Totally Random Lists: They Say it’s Your Birthday

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 July 2017!July Title.png

It’s our birthday, too! Half Price Books was born on July 27, 1972, which makes us a sprightly 45 this year—and we’re still growing. Your birthday’s probably on the calendar too, so go ahead and gift yourself with one of the birthday-related titles on the list below.

July VisualBOOKS
The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter
Mr. Birthday, Roger Hargreaves
On the Night You Were Born, Nancy Tillman

MOVIES & TV
13 Going on 30
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sixteen Candles
To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

MUSIC
21, Adele
B’Day, Beyoncé
Birthday, The Association
September of My Years, Frank Sinatra
 

To keep the birthday celebration going, check out our longer list of birthday-related titles at HPB.com/bday.

An Affair to Remember + Sleepless in Seattle, Plus Other Classic “Movies Within a Movie”

 “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.” – Terry McKay

An Affair to Remember (1957) celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. It first debuted in theaters July 11, 1957 and has been capturing the hearts of moviegoers and inspiring filmmakers ever since. Back in February of this year, for Valentine’s Day, I was delighted to go see the film again when it was screened in theaters for a special 2-day event. Sure, I could have watched it at home since I own it on DVD, but it was a romantic experience to take it in on the big screen. The cinematography in its original wide aspect ratio, glamorous mid-century sets and beautiful film score were a touch grander in the scale of the theater.

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Named the fifth most romantic movie ever by the American Film Institute, An Affair to Remember was actually a remake of  an earlier film success by director Leo McCarey called Love Affair (1939). The rights to the title Love Affair were still owned by Columbia Pictures at the time, so 20th Century Fox changed the name to the one we all know and love. Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Kathleen Higgins

June 23 is National Take Your Dog to Work Day. At HPB Corporate, Office Manager Kathleen Higgins brings her dog, Vader, to work every day! Let’s jump into this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac and learn more about Kathleen and Vader’s efforts to rescue dogs in need.


Kathleen+Vader

Name: Kathleen Higgins
Job Title: Corporate Office Manager
Store Location: Corporate

When did you join the team?
March 1990. I was hired to be HPB co-founder Ken Gjemre’s assistant. Our mutual passion for protecting the environment made it a good fit.

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
Working with like-minded people. Life is too short to put your values and beliefs on hold in pursuit of a paycheck.

As an Administrative Services Supervisor, what’s an average day like for you?
There is no “average” day. The nature of the job is putting out fires or solving the crisis du jour. Keeping up with the nearly 150 people here in corporate, meetings, and being available to the stores is a full agenda. One of the advantages (disadvantages?) of being here as long as I have is the amount of knowledge about HPB that you accumulate and how often people depend on it. Working with various vendors and comparative pricing are regular activities. Of course Vader, my dog that I bring to work every day, needs to be walked at least once a day and we have a steady stream of visitors that stop by to get their “dog fix.” Continue reading

How I Came to Love the Audiobook

As a lifelong booklover and someone with a lit degree, I’d always thought of audiobooks as “not real books”. When my commute went from seven minutes to an hour and a half each way, I found myself bitter about the loss of free time to get in some reading. I got my first audiobook a few years back, Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I rationalized in my mind “It’s a one-time thing. I just like her. It’s different because it’s her book she’s reading.” I couldn’t get over the “it’s not really reading” mentality. Then, keep the long commute and add a baby to the mix and watch the reading time dwindle even more. I got another audiobook… and then another.

Two years ago, I just embraced it. In the car is my go-to, but occasionally I’ll listen to a story while I’m working out or doing dishes – something where reading a “real” book isn’t an option. Audiobooks have helped me stay on top of – no that’s not right. I’ll NEVER be “on top” of my reading list; as is the case for most booklovers, my list grows faster than I can read or listen. Let’s go with, I’ve fallen less behind on my list of books to read. On top of my paper books, I’ve “read” about 50 audiobooks in the last couple of years, including entire series like The Dark Tower (and standalone novels that tie in to the series like Insomnia and The Stand), A Song of Ice and Fire (aka A Game of Thrones), and Outlander – all of which are fabulous and I would highly recommend.

Some of my favorites (in no order at all):

Ready Player One
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline; read by Wil Wheaton
This was so good, when it was over I put the first disc in again and started over. I wasn’t yet ready to leave the word of Parzival, Aech and Art3mis. Side note: Spielberg’s movie adaptation is due out early 2018. Continue reading

#HPBgives: More Than 330,000 Kids’ Books Donated Nationwide

Another year of our Half Pint Library Book Drive and book giveaways has come and gone! This was the 19th year of our Half Pint Library Book Drive (part of our Million Book Donation Project), and I am pleased to announce we distributed 330,789 books to organizations across the country.

Thank you to all of our wonderful customers who donated books to the drive. We couldn’t have gotten so many books into the hands of kids who need them without you! Until next year, please enjoy these photos from some of our giveaways.

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The book recipients and HPB staff pose for a photo before the book distribution begins at our Downers Grove, Illinois location.

