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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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.
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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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!


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.



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.

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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.

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Much Ado About William Shakespeare: Best Movie Adaptations

What better birthday to celebrate than one of the best storytellers in history William Shakespeare? Of course, everyone thinks of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet when thinking of Shakespeare, but his play still inspire and are the basis of many movies. Being a movie buff, here are my top 5 picks of movies based on Shakespeare. 

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Based on a play of the same name, this is really a fantastic comedy film about mistaken identity and suppressed affections with an all-star cast. On the British side, we have Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson and Kate Beckinsale. On the American side, Michael Keaton is perfect as the bumbling Dogberry and Denzel Washington plays a noble Prince. 

West Side Story (1961)

Romeo and Juliet turns to the streets of New York for the retelling of this classic Shakespeare story. Maria and Tony fall in love, despite being a part of rival gangs. The ending does change a bit with this adaptation, but not enough to keep it from winning the Oscar for Best Picture in 1961.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

It is easy to see where this one comes from, The Taming of the Shrew. Bianca and Cameron are forbidden to date until shrewish older sister, Kat, is dating as well. Kat, played by Julia Stiles, gets set up to date “bad boy” Patrick, portrayed by Heath Ledger. Cameron even disguises himself as a language tutor, just as Lucentio did in Shakespeare’s original play.

Ran (1985)

Based on Shakespeare’s work King Lear, Ran, is the story of two sons that are battling over the division over their father’s estate. This is a film everyone should see and is masterfully directed by Akira Kurosawa. One of the greatest epics of all time.

Forbidden Planet (1956)

That’s right, one of the truly classic sci-fi films is based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Instead of being stranded on an island, the story here takes place on a planet with a utopian society. As with the play, the planet's ruler, Morbius, sees his daughter fall in love with one of the outsiders, despite his objections. This film also gave us one of the most-recognizable robots in film history, Robby the Robot. A must see for everyone.

There were so many great stories to choose from. Big Business and Throne of Blood were close to making the list. What are some of your favorite Shakespearean works being retold today?


Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.


Celebrate Earth Day with Half Price Books

Happy Earth Day! The bibliomaniacs here at Half Price Books have been green since before it was cool. Helping the environment by preserving and recycling resources has always been a part of our daily business, and we feel that everyone can help preserve the environment.

We strive to be green when we are constructing our stores. Each new location is constructed with 100% recyclable flooring, handmade wood shelves (made in our very own HPB Woodshoppe!) and eco-friendly paints. We also offer post-consumer waste shopping bags and recyclable paper gift cards.

In 2014, we donated more than 1.6 million books to non-profits and schools, helping to enrich minds and keep books out of landfills. We continue to donate as part of our Million Book Donation Project – check out our 2015 progress!

Half Price Books continues to look for ways to b(eco)me green. Tell us the green things you do in the comments!


Prepare for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I may be showing my age here, but anyone who grew in the 70's remembers camping out in lines that went around the block just to see Star Wars for a fifth time. As a movie buff, few things make me feel like a kid again, but with this new Star Wars trailer out, I can't wait to see this movie. It should be exciting, with director JJ Abrams behind the camera, who is known for rebooting the Star Trek franchise. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be in theaters December 18. That gives you plenty of time to drop by Half Price Books and pick up the original other Star Wars movies on Blu-Ray or DVD. Also, take home a few comics and books to get yourself prepared for this fall release. If you come by on Saturday, May 2nd, you can take home a comic book free with any purchase as part of Comic Book Day!


Check out the trailer!

What is your favorite movie in the Star Wars saga?


Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.

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