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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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.
JD
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.
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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Monday
Sep222014

Banned Books Awareness: September 21-27

HPB passionately supports Banned Books Awareness Week, happening now through Saturday. Stop by one of your neighborhood Half Price Books and check out some of the displays our Bibliomaniacs have put together to support banned or challenged books.

Half Price Books at Park Place
Palatine, Illinois


 

Half Price Books at Campbell Village
Richardson, Texas


 

Half Price Books at Clear Lake
Houston, Texas


 

Half Price Books at Westheimer/Montrose
Houston, Texas


 

Half Price Books at The Pointe at North Fayette
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


 

Half Price Books at Southpark Meadows
Austin, Texas 


 

Half Price Books at South Lamar/The Corners
Austin, Texas


 

Half Price Books at Village Square Mall
Bethel Park, Pennsylvania 


 

Half Price Books at Holiday Center
Monroeville, Pennsylvania


 

Half Price Books Flagship
Dallas, Texas 



JD
 is a Web Designer/Developer at Half Price Books Corporate.
You may follow him on Twitter at @jdtatum.

Thursday
Sep182014

Ready to FALL in Love With These New TV Series

Now that Summer is finally drawing to a close, we’re fast approaching one my favorite times of the year: TV premiere season! Each year, TV networks and production studios work hard to create the next FriendsER, or Breaking Bad—that series that becomes the can’t-miss event, the topic of water-cooler (or, in 2014, Facebook) discussion, and this year’s entry in the cultural zeitgeist. With some of this year’s crop of new shows already premiering next week, I wanted to sort out the contenders (see below) from the pretenders (Debra Messing, I love you, but The Mysteries of Laura screams “early cancellation”). So let’s get started!

How to Get Away With Murder (premieres Thursday, September 25th at 9c on ABC)

Shonda Rhimes is destined for another runaway hit with this sizzling legal drama, set to premiere right after the buzz-worthy Scandal. Viola Davis’s Annalise Keating, a no-nonsense law professor leading a pack of attractive (but mysterious) students as law clerks who get caught up in a murder plot. Intrigue! Passion! Mystery! Beautiful people! You know it’s going to be amazing…

Gotham (premieres Monday, September 22nd at 7c on FOX)

Call me crazy, but Commissioner Gordon has always been the most interesting character in the Batman universe. In this dark and gritty series, we learn more about the commish in a pre-Batman world. We’ll see some familiar faces, though, including the Caped Crusader, as well as Catwoman, The Riddler, Poison Ivy and even The Penguin. Ben McKenzie has come a long way from The OC days!

Black-ish (premieres Wednesday, September 24th at 8:30c on ABC)

Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Laurence Fishburne, as the comic relief, no less? This will either succeed with flying colors or fail miserably, but I’m hoping for the former. Follow the Johnson family as they try to rediscover their cultural identity. My DVR is already set.

These are far from all of the shows that will be filling our screens this season, so here’s your chance to sound off! Which shows are you excited to see, or which ones do you think are dead on arrival?

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Jason is Email Marketing Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

You can follow him on Twitter at @jasonapermenter.

Tuesday
Sep162014

Exciting Fall Releases We Can’t Wait to Read!

September and October are two of my favorite months.  Not because the weather turns cooler or the leaves change colors, but because, as every bibliomaniac knows, some of the best books get published in September and October.  This year is no exception.  Whether you like to read YA, thrillers, and horror or just like to have a good laugh, here are some books you may want to add to your reading list.

      Afterworlds  Skink No Surrender Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield - September 23 release

 Scott Westerfield, the bestselling author of the Uglies series, has done it again, creating another world in which we can get lost. However, this book has an interesting twist.  Part of the book takes place in this world, where a young girl, Darcy, has opted to forgo college in order to move to New York City and publish her novel, Afterworlds,  a thriller about a young girl, Lizzie, who is caught between the living and the dead in the Afterworld.  The two stories are woven into each other, chapter by chapter as they both struggle to find their way in the strange new world in which they find themselves.

Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen–September 23 release

This is bestselling author Carl Hiaasen’s newest Skink book, Skink–No Surrender.  When Mailey takes off with a guy she met online in order to avoid being shipped off to boarding school, her cousin Richard and Skink, the wild, one-eyed ex-governor of Florida, go on the most hilarious road trip ever, hoping to find Mailey before it’s too late.

Prince Lestat by Anne Rice–October 28 release

After 11 years, The Vampire Chronicles are back with Prince Lestat, just in time for Halloween. This book brings together the worlds and beings of all the Vampire Chronicles as old vampires are roused from their slumber, obeying a mysterious Voice who commands the burning vampire-mavericks in cities across the world. But who is the voice?  What does it want? And where is Prince Lestat?

