Just some old stuff… (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

Bet you didn’t know that March 2 is Old Stuff Day! (Seems like every day is Old Stuff Day around my office—my house, too.) It made me start thinking about all the discoveries we’ve made in the buying areas of our stores across the country. Sometimes, it’s a memento left in a book. Most notably, there was an old book a store had had for a while in a backroom; tucked inside it was a lock of hair pinned to a 1934 obituary. We tracked down a descendant of the deceased and returned the precious keepsake. Sometimes, it’s a book that looks like nothing much but turns out to be extremely scarce, like the second edition of Calvin’s Commentaries, its centuries-old cover worn and plain, found in the bottom of a box of “old stuff.” (While we had it on display, someone stole it and then returned it, with a note attached that said he’d only wanted to be able to hold it for a while.)

cover

Not long ago, a store employee came across the book pictured above. We took a closer look. At first (and second and maybe third) glance, it appeared to really just be old stuff. Its cover was mottled and faded, bumped and spotted. There was no title, author, or other information featured on its cover. Its pages were foxed and browned, some to an extreme. But, hey, the book was published in 1833, almost two centuries ago. You might expect some fading and foxing. Continue reading

Totally Random Lists: Guys Named Bob

EDITOR’S NOTE: This year at HPB, we’re celebrating the random. Actually, we’ve been doing that every year since our founding in 1972. And we mean random in a totally good way, as in the random treasures you come across when you’re browsing our stores or website—and the wonderfully random stuff we buy from the public every day. In this series of posts, you’ll find books, movies and music collected in some very random ways. So here’s our list for March 2017!

bob

Why Bob? Because it’s the best nickname ever invented, that’s why. It’s short. It’s punchy. It’s a palindrome. You can even play it in Scrabble.™ This month we celebrate some of the famous Bobs & Roberts who you can find at Half Price Books. Continue reading

Books Authors Read with David Sax

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Editor’s Note: We’re pretty passionate about the topic of David Sax’s latest book, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, where he dives into the truth about how humans shop, interact and think. It’s a blend of culture and psychology, serving up Sax’s observations and research about digital aspects of life and the real world around it. If you missed it, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with David here on the blog and learn about the inspiration behind the book.

We continue our “Books Authors Read” series with culture and business journalist David Sax. When we recently interviewed him, we took the opportunity to ask him about his favorite types of books and gave him a chance to spread a little book karma around for his fellow authors. Here are five books he enjoyed reading (some recently and some not so recently) and why. Thanks for sharing these with us, David! Continue reading

Washington, Lincoln—and Adams, Too! (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

Presidents’ Day began as a holiday to mark the birthday of the Father of Our Country, first President George Washington. It was later expanded to include the beloved 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. They’re most certainly worthy recipients of a holiday, but we’re thinking it’s time to also give a little love to Father George’s successor, second Prez John Adams. (Especially since he got cut from the hit musical Hamilton.)

And what better way to honor John Adams than to show off a first edition copy of this important 1787 book explaining his theories of the government of this country?

A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America
John Adams
1787, London. Printed for C. Dilly, in the Poultry
First Edition. In original binding.
$10,000johnadamsAdams intended to write a single volume. The first, published in London, was so successful that Adams was encouraged to write a second volume and then a third. The book promotes a mixed government in which “the rich, the well-born and the able” are separated into a senate, unable to dominate a lower house of representatives.

This copy, available at our South Arlington store, is in remarkable condition, considering its age and historical importance. The book is fragile but complete. There is an owner inscription from 1787 and a presentation inscription from 1909.

Interested in purchasing this piece of American history or learning more about it? Contact the Buy Guy!

Steve is the”Buy Guy” at Half Price Books Corporate.

3 Must See Movies This Black History Month

Anyone who knows me at all understands that I am a movie junkie. So when thinking about Black History Month, I can’t help but think one of the best ways to celebrate is to go down to your local cinema and check out some of the great films that are out about black-American culture and black-American history.

The first movie you should check out is Hidden Figures. This is the true story of mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who were all employed by NASA and were the masterminds of calculating trajectories and orbits to get the first American, astronaut John Glenn, in to space. Katherine Johnson was also given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November of 2015 by President Barack Obama for her work with the space program.

nintchdbpict000297871857 Continue reading

Literary Heartbreakers…or Literally Heartbreaking?

I’m a sucker for a happy ending.  Unfortunately, some of my favorite literary characters don’t get that happy ending, whether it’s because they themselves are heartbreakers or because the story they have been written into is literally heartbreaking (sometimes, it’s a little bit of both).  But whether it’s the character or the author that breaks our heart, we have to admit they are impossible to forget.

Here are five heartbreakers and five heartbreaking stories that we can’t seem to quit.

Heartbreakers

prideandprejudice_19George Wickham from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—He may have all the appearance of goodness, but looks can be deceiving.

giphyRhett Butler from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind—Heartbreaker or heartbroken? He may be a little of both, but he don’t give a damn.

