Totally Random Lists 2019: Word on the Street

Editor’s Note: This year our Half Price Books calendar once again features books, movies and music grouped together in weird, unexpected ways. You might even call them Totally Random Lists, which is what we did because, well, we had to put something on the front cover. We like the lists so much, we’ll be sharing them on this blog throughout the year.


What do a road and a story have in common? They both take you on a trip with an uncertain (but intriguing) ending. Because we all know it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters, here are some street-smart picks you won’t need a GPS to explore.

2019 rl blog feb productsBOOKS
Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon
If Beale Street Could Talk,  James Baldwin
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
84 Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff
The Street, Ann Petry

MOVIES
Road to Perdition
21 Jump Street
Miracle on 34th Street
The Road to Morocco
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sunset Boulevard
It Happened on 5th Avenue

MUSIC
Mermaid Avenue, Billy Bragg & Wilco
Stones in the Road, Mary Chapin Carpenter
Avenue Q, Original Broadway Cast
Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
3614 Jackson Highway, Cher

See our longer list of road-tested titles at HPB.com/street.

 

The 7 Step Shelf Detox

The start of the year is the perfect time to take on a fresh perspective. Sure, you could follow the fitness crowd or go the way of inner peace and wellness or whatever, but have you seen your book shelves lately? Honestly, when was the last time you broke the spine of Calculus of Variations? When, exactly, are you going to get around to Mastering the Art of French Cooking…or any cooking for that matter?

Sounds like it’s time for a shelf detox. We’ve outlined some practices to help you successfully declutter, then restock, your book shelves.

Step 1: Survey the books you own.
Take a long hard look at what you claim to have been reading.

giphy

Step 2: Keep your favorites.
Let me be perfectly clear: All of them are not your favorite. You are going to have to get rid of some books. Just accept that now. I know we tend to get attached but relax, you’re clearing out your book shelves so that you can replenish them. You’re going to get more. Breathe through this. Take this time to bask in the nostalgia of your favorite reads as you add them to a separate pile and schedule some future time to revisit them. Try to focus on books you find yourself reading several times. Continue reading

Totally Random Lists 2019: One Syllable is Enough

Editor’s Note: This year, our Half Price Books calendar once again features books, movies and music grouped together in weird, unexpected ways. You might even call them Totally Random Lists, which is what we did because, well, we had to put something on the front cover. We like the lists so much, we’ll be sharing them on this blog throughout the year.


When an author chooses a one-word title, they’re basically saying, “this one word is all I need to capture my creation’s powerful essence!” Here are some of our favorite books, movies and albums that say it all with a single, memorable syllable—on the cover, anyway.

BOOKSOneSyllable Stack 3 BLOG
Holes, Louis Sachar
Night, Elie Wiesel
Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
It, Stephen King
Room, Emma Donoghue
Jazz, Toni Morrison
Watt, Samuel Beckett
Dune, Frank Herbert
Crash, J.G. Ballard

MOVIESalbums 1
Babe
Jaws 
Big
Mask
Up
Brave
Elf
Speed
Pi

MUSIC
Blue, Joni Mitchell
Pearl, Janis Joplin
Damn, Kendrick Lamar
Go, Dexter Gordon
Tusk, Fleetwood Mac
Bad, Michael Jackson
So, Peter Gabriel

For a longer list of monosyllabic titles, visit HPB.com/syllable.

2018 Mad Dash Reading List

You were prepped and ready pre-New Year’s Eve 2017. Your HPB Gift Cards were locked and loaded and you had a slightly uninterested, yet supportive group of friends waiting in the wings to hold you accountable. The resolution? Read more in 2018. The result? HA!

We get it. Work got in the way, sports happened, your cousin’s wedding, tricks and treats, Thanksgiving eats and before you could crack the cover on your first New York Times Bestseller, it was December. No worries, you’ve still got plenty of time…not War And Peace time, mind you. But you can do this, and we can help.

Books are kind of our thing, so we’ve curated a list for slackers, not unlike yourself, who’ve found themselves worse for wear with that whole bibliophile resolution thing. Read on (see what we did there?) to check out our top 5 picks to help you make it to the end of the year without becoming a repeat resolution maker.

what it means
1.What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky: Stories – Lesley Nneka Arimah
Author Lesley Nneka Arimah tasks readers with tapping into the root of their familial dysfunction in her debut collection of short stories. The majority of the pieces are set in post-apocalyptic times, often causing the characters to grapple with the very foundation of their being as their behavior plays out in desperate circumstances. As each story unfolds, Arimah touches on the taboo topics woven into the fabric of both Nigerian and American households. Against a weary, yet at times fanciful backdrop, she brings much-needed attention to the ways we deal with class, gender and death. Continue reading

Behind the Book The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker

Editor’s Note: Popular minimalist blogger and author Joshua Becker provides methodical instruction on how to turn your home from a storage unit into a place of peace, contentment and purposeful living. His new book, The Minimalist Home, helps you to declutter your home and learn how to address the underlying issues that contribute to over-accumulation in the first place. We are delighted he provided us with more insight below! Minimalist Home Book Jacket