The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly–October 28 release

For those of you waiting for the next Charlie Parker thriller, your wait is over.  Charlie Parker is back in John Connolly’s new book The Wolf in Winter.  This book takes our dangerous, haunted hero to Prosperous, Maine, where a homeless man’s death and a young woman’s disappearance puts Parker in the path of the most dangerous enemies he has ever encountered.

I want to start reading them now!  These books can’t get here fast enough.

Are there any Fall releases that you are anxiously awaiting?  Share them in the comments below.  I’m always looking for new books to read.

And, as always, happy reading!

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

Monday
Sep082014

Books Authors Read with Matt Bondurant

We’re in the midst of celebrating Literacy Month here at Half Price Books. One of the great literacy organizations we support is right here in our hometown of Dallas – Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT). LIFT will hold their annual fundraiser, A Toast to Literacy, next Thursday, Sept. 18, which will feature a keynote speech from author Matt Bondurant, so we thought there was no better time to hear about some of the books Matt loves. Take it away, Matt!

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This sort of question is a difficult one for a serious reader, not just a writer. I’m going to try and focus on books that made an indelible impression on me as a writer, from different periods of my life. I’m also trying to avoid the standard or canonical great books that of course shaped me as a writer and human.   

The Journals of John Cheever, by John Cheever

I was getting a master’s degree in literature when I decided to take a fiction workshop.  At this point I had no real intention of being a writer. The instructor recommended Cheever to me, and I immediately read all the short stories and fell in love with Cheever’s writing. But the journals were a revelation; such personal, elegant, trenchant, and heartbreaking writing, done on a daily basis, revealing the state of mind of one of the great American prose stylists. I carried it with me everywhere for several years, nearly every page dog-eared and marked up. My last novel, The Night Swimmer, is in essence an homage to Cheever. In terms of style, tone, and general depiction, Cheever is always my pole star, my guide, my champion.  

London Fields, by Martin Amis

I also found Martin Amis at an early stage when I was beginning to pivot from a scholarly career in literature to fiction writing. I still find Amis’ writing to be mesmerizing, from the catalogues of grit and filth, the hilarity of human greed, gluttony, and hubris, to the intellectual puzzles and narrative tricks. He was my introduction to the postmodernism of contemporary English novelists and still ranks among the best. My first novel, The Third Translation, was basically an attempt to conjoin my love of London, Egyptology, and the writing of Martin Amis. I unapologetically emulated his work – with dubious success.

Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson

Anderson is one of the great unacknowledged prose masters of the 20th century, who probably did more than anyone to develop what is known as the 20th century American style.  In Winesburg, Ohio Anderson probed the dark spaces of small lives in a small town. The ardent desires, thwarted dreams, and how these things expressed themselves outwardly, physically, creating “grotesques,” is something I’ve always worked with in my writing. The structure of the book was also revelatory; having a series of connected characters working through the “hub” character of George Willard gives the book balance and an organic architecture. My second novel, The Wettest County in the World, follows this model, and Sherwood Anderson is actually a principal character in the book. It was like a dream to inhabit him in this way, one of my heroes, and its fair to say that everything I do is influenced by Winesburg, Ohio.   

The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers

This is another book in which the structure and arrangement had an effect on my writing.  The way McCullers worked with the various perspectives, getting into the interior lives of these very different people, still astonishes me. She handles her characters with such sincerity and sensitivity that for me this is a profoundly emotional book. Since then I have searched for the same kind of attachment in my own work. I want to touch people in the way McCullers touched me, deeply and with lasting effect. I can just think about Singer and his loneliness, Mick and her clumsy coming of age, the quiet desperation of Brannon, and I am moved to tears. It may be my most re-read book.   

Journey to the End of the Night, by Louis-Ferdinand Celine

I was living in Paris in my mid-twenties when I came across Celine. A French Literature scholar remarked than anyone doing scholarly work on Celine must be completely insane. Of course then I had to read it. I found a paperback copy of Journey to the End of the Night at the famous Shakespeare and Co. bookstore and read it while sitting in various parks. I had no idea you could do the sorts of things Celine did, so vicious, dirty, crude, depraved, but intellectual and hilarious. I’ve always strived for that kind of spirit and momentum in my work. I’ve never been as depraved or funny as Celine, but I’m trying. 

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Matt Bondurant is an American novelist known for his historical fiction, Wettest County in the World, adapted into a film in 2012 entitled Lawless. His latest novel is The Night Swimmer. Follow him on Twitter @mbondurant.

 

Monday
Sep082014

Celebrating National Literacy Month, One Pledge at a Time.

Happy International Literacy Day!

We at Half Price Books believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy a book or share a story with their family. During National Literacy Month, we encourage people to incorporate reading into their everyday lives by pledging to read more throughout the month of September with our LitFitness Reading Challenge. With every pledge Half Price Books donates $1 to literacy organizations throughout the country.

Join us by visiting www.hpb.com/litfit to take the pledge and help make an impact on literacy in your community.

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