My Mother is a French Fry & 5 Other Book Titles I Couldn’t Resist

A few months ago, I was walking through the Flagship Half Price Books store on my way to get a cup of coffee and I noticed a book called One of Our Thursdays is Missing.  Instantly, I snatched it up and continued my journey to the coffee pot.  I had no idea what the book was about.  I had never read anything by the author, but I had to have it.  I had to read it. Why? Because the title was just too good to leave on the shelf.

As I excitedly showed this book to my co-workers (who secretly think I am insane), I wondered how often I base my book purchases on the title alone.  Here are a few books I have bought solely because they had a great title:


1. My Mother is a French Fry and Further Proof of My Fuzzed Up Life, by Colleen Sydor. Teen Fiction, easy read, good story.

2. Will the Last Person to Leave the Planet, Please Shut Off the Sun, by Mike Resnick. Science Fiction, short stories, great for Sci-Fi fans.

3. One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, by Sonya Sones. Teen Fiction, interesting form. Story is written as poems as if from a teen’s diary or composition book and interspersed with email messages. Good story.

4. One of Our Thursdays is Missing, by Jasper Fforde. Hard to classify this book, as it’s both mystery and fantasy. You may want to look for it in general fiction. 6th in the Thursday Next series, highly recommended.

5. Half-Price Homicide, by Elaine Viets. Mystery, 9th in the Dead-End Job Mystery series. Working for Half Price Books, I just couldn’t pass this one up. Easy read.

6. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler. Teen Fiction, won the Michael L. Printz Award and made the ALA Best Books for Young Adults list.

What titles have you felt were too good to leave on the shelf?

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


Music Meant for Vinyl

Before there was Record Store Day there was National Vinyl Record Day, a day to celebrate the flat disc with grooves.  The following is a small sampling of titles now in stores or soon to be released that just sound amazing playing from vinyl, even with the occasional surface noise.

Prince-Purple Rain (180gm)- $24.98
I was there, across Reunion Arena in Dallas.  It didn’t matter where you sat.  He was electric, shifting from bathtub with a microphone to stage with a guitar.  We counted down to the New Year, after which he sang Auld Lang Syne and THEN ended the night with Purple Rain. Masterful musician, memorable night.


purple rain

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You Know You’re a Booklover When…

A true booklover knows that National Book Lovers Day is every day, but to the rest of the world, it’s celebrated on August 9.  Now, we booklovers are guilty of doing things that might seem pretty strange to others, but we’re too busy with our nose between the pages to care.

We asked you guys (the HPB booklovers) on Facebook what your bookish quirks are. Here are some of the top answers and our favorite responses.


You spend your lunch break reading instead of eating.
You don’t need no stinking food! Well…maybe a little bit, but at least you’re feeding your brain with the sweet, sweet nectar of the newest bestseller.

Booklovers 1

Spreadsheets and lists are your new BFF.
It ain’t easy keeping all your book business in order. Books you’ve read, books you want to read, books you own…you know, so you don’t buy To Kill a Mockingbird for the millionth time. In the words of DJ Khaled…

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Book Can Take You Places: Rio de Janeiro

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip 9 different cities and our journey around the world is far from over!  This month let’s explore all that Rio de Janeiro has to offer.

RioRio de Janeiro is the back drop for the 2016 Olympic Games. I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the grandeur of it all when it comes to The Olympics. The ceremonies, the stories behind the competing athletes and the unique locations. Rio is an exciting city with no shortage of culture and flair.

Spectacular beaches and mountain peaks aren’t the only reasons this tropical metropolis is called Cidade Maravilhosa (The Marvelous City). Rio is Brazil’s vibrant cultural center, known for Carnival and bossa nova, the fusion of samba and jazz that swept the world in the 60s. There’s a long moviemaking tradition and an evolving body of literature reflective of Brazil’s multicultural makeup.

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These Are a Few of the Voyages…: Celebrating 50 Years of Star Trek

Half Price Books would like to take a moment to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek and look back at its long history of stories that inspired generations of fans. And for some reason, they tapped the guy with a U.S.S. Enterprise model on his desk to write it.

I’ve decided to share some of my favorite Trek episodes with you. Please keep in mind: this is not intended as a definitive top-ten list, but it is a list of all the things that make Trek great – adventure, humor, allegory and the belief that tomorrow will be better than today.

So without further ado, here are some of the voyages of the U.S.S. Enterprise and its spin-offs.

The Original Series (1966 – 1969)

Star Trek 1

1. Balance of Terror (1966)
“Balance of Terror” is an homage to World War II submarine thrillers like Run Silent, Run Deep. The Enterprise hunts down a cloaked Romulan ship that’s committed surprise attacks against the Federation. What follows is a tense thriller as Captain Kirk and the captain of the Romulan ship attempt to outthink and outmaneuver each other. In the process of doing so, they each realize that the other is a man of duty and honor.

It’s a notion that Trek would come back to again and again: that we are all, to some degree, creatures of circumstance. And that our enemies are often our enemies because of the walls we create. Continue reading

Buy Guy Collections & Curiosities: Happy Birthday, Jerry!

