, April 11-12, from noon - 9 p.m., at Steele Indian School Park. We’ll have books, music and movies to sell plus valuable coupons! See you there!

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! See you April 5!

Jeannine Pondozzi Book Signing
Meet local author Jeannine Pondozzi on Saturday, April 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. at your Camelback HPB in Phoenix. Jeannine will sell and sign her books including, The House of Santos series. Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.

ILLINOIS

Niles
Saturday Storytime

Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Village Crossing HPB for Storytime Saturday. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 3 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month. All young readers and listeners are welcome! See you April 4!

Orland Park
20% Off Vinyl Sale

Listen up, audiophiles! Saturday, April 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. we're giving you 20% off all vinyl at your Orland Park HPB. We’ll be spinning classic tunes and at 4 p.m., DJ Tanner will hold a Vinyl-themed trivia contest with a chance to win a Vinyl Gift Pack. Be sure to thumb through our vast collection of LPs and discover new treasures to add to your vinyl collection.

Gerald Manuel Book Signing

Meet author and pastor Gerald Manuel on Saturday, April 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. at your Orland Park HPB. Pastor Manuel will sell, sign and discuss his book How to Identify Your Spiritual Soul Mate, which provides valuable dating advice for adults of all ages and backgrounds. Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.


INDIANA

Pop Mania Saturday

Pop, Pop! Check out the magnitude of items on sale! Saturday, April 18, all Indiana HPB stores are offering an additional 20% off select comics, graphic novels, manga, music and movies!

Bloomington – Half Price Books Outlet

Vinyl Thursdays

Listen up, audiophiles! Your Bloomington HPB Outlet is offering 50% Off Vinyl each Thursday. You can buy stacks o'wax, a plethora of platters, gobs of grooves, loads of LPs, or as many as you please.  See store for details.

Indianapolis – Northbrook/Greenbriar

Greyhound Pet Adoptions

Looking for a loyal friend, a lovable buddy, a canine companion? On the 4th Saturday of each month, from 2 to 4 p.m., Greyhound Pets of America - Indianapolis will bring their Greyhound dogs for a meet and greet. Stop by your HPB at 86th and Ditch Rd. and meet the fastest dog on earth. Learn about this affectionate breed and how you can adopt a retired racing Greyhound. See store for details. See you April 25!

Indianapolis – Clearwater Village

Ta’Sean McKinley Book Signing

Meet youth minister and author Ta’Sean McKinley on Friday, April 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. at your Clearwater Village HPB in Indianapolis. Ta’Sean will sell and sign his inspirational autobiography Unaccompanied. Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.

Marc Thomas Eckel Book Signing
Meet Fort Wayne artist and author Marc Thomas Eckel on Friday, April 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. at your Clearwater Village HPB in Indianapolis. Marc will sell and sign his latest novel ReBoren, based on the two lives of Chaplain John Boren . Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.

KENTUCKY

Bowling Green – Half Price Books Outlet

Literature Art Competition

Calling all creatives! Your Bowling Green HPB Outlet is hosting an art competition in April with the theme of “Literature.” Students and local artists are invited to submit original mixed-media artwork or photography that fit the “Literature” theme from April 1 through April 15. Artwork will be on display in the store from April 16 through April 25, when customers are invited to vote for their favorite pieces. On

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar262015

The Sweet Sixteen: Matching Up Basketball Movie Classics

It’s the end of March, folks, which means that Spring has sprung, we’ve all worn our green and March Madness is in full swing. Since we’re down to 16 contenders, I thought I’d match up some of the best basketball-themed movies. Which are your favorites?

90s Faves

Eddie (1996)—Limo driver Eddie (Whoopi Goldberg) wins a contest to coach the New York Knicks, whipping the team back into shape before their owner moves them to St. Louis!

 

 

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)—Hustlers Billy (Woody Harrelson) and Sidney (Wesley Snipes) band together and take to the court in Los Angeles, with laughs along the way.

 

 

 

The Thinkers

Finding Forrester (2000)—Basketball player and brilliant student Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) befriends reclusive author William Forrester (Sean Connery), helping Jamal pursue his true dream of writing.

