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 »

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.
PR maven, news junkie, baseball fanatic, late-night talk show watcher, frequent restaurant diner and former VH-1 reality show addict.
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.
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.
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.
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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Books Authors Read with Sophie Kinsella

We continue our "Books Authors Read" series with Sophie Kinsella. Sophie is the best-selling author of the Shopaholic series. Her latest novel, Shopaholic to the Stars, is available at your local HPB today in the new arrivals section. Sophie loves a good book that make for a great film. Enjoy some of her favorite reads! – Emily

Hollywood and the publishing world are irrevocably intertwined these days. After all, a book and a film are just two ways of telling a story; two forms of entertainment; two ways to connect with an audience. But they are very different forms. A novel is essentially one single person's creation with one name on the cover, whereas a film is the ultimate example of team-work, with about 6,000 people named in the credits. (OK, I exaggerate!) A lot can fall through the gaps as books move from the page to screen. So to find novels that you loved - AND loved the movie version - this can be rare. But here are five that worked for me…

1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I am a huge Dickens fan. His storytelling takes your breath away - and the characters! The names! There is such comedy and drama and pace in any Dickens novel that you wonder how any film can do justice to the original. And then you see David Lean's Great Expectations, and you sink back and wallow. 

2. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

This book is very, very funny. It made me laugh out loud on many occasions when I read it - and it does so again whenever I subsequently read it. The main character, Rob, is so hopeless and honest, you can't help rooting for him and his friends. He's a bit stuck in life, trying to work out what it's all about and defining his life through lists. Mainly lists of songs. I worried again that no film would be able to bring his idiosyncratic character to life, but John Cusack was perfect and the whole movie felt true.

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

This was the first Harry Potter book I read. I absolutely loved it, immediately read the previous books and became an avid fan, waiting for new releases as eagerly as my children. I hoped and prayed that the films would be wonderful, and I really think they are. They are so faithful to both the detail and spirit of the books. I particularly like this one because of the neatness of the plot.

4. Atonement by Ian McEwan

This is such a powerful, atmospheric book, full of big ideas and a riveting plot. There is everything in this book, from love to class to war, and of course, guilt as a driving emotion. I lapped it up as soon as it came out, and went to see the movie too, which I thought was quite brilliant.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

What can one say? It's a classic tale which moves and charms and inspires new thoughts every time you read it. I now enjoy it through my children reading it and discussing it. And when they ask, "Is there a movie?" I don't frown and say "Read the book!" but instead: "Yes there is, and that's a classic, too."

Sophie Kinsella is an English novelist known for her Shopaholic series. Her two best-selling novels, The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Abroad were adapted into a film in 2009 entitled Confessions of a Shopaholic. Visit her online or follow her on Twitter @KinsellaSophie.


Terrific Teachers from Literature, TV and Film: Part 2

Fall is here, which means it’s the time of year that HPB says thank you to educators. Educator Appreciation Weekend starts today, during that time teachers and librarians nationwide can shop their local HPB and save an extra 20% on their purchase by signing up for or renewing an Educator Discount Card. This deal is good through Monday, 10/13, plus educators can use the card all year long for a recurring 10% discount!

As a child of two members of the education system myself, all this talk about teachers got me thinking about some of the best examples I’ve encountered on the silver screen, the tube or in a book. We’ve visited this topic before, so if you’d like to see our first Top 10 list, click here. Otherwise, read on for even more great picks!

1. Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

No teacher list would be complete without Mister Rogers. Kids of all ages grew up learning from this man. After all, the show ran for 30+ years! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…


2. Mr. Belding, Saved By the Bell

Technically a principal, not a teacher…but if, like me, you grew up with the students of Bayside High, then you know Mr. Belding deserves our praise.



3. Edna Krabappel, The Simpsons

Anyone who can put up with Bart Simpson for 20+ years has my respect. At least Ms. Krabappel taught Bart a lesson or two…hundred (see the chalkboard at the start of each episode).



4. Cameron Tucker, Modern Family

From dressing up as George Washington to making an orchestra with his students’ own bodies, Cam always goes above and beyond…and then a little further. But he means well.


5. Severus Snape, Harry Potter

Professor Snape is complex, and there are many great Harry Potter professors, but I picked Snape. After all, we all had that one teacher who we hated at the time but truly appreciate later on.



6. Tim Gunn, Project Runway

Tim Gunn has helped aspiring designers “Make it work!” for more than 30 years, the past 10 of which on TV. No teacher has more patience, understanding and concern for his students.



7. Dewey Finn, School of Rock

Every school has a substitute teacher with a slightly different educational perspective. Dewey is no different, helping his students embrace their inner creative talent.