It’s startling to think that the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia would’ve turned 74—yes, 74—this August 1! He’s been gone for more than twenty years, but Deadheads around the world will be celebrating his long, strange trip. HPB employee Don is one of them (we call him Don of the Dead), and he’s turned much of his home into a Grateful Dead shrine.

In the second in our series of videos featuring our employees’ collections—See the first one here, we recently visited with Don to see a few “high”-lights from his extensive collection.

We know Don will be busy this week rearranging his Dead souvenirs while he has the band cranked on the stereo. Although I’m not a Deadhead, I do have American Beauty on vinyl, and I’ll be giving it a spin!

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

Local Store Events Round-Up: August 2016


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


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!


Citrus Heights

Summer Safari Children’s Camp
Look for the HPB booth at Citrus Town Center’s FREE Summer Safari Children’s Camp on the first and third Friday of the month, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. We’ll have store info and FREE HPB tote bags. After camp, join us at Half Price Books for Children’s Storytime from 12:15 – 1:15.

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!


HPB at Fremont Festival of the Arts
Look for the HPB booth at the Fremont Festival of the Arts in downtown Fremont on Saturday and Sunday, August 6 & 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’ll have coupons and free tote bags while supplies last. And, don’t forget to check out our store in The Fremont Hub.

Kent Evans & Zoombie Morgan Performances
Meet writer and performer Kent Evans along with music producer and guitarist Zoombie Morgan at your Fremont HPB on Saturday, August 13, from 2 to 3 p.m. Join us for a book reading/performance from these two members of the Bilingual Prog-Rock group Epic Fail. Kent and Zoombie are also promoting the release of the first Epic Fail single, “Dr. Gypsy”, featuring Carl Restivo.

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Pocket Paperbacks: You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

Pocket paperbacks have always been a large segment of HPB’s product mix, but we’re seeing fewer of them now, as much genre fiction has migrated into electronic delivery modes. But we still devote considerable store space to them, and we still find a place for collectible PBs from the mid-twentieth century.

Paperbacks were first popularized in England by Penguin Books, which issued its first ten titles simultaneously in 1935. Mass-market PBs were introduced in America on a large scale by Pocket Books in 1939. Many other publishers followed, and this affordable, handy form of reading material has been bought for convenience and thrift ever since.

There’s a reason pocket-sized paperbacks are called “mass-market”—they were created as an alternative to the hardcover editions the “masses” couldn’t always afford. They were generally cheaply made and weren’t really meant to last a long time. But some have indeed lasted and are still eagerly sought, primarily for their cover art that so thrillingly reflects the pop culture of its time.

We’d like to present some fine examples being offered by three of our stores, the South Lamar location in Austin, Texas, the Countryside, Illinois location, and the Dallas Flagship location in Texas.

Death on Scurvy Street by Ben Ames Williams
Popular Library #194, 1949
Mysteries in the lurid-cover, murder-and-sex pulp fiction PB form are mainstays of fans’ collections. This minor 1929 mystery by prolific author Ben Ames Williams was resurrected and hyperbolized in this late-forties paperback edition. If this cover by Rudolph Belarski doesn’t lure you in, maybe the cover blurb will: “She waited for love and got murder.”


First Paperback Printing. Very Good +, $12

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If You Like Me Before You, You May Also Like…

Me-Before-You-Jojo-MoyesIf you are part of the HPB Book Club, you are currently reading or perhaps just finished Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes, which is a book all hopeless romantics must read. At the beginning of the book, gregarious waitress Louisa Clark loses her job, and being one of the only working members of her family, she needs to find a new job fast. The problem is she isn’t really trained to do anything. Enter Will Traynor. After an accident left Will paralyzed, his family needs to find a caregiver for him, but they are not looking for someone who will look after his physical needs as much as they need someone to show him that his life is still worth living. Louisa Clark seems perfect for this. However, as Will and Louisa’s relationship grows, she discovers Will has a secret, and her job turns out to have greater consequences than she ever imagined. Me Before You is a book that will make you laugh, cry and just maybe plan a trip to Paris. Continue reading

Video Games of Yore

Half Price Books has lots of dedicated video game-buying customers, so we want to salute them with a stroll through some collectible games from ancient history (the 90s). The Buy Guy isn’t much of a video gamer—I must admit I’ve never actually played one. So I’ve recruited a resident gamer, Customer Care Specialist Jeremy, to offer some comments on some of the video game gems that have turned up recently in our stores. Put that controller down and help us out here, Jeremy!

OK, Buy Guy! Let’s start with a classic that is being offered by our Highland Park store in the Chicago area: Mega Man 4 (1991)


System: NES. Original packaging, black NES game sleeve, and instructions included. $40.

Despite being the fourth game in a long-standing series, Mega Man 4 features some notable firsts for fans to enjoy. It’s the first appearance of Mega Man’s Mega Buster, a new default weapon that can be charged for a more powerful blast. A new villain, Dr. Cossack, takes the place of the infamous Dr. Wily from the first three games in the series. Continue reading