 

 

O (2001)­­—A modern take on Shakespeare’s Othello, O tells the store of the basketball prodigy Odin (Mekhi Phifer) and jealous coach’s son Hugo (Josh Hartnett), leading to a tragic conclusion.

 

 

Coach Spotlights

Sunset Park (1996)—Phyllis Saroka (Rhea Perlman) is the white, female coach of an all-black high school boys’ basketball team. More than just a coach, Saroka inspires the team to greatness.

 

 

Coach Carter (2005)—Samuel L. Jackson stars as Ken Carter, who imposes a behavior-based contract on his basketball team. When the team breaks the contract, they are benched—all of them.

 

 

Love Stories

Love & Basketball (2000)—Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps star in this hoops-themed romance about two life-long friends who navigate the twists and turns of love while also building pro careers.

 

 

Just Wright (2010)—Queen Latifah portrays physical therapist Leslie Wright, who begins to treat NBA star Scott McKnight (Common). When Leslie begins to fall for her patient, what will she do?

 

 

Shaq vs. Michael

Space Jam (1996)This ‘90s classic pits Michael Jordan and our favorite Looney Tunes characters against a pack of aliens and NBA starts in a basketball showdown to ensure their freedom.

 

 

Blue Chips (1994)Shaquille O’Neal makes his acting debut in this classic story about a coach who is forced to break the rules of recruiting to keep his school competitive.

 

 

 

Kid Faves

Air Bud (1997)—Young Josh Framm (Kevin Zegers) befriends a stray dog named Buddy with a unique ability to play basketball. Buddy helps Josh embrace his own basketball talent and overcome the odds.

 

 

Like Mike (2002)—A legendary pair of basketball shoes and a bit of supernatural intervention leads orphan Calvin (Shad Moss a.k.a. Lil Bow Wow) all the way to the NBA.

 

 

 

Family Dynamics

Above the Rim (1994)—Kyle Lee Watson is a promising basketball star whose relationship with brothers Birdie (Tupac Shakur), a drug dealer, and Shep, a former hoops star, could be his downfall.

 

 

He Got Game (1998)—Spike Lee’s classic tells the story of Jesus Shuttlesworth, whose budding basketball career is overshadowed by his father, Jake (Denzel Washington), who is in prison.

 

 

Championship Classics

Hoosiers (1986)—One of the greatest basketball (and sports) movies of all time, Hoosiers is based on the true story of a high school team in Indiana that overcame the odds to make the state finals.

 

 

Glory Road (2006)—Coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) leads the 1966 Texas Western University basketball team, the first all-black starting line up, to the NCAA championship.

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions: Teen Wolf (1985), The Basketball Diaries (1995), The 6th Man (1997), Semi-Pro (2008)

That’s a whole lotta hoops! Did I miss any of your favorite basketball classics?

Looking for more great matchups? Cast your vote in our Tournament of Fandoms today!

-

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

Tuesday
Mar172015

St. Pat-a-Palooza: 10 Writers or Characters Named Patrick or Patricia 

This St. Patrick’s day, we thought we’d give St. Patrick some support. So here’s a team of modern-day Patrick and Patricias to fill out his team. From the Patron Saint of Nose Jobs to the High Priest of 60s Mod Men, we hope these authors, actors, and fictional characters will entertain and delight you.

Patrick Süskind: Patron Saint of Nose Jobs

If you've ever eaten a transcendent meal, sipped wine that made you swoon, or smelled a perfume that sent you straight to heaven, this book is for you. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is the story of an infant abandoned in the filth of an 18th century fish market in Paris. Off to a very rocky start, he survives, and as he grows up, develops the most acute sense of smell in the world. What follows is a lot of robbing things of their aromatic souls and a stern cautionary message about obsession. The story is unique, the character development is exceptional, and the pace is fast. Take note: the movie is nowhere near as good as the book - it's impossible to convey all the smelly hijinks on-screen.  Want another truly unique tale? Try Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle, the story of Sean Phillips, a burn victim who creates roleplaying games that guide players through intricately imagined post-apocalyptic worlds. For some fans, his imaginary world blurs with reality, and as the players make their choices, we travel back in time to the choices Sean made that resulted in his disfigurement.  Mystery, the life choices we make, injury, and recovery are all here in a dark, complicated tapestry. This one may haunt you.

Patrick Bateman: Icon of Cultural Fail

 Is he a greed-filled psychopathic killer, or just an unreliable, hallucinating, self-aggrandizing narrator? American Psycho is a controversial book – even banned in some countries – yet it continues to show up on Top 10 lists. Its themes are greed, status-obsession, loss of empathy and various other reptilian behaviors at the individual and cultural level. Choose with care: do you really want to read about a deranged killer singing "The Greatest Love of All" while wielding an industrial staple gun? The New York Times called the film "a mean and lean horror comedy classic," and all other things aside, Christian Bale’s performance as Bateman is chilling. Too graphic? I wouldn’t say that Dexter is a kinder, gentler psychopath, but at least he limits his killing to those who deserve it. Mostly. If you might enjoy Really Really Evil people getting their vigilante comeuppance, and want a deeper look into the life and mind of a psycho, this is for you.

Patrick Rothfuss: Torch Bearer for the Long Haulers

Because for some folks, the first volume is just a prologue. If you’re seeking long-haul transport to another world, Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles is a gorgeous, dark and immersive trilogy that will do the trick. Kvothe, the main character, is occasionally a bit of a Mary Sue..."I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me," but you have to forgive him: he has mad skills, and his story is extraordinary.  Other escapist-fantasy sets we love: Tolkien, The Fionavar Tapestry, The Deepness Trilogy,  Imajica (two volumes but with a page count of three),  All Souls Trilogy, Bio of a Space Tyrant, The Chronicles of Amber, and The Culture Series.  Short on time? Get an entire trilogy's worth of content in one volume with Charles Stross' Accelerando.

Patrick Crawley: Spirit-Brother of the Redshirts

Who remembers Downton Abbey’s Patrick Crawley from season 1, who sank with the Titanic instead of marrying Lady Mary? True to redshirt form, he only gets a brief cameo here so that we can recommend Julian Fellowes' Past Imperfect. This book invokes the crumbling British aristocracy in the mid-20th century at a very personal level; you'll feel as if you're part of the events taking place. It’s full of subtle intrigue and spans generations. Highly recommended for those who enjoy the genre! Seeking similar but different? Readers who like British class clashes will also enjoy Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley mysteries - elaborate whodunits unraveled by an earl who works alongside the common folks on the police force. Start with A Great Deliverance or watch the series. If you've had your fill of stuffy British manners, consider a high-octane blood-soaked slashy action flick, starring poor, dead Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) - The Guest.  Leave the lights on for this one!

Patricia Highsmith: Guardian Angel of Persecuted Love

1952 was the year Alan Turing was arrested and jailed for being gay. As whispers of a homosexual underground in the State Department caused The Lavender Scare and the Veteran’s Administration was denying benefits due to sexual orientation, Patricia Highsmith wrote The Price of Salt, the first gay novel with a happy ending. The claustrophobia and repressive attitudes of the 1950s are present here, but are counterbalanced beautifully by the lyrical first love of a young woman in New York City. It's smoldering and hypnotic, and the writing is a cultural observer's delight: “It reminded her of the conversations at tables, on sofas, with people whose words seemed to hover over dead, unstirrable things, who never touched a string that played.” Highsmith wrote many psychological thrillers, and her novel Strangers on a Train became a Hitchcock classic. Too quaint? Risk culture shock by fast-forwarding 30 years later to Don Juan in the Village by Jane DeLynn – a time capsule of the early 1990s NYC gay scene in its own right.

Patrick Macnee: High Priest of 1960s Mod Men

You may be cool, but you'll never be John Steed cool. Watch this mod, mad British classic, and don't miss the episode titled The House That Jack Built, which features a giant computerized psychedelic mousetrap designed to drive Emma Peel insane.  Macnee's memoir, The Avengers - The Inside Story is also a lot of fun. Want more? Here’s another British mod espionage series, and another Patrick. In The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan, plays a retired secret agent who's abducted and taken to what looks like an idyllic village, but is really a bizarre Orwellian prison. As each escape attempt is thwarted by a belligerent, undulating weather balloon called Rover; things get weirder and weirder till the surprising conclusion. Who is number one? And what drugs were involved in the making of this very British pop-cultural product?