8. Four, Divergent

Instructing Tris and the other transfer initiates, Four is brave and bold, while still having a sensitive side. Interestingly, it seems that Four learns just as much from Tris as he teaches her.



9. Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus

From her wicked sense of style to her unparalleled sense of adventure, Ms. Frizzle is iconic, leading her band of students (and us as well) to a world they could have never imagined.



10. Mr. Miyagi, The Karate Kid

Mr. Miyagi leads through action and skill, not just words. Though he certainly knows how to make a point: “No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher. Teacher say, student do.”



What do you think? Who’s your favorite educator?


Jason is Email Marketing Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

You can follow him on Twitter at @jasonapermenter.


Local Store Events Round-Up: October 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 October! 

All Stores 

Educator Appreciation Weekend

Teachers and librarians save 20% on everything in store during Educator Appreciation Weekend Thursday, October 9 through Monday, October 13 at all Half Price Books locations. While you're in the store, renew your Educator Discount Card and continue to save 10% all year round. No matter what you buy – stocking up for your classroom or getting something for yourself – you'll save on your entire purchase. If you don't have an Educator Discount Card, apply for one today in store or online! It's simple to apply and easy to save. And remember, your P.O. money goes twice as far at Half Price Books, where almost everything is half price or less every day.



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 Oct. 5!

Phoenix – Camelback 

First Sunday Storytime

Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Camelback HPB for Storytime Sunda

Click to read more ...


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

It’s that time of year again, when the movie scene really starts heating up with many great books coming out on the big screen. If you want to get a jump on all the Oscar hopefuls, here are some reading material suggestions.

 Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord 


A psychiatrist, played by Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), searches the world to discover happiness. This plot seems reminiscent of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty from last year, but with a cast that includes Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgard, Toni Collette, Jean Reno and Christopher Plummer, this could be a good film. Look for a wide release on September 26.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

With his wife’s disappearance having become the a focus of an intense media circus, a man (Ben Affleck) has the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected he may not be innocent. Gone Girl already has a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding it. It could be nominated in many categories, including Best Director (David Fincher) and a Best Picture. Be sure to check this one out on October 3.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Alexander wakes up with gum in his hair and things just get worse from there. This Disney release is a film for all ages. It stars Steve Carell (The Office) and Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club). Look for it on the big screen October 10.

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

A pair of former high school sweethearts reunite after many years when they return to visit their small home town. Written by the author of The Notebook and Safe Haven. Starring Michelle Monaghan, Liana Liberato and James Marsden. In theaters October 17.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part I by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen, played by Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the autocratic Capitol. The film will be Part I of II, but you can look to start Mockingjay on November 21.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

A chronicle of one woman's 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe. Look for great performances from Academy Award-winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park). Wild will hit the silver screen December 5.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the 5 Armies by J.R.R. Tolkien

Thorin and Company has reached Smaug's lair, but can Bilbo and the Dwarves reclaim Erebor and the treasure? And, if so, can they hold on to it? This will be the exciting conclusion to Peter Jackson's latest trilogy. In theaters December 17.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. Directed by Angelina Jolie, this film has the making of an Oscar frontrunner. Be sure to check out Unbroken on Christmas Day.

This list of fall releases, that will keep you busy reading and at the movies all season long!

Remember, no talking or texting during the feature presentation.


Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.


Happy National Punctuation Day!

I’m sure everyone has seen the punctuation meme that points out the difference between “Let’s eat Grandma” and “Let’s eat, Grandma." Or you've heard the joke where a panda walks into a restaurant, eats a sandwich, pulls out a gun and shoots his waiter before leaving, because according to the dictionary, a panda “eats, shoots and leaves.”  These examples prove that punctuation saves lives. Well, today is National Punctuation Day, a day to celebrate commas, periods, quotation marks, semicolons and ellipses.  

Recently, our office debated whether or not to use the Oxford comma on our website.  While most were ambivalent, one of my co-workers was adamantly opposed to using it, while another remarked that not using it “made her head explode.” Though we all hoped she was using hyperbole, we kept our distance for the rest of the day just in case. 

However, that got me thinking about what punctuation mistakes make my other co-workers’ heads explode.  So, I asked them, and here are their answers.

Jason—“Unnecessary quotation marks”

So is it chicken, or is it not chicken?  Maybe they just called it “chicken” and hoped no one would notice.


Emily–“Using apostrophes to make things plural.”


Apostrophes are used for possessives and contractions, not plurals.


Susan–“A complete lack of punctuation”

Or in other words, RUN!


So do you have any punctuation mistakes that make your head explode?

If you want to learn more about punctuation, visit the reference section of your local Half Price Books.


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