Continue reading

My Best Friend’s Wedding Turns 20: The Top 10 Must-See Julia Roberts Movies

Twenty years ago today (June 20), America’s Sweetheart, Julia Roberts, graced the theaters with what some would say is her finest work: My Best Friend’s Wedding. The Julia-ness of Julianne “Jules” Potter, from her one-in-a-million smile to her sassy, spunky charm and, of course, that hair, made America fall in love with Julia Roberts all over again. A stellar supporting cast that includes Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett and Cameron Diaz, plus an incredible soundtrack featuring Burt Bacharach’s greatest hits, make this a can’t-miss romantic comedy classic. By God, there will be dancing!
my best friends wedding

But My Best Friend’s Wedding is not the only time Julia shined on screen. Let’s take a look at some of her other great roles. And trust me, it was hard to pick only 10!

Mystic Pizza (1988)—Interested in seeing Julia’s first feature film? Then check out this classic coming-of-age story featuring Julia at just 20 years old! Her signature sass is still present, along with a hint of youthful innocence.

mystic pizza Continue reading

Let’s Get Binge Reading!: #SummerBookBinge

At Half Price Books, true booklovers never take a break, even in the summer. While all the kids are feeding their brains, we’re sending teens on a  #SUMMERBOOKBINGE!

“What’s a book binge,” you ask?!

It’s only the most exciting summer teen reading program around!  Join HPB and our friends at Penguin Teen on our Feed Your Brain Summer #SUMMERBOOKBINGE. Read a favorite! Start a series! Write a review! Let’s make binge-reading a THING! One book is a success, but read two and we are officially making you part of this summer’s #SUMMERBOOKBINGE.

The Penguin Teen selections for the summer reading #SUMMERBOOKBINGE this year are from some of our favorite authors. So will you read just two? Or are you going to binge-read like the rest of us?

THE SELECTIONS

JOHN GREEN
Srsly, everything he writes is pure gold, am I right? He rips into our hearts and has us feeling REAL feels. Have you read them all? Grab your sunshades, your beach towel and a tissue or two and read them again!

 

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Who Am I? 12 Literary Character Riddles

Challenge yourself to correctly guess these riddles without looking below at the answers. Can you name them all?

Think

1. I am clever and engaging, but also rather shallow. To insure my inheritance, I pretend to court one girl while I’m secretly engaged to another. Who am I?

2.  I don’t get out much, but I watch everything, especially the two children that live down the street. I left gifts for them in an old tree and kill a man to save their lives. Who am I?

3. I will never back down from a fight, unless forced to in the home of my uncle. I killed a man in a street brawl. Later, I was killed by his best friend, who also happened to be my cousin’s secret husband. Who am I? Continue reading

And the Prize Goes to… (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

The Pulitzer Prize program was initiated in 1917. No award for fiction was given that first year, but prizes have been handed out in all but eleven years since 1918. The winner in 1918 was Ernest Poole, who won for His Family. Poole and quite a few other Fiction Pulitzer winners are all but forgotten now (our stores don’t get many requests these days for books by Margaret Wilson, Martin Flavin or Josephine Johnson—all Fiction prizewinners).

But other award-winning novels have stood the test of time and are on students’ reading lists and/or their parents’ must-read lists. Here we feature some collectible editions of Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction books which can be found on our shelves!

GoneWithTheWind

Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Macmillan, 1986. 50th Anniversary Edition.
Awarded the Pulitzer in 1937

This anniversary edition of the timeless Civil War classic is in a slipcase that features a photograph of author Margaret Mitchell. It’s at our Cincinnati-Northgate store—$20. Continue reading

11 Writers the Beatles Thought Were Fab

This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most important rock albums ever made, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. As every rock snob knows, Sgt. Pepper is widely hailed as one of the first concept albums (although, as some critics have pointed out, the songs don’t have all that much to do with each other). For the Fab Four and producer George Martin, the record represented new heights of creativity and experimentation in the studio.

sgtpepper-main

Then there’s the iconic cover, which features the band members along with dozens of celebrities and public figures chosen by the Beatles and represented in cardboard cutouts and wax figures. There are actors, comedians, musicians, artists and philosophers, but here at HPB we couldn’t help but notice that authors make up one of the largest contingents. Here’s a look at the literary types on the most famous album cover in history.

huxleyAldous Huxley
The British author famous for Brave New World relocated to California in 1937 and became involved with mysticism and other spiritual subjects. His 1954 book Doors of Perception, which detailed his experiences with psychedelic drugs, was influenced on Timothy Leary and others in the hippie generation. Some have suggested a connection between this book and the Beatles song “Help,” in which John Lennon sings, “Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors.”

thomasDylan Thomas
The Welsh writer behind poems like “Do not go gentle into that good night” had a reputation that rock stars would appreciate—that of an erratic, drunken poet. Paul McCartney said: “I’m sure that the main influence on both [Bob] Dylan and John [Lennon] was Dylan Thomas. We all used to like Dylan Thomas. I read him a lot. I think that John started writing because of him.”

carrollLewis Carroll
Carroll’s surreal literary nonsense and wordplay was a big influence on John Lennon. The Beatles song, “I Am the Walrus,” written the same year as Sgt. Pepper, was a reference to “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” a poem by Carroll that appeared in Through the Looking-Glass. In a 1965 interview, Lennon said he read that book and Alice in Wonderland “about once a year.” Continue reading