Patrick Stewart: Patron Saint of Making It So

Patrick Stewart owns those three words now – there’s no point in anyone else saying them anymore, ever. In addition to snatching the Sexiest Bald Guy Ever Award away from Yul Brynner's 30-years-dead but still-hot hands, Stewart is known for becoming a flute virtuoso, betraying humanity to the Borg then saving us from assimilation, training aspiring young mutants and defying the time travel paradox in The X-Men Trilogy, and reciting Shakespeare like a boss. If your Star Trek TNG and X-Men collections are already complete, the Patrick Stewart biography contains some surprises and is worth a read. Been there, done that? Looking for an edgier intergalactic bald guy, perhaps with some mutant Eyeshine and a little more Brown-Chicken-Brown-Cow? Riddick books or movies might be the hero you need.

Patrick Modiano: Patron Saint of Meaning-Seekers

In Suspended Sentences, a collection of three novellas that won a Nobel literature prize, Modiano sends us floating down gentle streams that blend memory and imagination. Through stories of lost loves, abandoned children, mentors and parents, empty apartments and shuttered old hotels, Modiano’s characters slowly tantalize us with small, glittering glimpses of their lives. You can feel his characters striving to discover and form meaning from the mysteries of their pasts. Time blurs, identities blur, and reality, it seems, is more elusive than you think. The writing is delicate and detached, as memories from the past often are, but the stories are deeply haunting. Want another tantalizing story steeped in history? All the Light We Cannot See, a story about a blind girl and a soldier whose paths cross during World War II, a priceless blue diamond and the horrors of war with 38 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list, this one’s an intricate, suspenseful read.

Patrick "Kitten" Braden: Hope-bringer for Hearts of Glass

Breakfast on Pluto is a surreal coming-of-age story about outsiders, loyalty and individualism. Patrick's a foundling, abandoned on the doorstep of a church in a small village in Ireland. Against a backdrop of escalating political violence, the child matures into a gentle but saucy trans woman and sets out to find her mother.  Too fragile for this world - a modern-day Blanche DuBois - it looks as if the world is going to chew her up and spit her out, but the kindness of strangers, luck and staying true to herself may save the day.  You might weep for humanity, yet it's enchanting and funny, too. Happily, the movie by the director of Oscar-winning The Crying Game is every bit as good as the book, and Cillian Murphy's performance is exceptional. Too gauzy and surreal? Boys Don't Cry is a nonfiction story in this same vein, albeit with a darker ending. 

Patrick Swayze: Squadron Commander of the 80s Retro Movement

Sure, we could dismiss Patrick Swayze because he was voted Sexiest Man Alive way back in 1991, but then we'd miss his gorgeous dance moves in Dirty Dancing, his slick, smarmy role as a pedophiliac motivational speaker in Donnie Darko and his just plain awesome Bodhisattva-surfer-bank robber character in Point Break. This man had range, and I'm not just talking about his fouetté jeté. Put on your retro goggles, set your disco ball to stun, unbutton your lamé shirt to your navel and enjoy. Want extra retro credit? Grab some Bee Gees or Thriller on vintage vinyl and tighten up those dance moves. Stay alive out there.

 

 

 

Pam is the General Manager of HPB.com.

Friday
Mar132015

2015 Tournament of Fandoms: Honorable Mentions

March Madness is sweeping the country, and Half Price Books is celebrating by holding a Tournament of Fandoms. We searched for the best literary, pop culture and personality driven fandoms out there.  There are a lot of fandoms, and we only had sixty-four slots to fill, so as decisions were made and fandoms began to get cut, many tears were shed, and many battles waged before finally arriving at the final bracket.  Then, as the fandoms (and tears) fell, a lone voice of reason said, “Why don’t we mention some of these other fandoms on the blog?” and there was great rejoicing.

So here are our honorable mention fandoms:

Click to read more ...