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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Tuesday
May122015

If you liked Echo, then you might also like...

If you are part of the HPB Book Club, you are currently reading (or perhaps just finished) Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan. If you are not part of the HPB Book Club, you can join and read this book, for even though Echo was written for middle-graders, readers of all ages can't put this book down.

What makes this story so intriguing?  Its main character is a harmonica.  Weaving a fairy-tale-like introduction to the book, Ryan follows a special harmonica that touches the lives of three very different children leading up to and during the World War II.  Friedrich is a German boy whose birthmark puts him in danger as Hitler enforces the perfection of the German race.  Mike is an orphan who is trying to protect his little brother by any means necessary.  Finally, Ivy is a Hispanic-American girl who has to battle prejudice on two fronts, after America has been drawn into the war. Each child finds the healing power of music when they find a very special harmonica.  I can’t even tell you which story was my favorite.

However, if your favorite story was Friedrich’s, you may want to read:

 

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss; Number the Stars by Lois Lowry; The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne;

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr; The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

If your favorite story was Mike’s, you may want to read:


Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan; What I Call Life by Jill Wolfson; One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt; The Year We Sailed the Sun by Theresa Nelson

If your favorite story was Ivy’s, you may want to read:

 

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer; Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai; Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson; Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

If you would like to chat with fellow HPB Book Clubbers, visit hpb.com/bookclub/fb and join the conversation about Echo between now and the end of May.

So, what book are you going to read next?

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

Friday
May082015

The Mother of All Blogs: Best Moms in Books, TV & Film

Mother’s Day is upon us, which got me thinking about all the wonderful (or at least memorable) maternal figures we have grown to love in books, television shows and movies. Here’s to all the great moms out there!

Literature

The All-Time Classic Mom

Margaret “Marmee” March (Little Women)

Four daughters, no money, and a husband at war. And yet, Marmee can do it all. She’s truly a mother for the generations.

Honorable Mentions: Ma Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie series), Marilla Cuthbert (Anne of Green Gables)

 

The Unconventional Book Mom

Charlotte the Spider (Charlotte’s Web)

Always wise and endlessly caring, Charlotte’s relationship with Wilbur the pig is truly touching. Who knew a spider could be so lovable?

Honorable Mentions: Mammy (Gone With the Wind), Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins series)

 

The Newcomer Mom

Natalie Prior (Divergent series)

In Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Natalie Prior is a brave, loving mother who does whatever it takes to protect her daughter.

Honorable Mentions: Mrs. Lancaster (The Fault in Our Stars), Renée Dwyer (Twilight series)

 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May062015

Teacher Appreciation Week: Celebrating Educators and Half Pint Library

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, and we have some teachers to thank!

As we bid farewell once again to the biggest book drive and book giveaway of the year, the Half Price Books Half Pint Library program, we say a special thanks to the educators and game-changers who came out during April and picked up box after box of children’s books to deliver to their own classrooms and libraries. Selfless acts of literary kindness are just one of the things that make teachers great.

At Half Price Books, we know that educators spend lots of their own money each year to furnish their own classroom supplies. That’s why we created the Half Pint Library Program to help defer some of that cost by providing books for kids in need.

So, teachers, THANK YOU! The 17th Annual Half Price Books Half Pint Library giveaway events ended last week and our math lesson for the day follows. Here is HPL by-the-numbers:

1 month

34 Half Pint Library Book Giveaway events

16 states across the USA

487 schools and non-profits

11 Half Price Books trucks FULL of kids books

53,021 books donated by customers

170,256 books matched by Half Price Books

223,277 total books given away!

Thank you to our customers who donated books in March! Half Price Books was able to match these donations (and then some) with excess kids’ books from our stores. We provided every teacher or non-profit that attended a giveaway at least two boxes of books to support their libraries and programs in local communities across the nation!

The Half Pint Library program (HPL) is part of the year-round Million Book Donation Project. This annual children’s book drive is hosted each spring by Half Price Books to collect and distribute books to those in need. Books donated through the Half Pint Library program provide an escape from the challenges faced by children while helping to boost literacy skills outside of school. In many cases, children receive their first book through the Half Pint Library program. The drive accepts any type of children’s book, including Spanish language books, as long as they are in good condition. The program has collected more than 2 million books for pediatric patients, community centers, schools and other children in need.

 

And don't forget! You can save 10% off your purchases from Half Price Books year-round with our Educator Discount Card.

--

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.

You can follow her on Twitter at @bexican75.

Friday
May012015

Local Store Events Round-Up: May 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 May!

ALL STORES

Comic Book Giveaway Day
Don't miss the pulse-pounding fun of Comic Book Giveaway Day on Saturday, May 2 at all HPB retail locations. Get a free comic book* with any in-store purchase while supplies last. Hope to see you there for the action-packed fun.  

*From a pre-selected collection while supplies last. See store for restrictions and details

School's out! Get cash for your textbooks!
Is your semester over? Bring all your used textbooks and classroom reading to HPB for a competitive cash offer. It's that simple. Want to know more about selling to Half Price Books? Get the scoop on what to expect.

 

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! See you May 3!

Frances B. Wells Book Signing

Meet local author Frances B. Wells on Saturday, May 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at your Camelback HPB in Phoenix. Frances will sell and sign her Christian Living book Offences Will Come. Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.

Christopher Vince Gonzales Book Signing
Meet local author Christopher Vince Gonzales at your Camelback HPB in Phoenix on Saturday, May 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chris will sell and sign his inspirational book Wake Up: Poverty Inspires Me. Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.

Stephen Paul Campos Book Signing
Meet local author Stephen Paul Campos at your Camelback HPB in Phoenix on Saturday, May 30, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stephen will sell and sign his book Steps 4 Recovery: which is about veterans’ healing and recovery from PTSD. Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr302015

And All That Jazz: Swinging Sounds for International Jazz Day

Happy International Jazz Day, everyone! We’re all celebrating, right?

As every school child knows, April 30 has been designated as International Jazz Day by UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations.

April 30 is also National Honesty Day. So, let’s be honest. Most people don’t listen to jazz or know much about it. I say that based on personal experience, and it’s backed up by recording industry data, radio station ratings and surveys on concert attendance. The reasons for this are complicated, and the jazz blogosphere is filled with thoughtful analysis.

For the sake of this post, however, let’s say you’re at least somewhat interested in jazz, but perhaps you don’t know where to start.

Admittedly, jazz can be confusing. It’s a broad genre, encompassing (rightly or wrongly) everything from noisy experimental “free jazz” to WWII-era big band music to the “smooth jazz” heard when you’re waiting for your conference call to begin. Also, most jazz greats had prolific recording careers spanning several decades, resulting in massive, imposing discographies.

For those interested in sampling this great, American-born music but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few totally-biased suggestions. First, we’ll look at some classic jazz, then at a handful of more recent recordings.

Duke Ellington: Ellington at Newport (1956)
This live album from Ellington’s triumphant turn at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival works as a great introduction to the pianist-composer-bandleader’s music. Included are some of Duke’s earliest works, dating back to the 20s, as well as new music written for the occasion. This has it all — power, humor, beauty and above all, madly infectious swing. Note: The original LP contained some music recreated in the studio, so for the best sound quality and complete performance, look for the “complete” version issued as a two-CD set in 1999.

Click to read more ...