Continue reading

Before They Can Read: 12 Enchanting Picture Books for Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week

If you’re asking yourself, “When should I start reading to my baby?” the answer is today. It’s never too soon. Reading to your infant contributes to early development as they observe your mannerisms, listen to your speech, build motor skills and soak in all the colors and shapes. Trust me – you’ll blink, and your infant will soon be a toddler who can hardly sit still. But if you’ve started the routine of sitting down together to read, you’ll be able to carry this over into the preschool years and get a nice cuddle while you read new books together each day.

For little ones who can’t yet read on their own, illustrations in books are the heart of engaging imagination and captivating attention. Children’s literature is rich with beautiful art that can help a child develop a love of books (just as soon as they pass the stage in infancy where nibbling on the book is the primary intrigue).

As adults who are reading aloud to your kids, I believe it’s important that you enjoy the book, too, if for no other reason than it means you’re more likely to read it over and over again, making story time a cherished ritual with your kiddos. While there are some amazing classic children’s books which classic children’s books which every child should read, here are some children’s picture books you may not have heard of before that will inspire and get you (and your babes and tots) hooked on reading more books. What a perfect way to celebrate Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week. I’ve opened up 12 of my daughter’s recent favorites so you can see a peek at the delicious illustrations inside.

Bunny Roo, I Love You, written by Melissa Marr (@melissa_marr) and illustrated by Teagan White (@teaganwhite), is a playful and sweet book about how parents keep their little ones feeling safe and secure. The enchanting illustrations add to the warmth of the story, perfectly placed with the hand lettered words on each page. I also appreciate the whimsy of the pattern on the flyleaf. And should you ever lose the book jacket, have no fear, because the darling illustrations appear on the hardbound cover, too.

1-bunny-roo-open-book-illustrator-teagan-white.png Continue reading

Local Store Events Round-Up: February 2017

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Arizona California Illinois Indiana Kentucky Minnesota Missouri Ohio Oklahoma Pennsylvania Texas Washington Wisconsin

Want a Sweetheart Deal in Your Inbox?

Join our email list for a sweetheart deal! Sign up online or in store today and you’ll get your own store coupon to use at any Half Price Books retail location. Plus, keep an eye on your inbox for more coupons and bookish fun coming later this month! See coupon for redemption details. Not valid at Half Price Books Outlet.

ARIZONA

Phoenix – Camelback

Mystery Lovers’ Weekend
Who: Your Camelback HPB in Phoenix. What: A Mystery Lovers’ Weekend. When: Friday, February 3 through Sunday, February 5. Where: Your Camelback HPB store. Why: Because who doesn’t love a good mystery? How: Buy a regularly-priced mystery hardcover and get a Gift Mystery Package, including two select paperback mysteries plus Mystery Trivia. See store for details.

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!

CALIFORNIA

Citrus Heights
Storytime Sundays
Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Citrus Heights HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 2 p.m. every Sunday. All ages are welcome! Continue reading

Totally Random Lists: Body Language

EDITOR’S NOTE: This year at HPB, we’re celebrating the random. Actually, we’ve been doing that every year since our founding in 1972. And we mean random in a totally good way, as in the random treasures you come across when you’re browsing our stores or website—and the wonderfully random stuff we buy from the public every day. In this series of posts, you’ll find books, movies and music collected in some very random ways. So here’s our list for February 2017!body-language-type

Face it. Everybody has a body. So it’s no wonder anatomical words can be eyeballed on the spines of so many hip books, movies & records. HPB is a great place to get your hands on them without spending an arm and a leg. (We should have quit while we were a head.)anatomy-chart

BOOKS
Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

MOVIES & TV
Adam’s Rib
Cool Hand Luke
Jaws

MUSIC
Cheek to Cheek, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
Every Open Eye, CHVRCHES
Hair: Original Broadway Cast Recording
Speaking in Tongues, Talking Heads

But everyone nose that’s only part of the list. Thumb through dozens of other body-related titles at HPB.com/body.

Take a look at the rest of our Totally Random Lists series.

And the Oscar goes to…Kevin Bacon!

Hooray for Hollywood! The 89th Academy Awards will be giving out their most coveted statue, the Oscar, in about a month. The best race this year is between Emma Stone and Natalie Portman, but we want to make a case for — you guessed it — Kevin Bacon. Here is a fun graphic taking all the lead actors and actresses and connecting them to Kevin Bacon. Maybe you can do one using all Oscar winners! For instance, Natalie Portman who is nominated for Jackie and won Best Actress for Black Swan was in Closer with Julia Roberts (Best Actress in Erin Brockovich) who was in Flatliners with…Kevin Bacon. Who are you predicting to win? Enjoy the Oscars on Sunday, February 26 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on ABC.

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Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate