For HPB’s 45th Birthday: What Else? 45s!

In honor of Half Price Books turning 45, we feature some great 45 rpm singles from their heyday in the fifties, sixties and seventies. (Wait until 2050 for the birthday when we feature 78 rpm records.)

When are 45s gonna become cool again? Or so uncool that they’re hip? Who cares—we love 45s! They sound big and in-your-face, and we see so many rare, sublime and forgotten treasures come through our doors.

45s are cheap, too! Most are in the 50 cents-to-a-dollar range in our stores. Here are a few that are a little more special.

ElvisPresleyElvis Presley – “That’s All Right”/ “Blue Moon of Kentucky”
1976, RCA Victor 447-0601 promo in RCA sleeve MCST 40462 (UK) picture disc
Elvis recorded these songs in 1954 (the single’s label says 1955) at Sun Studio for his first single. Also available, a promo reissue of his 2nd single, “Good Rockin’ Tonight.”
Both are in Very Good condition.—$15 each Continue reading

Famous First Lines: Emoji Edition

In the 1400s, Johannes Gutenberg developed the printing press bringing forth a new age of literary access to the common man and placing the care and construct of modern language in the hands of all. It was the dawn of Enlightenment.

Fast forward to now, and we’ve got emojis.

Are emojis a language? A few thumb taps and a little picture can communicate a complex idea that leaves little room for interpretation.  With a simple 0-wine, my wife can let me know the kids are being crazy and I should pick up a bottle of wine on my way home.

Emojis are pictures, but can they paint a picture? Would the world’s great authors be able to use emojis to express the subtle nuances of their work? Let’s find out.

Below, to the best of my ability, I have interpreted the first lines from major works of literature into emoji. Is anything lost in translation? Does the beauty of the text remain intact?

1-austen

Original Text: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

2-dickens

Original Text: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859) Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Sarah Dang

In this month’s edition of “Meet the Bibliomaniac,” we’re excited to introduce you to Sarah from our Richardson, Texas store. If you’re a Richardson shopper, Sarah is responsible for all of the fabulous displays you see there. Take it away, Sarah!


selfieName: Sarah Dang
Job Title: Store Inventory Merchandiser (SIM)
Location: Richardson

When did you join Half Price Books?
April 21, 2014

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
I really love the people I work with and I can’t express enough how much I appreciate all of their encouragement and support. Aside from the magic of working at a bookstore and enjoying what I do, I really love the bonds I’ve created with everyone here. These are the kinds of friendships that last.

As a SIM, what’s an average day like for you?
Each day I start off with a list of what needs to get done. I often feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. I’m scurrying from place to place to make sure everything is done on time. My days are always super busy and I always have something to do. My daily tasks include merchandising tables and end caps, creating displays, ordering supplies and reorganizing our distribution bins. Simultaneously, I budget time to work on creative projects that not only advertise certain items, but also bring a unique element to our store. I in addition, create chalkboard signs to bring attention to products that don’t necessarily fly off the shelf.

Continue reading

Feed Your Brain Mid-Summer Check-Up

It’s time for a mid-summer Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program check-up, kids! What have you been doing all summer? Because our Half Price Books kids and teens have been reading.

How much, you ask?

As of last the end of June, we’ve had 4,596 Feed Your Brain Summer Reading logs turned in across our stores. Now, the way we figure it, if each kid reads a minimum of 15 minutes per day, that’s  1,378,800 minutes of reading.

feed your brain reading logs

So kids, how does it feel to have read 22,980 hours with other Bookworms so far this summer? Continue reading

HPB Geek 101 Class

July 13 is Embrace Your Geekness Day, but you know what I say? Let’s keep the spirit of Geekness alive all year long and make every day Embrace Your Geekness Day.

With that in mind, I’ve created a sort of 101 class for hardcore geeks and those with geek tendencies alike. Keep in mind, this is a survey course – with a focus on science fiction and horror. It was hard narrowing down to ten items, and there are plenty of great things that could’ve made the list. Sorry if your favorite geek obsession didn’t make the cut.

There’s a good chance you’ve read or watched at least some of these recommendations on this list, but here are ten essential books, movies and TV shows to boost your geek knowledge.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
I first read Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the third or fourth grade. To say it changed my life is probably an exaggeration. At the same time, the world made more sense after reading it – which is odd, because little in this series makes sense on the surface.hitch

A hapless every man, Arthur Dent, manages to escape our planet right before it’s blown up to create an intergalactic highway. Things get weirder from there, as Arthur Dent goes on many adventures he’s not suited for, including the successful (and disappointing) search for the meaning of life.

To begin with, stick to the first two books in the series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Together, the two books tell a complete story, and they have the best balance between Adams’ passion for science and his pessimism that we’re often far too dim to appreciate the world around us. Continue reading

30 Film Score Favorites

Film score composers are masters of emotion. Movies become extraordinary when the music is not just a bed but most another character unto itself, creating a sometimes-subliminal experience for the audience tailored to the cues of the film. A good film score can resonate with you long after the credits roll.

This list of my favorites isn’t an attempt to be comprehensive, so you can be forewarned that the classically-obvious selections – like Star Wars (1977), brilliantly-composed by John Williams, the epic score for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, composed by Howard Shore and Titanic (1997), the romantic and haunting composition by James Horner – are not included. But I hope to open your eyes (and ears) to some movies you might not have thought of before and to suggest you take a close listen to the beauty of the score entwined with these films. Without further ado, here are my 30 film score favorites (in no particular order).

Casablanca (1942), score composed by Max Steiner, likely ranks on most any “best of” movie list I’ve ever made (like this one, and this one). Its score is ageless. I could listen to it over and over again. And, in fact, I have.

Continue reading

Ice Cream & Book Pairings for the Book Loving Foodie

July 16 is National Ice Cream Day, and as far as we’re concerned, every day is National Book-Reading Day. To help you effectively combine these two life-giving pleasures, we’re serving up some recommendations for books and ice cream flavors that pair well together. (If you figure out how to eat ice cream and hold a book at the same time, let us know.)

benjerry
Ben & Jerry’s Bob Marley’s One Love™ and A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
The famous Vermont ice cream kings created this flavor as a tribute to the late, great reggae star Bob Marley. It’s got a banana ice cream base with caramel and graham cracker swirls and fudge peace signs. This ice cream is to die for, so it’s a perfect pairing with A Brief History of Seven Killings, the Man Booker Prize-winning novel from Jamaican writer Marlon James. The centerpiece of this sprawling, music-infused book is the 1976 attempted assassination of none other than Bob Marley. Continue reading

If You Liked The Girls, You Might Also Like…

If you are part of the HPB Book Club, you are currently reading or perhaps just finished The Girls by Emma Cline, a clever, yet disturbing coming-of-age novel inspired by the murders committed by Charles Manson’s followers in 1969. In the novel, a strange encounter with an ex-boyfriend’s son leaves Evie Boyd looking back to the summer of 1969, the summer she met “the girls.” Told though multiple flashbacks, Cline describes how Evie obsession with one of “the girls” draws her into a cult and ultimately to one night of unthinkable violence. Cline’s spellbinding prose and psychological insight make this book hard to put down. If you also liked The Girls, here are a few other books you might like.

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk • Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson • Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman • How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda • Modern Lovers by Emma Straub • Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

So, what’s your next read? Join the HPB Book Club at hpb.com/bookclub.

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

Becoming America (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

In honor of  Independence Day, we feature three books emblematic of the nation’s growing pains. The first, written near the country’s beginnings as a democracy, is a seminal work that helped define our legislative branch. The second, written thirty-four years later in 1821, provides detailed descriptions of the lives of Native Americans of that time before so much changed in their world. And the third selection provides a rare contemporaneous account of the Underground Railroad. Ironically, all three of these editions were published in the United Kingdom.

For this Fourth of July, along with your fireworks and hot dogs, find a little time to explore our country’s history in books!

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.
$10,000

Constitution

Adams 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.

Our copy 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. Continue reading

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.