Why did you write The Minimalist Home?
I’ve been writing my blog (Becoming Minimalist), teaching minimalism, and speaking about the joys of owning less at conferences around the world for a decade now. And I’ve seen repeatedly, more times than I can recall, that there is an almost magical effect when people right-size the quantity of their possessions—in the process, the people themselves are changed in positive ways. Owning less creates opportunity to live more. I wrote The Minimalist Home to give people a practical guide to help them experience that. At its best, minimalism is about transforming your home so you can transform your life. Continue reading

Behind the Book- Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Editor’s Note: Having started her first novel for a bet in 1996, Lisa Jewell has grown into one of the UK’s most beloved and popular fiction authors. Jewell’s writing is addictive, her characters fleshed out and her storylines original. We were thrilled she agreed to write this piece about the inspiration behind her latest novel, Watching You. Read on to discover how this book came to be! Lisa Jewell- Watching You cover

The first glimmer of the genesis of Watching You was a feeling that there seemed to be an awful lot of news stories about very suburban people in very suburban love triangles committing murder. Either the mistress would kill the wife, or the husband would kill the wife, or the wife would kill the mistress or some other combination of the three.

So, if I was to write about suburban love triangles then I needed a suburb, and that was when the book really started to take form in my head; there is a suburb of Bristol in the UK called Clifton which is famous for its high set rows of brightly painted houses. It used to be a rough area, but has become increasingly gentrified over recent years and is now so “chi chi” that it has its own branch of the Ivy (an upscale restaurant chain in the UK). Continue reading

The Christmas Song: A Deep Dive into a Holiday Chestnut

This year our holiday theme at Half Price Books is “Make the Season Bright.” Those four words appear in one of the most ubiquitous and aptly-named Christmas songs ever written, “The Christmas Song.” You might know it better by its opening lyrics: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

Our line comes in the second section of the song: “Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make the season bright.” We’d argue that books, music and movies also do the trick.

Here’s a closer look at the history of this holiday classic. Continue reading

Here Comes Santa Claus: A Kid’s Christmas Reading List

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…time to entertain the kids during Christmas break. How about a little light holiday reading? Here at Half Price Books, we know a thing or two about children’s books and we’ve got just the list to help keep your little ones in the know about what to expect while they’re waiting on that magical visit from St. Nick.

Christmas ABC – Jannie Ho
Perfect for the tiny one who’s just learning their alphabet, Christmas ABC is filled with whimsical, colorful illustrations that are sure to educate and entertain until Santa arrives.ChristmasABC

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss
Ever the holiday classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a must for your kiddos whether they’re naughty or nice. The infamous green grump takes to Whoville to wreak havoc on its residents by stealing Christmas gifts before the big day, only to find that the true meaning of the season doesn’t come wrapped underneath a tree. Dr. Seuss’ signature rhyme scheme is perfect for read-along story time and the heartwarming moral is made for winning over any tiny grinches you may find lurking around this season.How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg
The magic of the holiday season comes alive in Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express. A young boy is awakened with an invitation to take an exhilarating trip to the North Pole.  Upon his arrival, he is welcomed by Christmas elves and a chance to be the recipient of the coveted first Christmas gift, given by Santa himself.The Polar Express

Curious George Christmas Countdown – Tish Rabe
It’s Christmas time and Curious George is getting ready! The beloved children’s character celebrates the season with his friends by picking out holiday decorations, baking festive treats and even singing in the Christmas play.Curious George Christmas Countdown

The Night Before Christmas – Clement Clarke Moore and David Ercolini
The perfect Christmas Eve read, The Night Before Christmas was practically made for milk and cookies before bed. Grab your cutest matching pajamas and let the little ones in on the classic account of what happens when Santa visits. From dreams of sugar plums to an epic reindeer shout out, this story is sure to keep the magic of the season burning bright.the night before christmas

There you have it! Here’s to a holiday full of reading that’s guaranteed to calm all the stirring creatures in the house. Yes, even that mouse.  What’s your favorite Christmas children’s story?

A Bestseller Flashback- 2018 in Books

Editor’s Note: Throughout the year, our buyers curate a selection of new, bestselling books to offer in our stores at 20% off the cover price. Here’s a closer look at some of 2018’s standouts!

melmoth
Melmoth (Sarah Perry)
Melmoth is a full-on gothic horror novel from the author of The Essex Serpent. The story crosses many different time periods and focuses on people who are in the midst of difficult situations. It is primarily centered on Helen Franklin, an English translator working in Prague, who disregards an obscure local monster legend before a friend’s disappearance reveals that Helen is being watched. This particular book asks the question, “What’s the difference between someone who orders a horrific act be done and the person who turns a blind eye towards it?” It’s a very chilling, and at times horrific, book that stays with you. Continue reading

Behind the Book- Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Editor’s Note: Diane Setterfield is a magical storyteller. The way she weaves her stories makes readers demand more, more, more! We are delighted to be able to present an in-depth review of the inspiration behind her latest novel, Once Upon a River.

once upon a river cover

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I wrote a novel called The Thirteenth Tale.  People took this book to their hearts in an extraordinary way and I spent over a year travelling to meet readers all over the world. It was a very special time, and when the last trip was done I came home buzzing: so many readers and bookshops, so many cities, countries, continents. What I needed now was to get my feet back on the ground, recalibrate myself for normal life lived at a normal pace. I needed to slow down. I needed a holiday. Continue reading