Local Store Events Round-Up: February

Hey everybody –

Hard to believe, but February starts tomorrow!  Where did January go?  We hope you’ve started your year with many visits to your nearest Half Price Books.  If you’re looking for another excuse to stop by and see us, check out some of the fun things you can do at your local store this month.

All Arizona Stores:

The Great Re-Use-A-Thon
Get a jump on your spring cleaning. Come learn about organizing and decluttering your house and being friendly to the earth while you’re at it. Bring your downsized household items to be recycled, donated and/or reused by participating green companies. The Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers will offer on-site shredding for your sensitive documents. Stop by the HPB station at the Great Re-Use-A-Thon on Saturday, February 25 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Town & Country Shopping Center at the SE corner of 20th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. We’ll be accepting book donations as well as offering cash for your used books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and games. Visit napo-az.com to learn more.

Arizona Bed Race 2012
Half Price Books is participating in the Arizona Bed Race on Saturday, February 25 from 11 am to 1 pm at the Tempe Marketplace, 2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy. in Tempe. Our five-person HPB Team – four bed pushers and one bed rider – will be racing to the finish line to help raise funds for Bridging AZ Furniture Bank, a local furniture bank supporting social service agencies to help provide beds and household items to families in need. Come out and join our Bookworm mascot in cheering us on!

Gables of Avon– Avon, IN

Retro Thursdays
Think it’s still cool to be old school? Stop by the HPB in Avon every Thursday from 5-9 pm and get 20% off all vinyl, cassettes, comics, graphic novels and manga. Offer good at this location only.

Woodland/Anderson Mill — Austin, TX

Book Signing with Rudy Apodaca
Join us Saturday, Feb. 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. for a book signing with local author Rudy Apodaca. He will sign his new book, A Rare Thing, a coming-of-age story set in 1950s New Mexico. Don’t miss this chance to buy an autographed copy of his new book.

Book Signing with Melody Norsworthy

Join us Sunday, Feb. 12 from noon to 4 pm to meet author Melody Norsworthy and get a copy of her book, “What is Libido, and Why Don’t I Have One?”, a practical guide for gaining or improving your sex life. Don’t miss this chance to buy an autographed copy of her book ($20).

Cedar Park, TX


Retro Thursdays
Think it’s still cool to be old school? Stop by the HPB in Avon every Thursday from 5-9 pm and get 20% off all vinyl, cassettes, comics, graphic novels and manga. Offer good at this location only.

Woodland/Anderson Mill – Austin, TX

Local author Rudy Apodaca is back with us Saturday, February 11 from 2 to 4 pm, this time at our Cedar Park store! Rudy will be signing his new book, A Rare Thing, a coming-of-age story of redemption and forgiveness set in 1950s New Mexico. Last chance to buy an autographed copy of his new book!

Dublin, CA

Book Signing with Dayna Ingram
Come visit us in Dublin on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. to meet author Dayna Ingram for a book reading and signing of her newly published zombie/horror novella, Eat Your Heart Out. It’s “a ridiculously entertaining novella,” according to Publisher’s Weekly. Don’t miss this chance to buy an autographed copy of her work. 50% of the proceeds will be donated to ARF, Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. 

Edmond, OK

Homeschoolers’ Spelling Bee
Brush up on your D-I-C-T-I-O-N-A-R-Y skills and join us at the HPB in Edmond on Wednesday, February 22 at 10 am for a Homeschoolers’ Spelling Bee. You could win a $50 HPB Gift Card. No pre-registration required. Just come on by and participate. Open to 1st-12th grade home schooled students. Prizes to be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Stop by to cheer on these brave spellers and enjoy refreshments and door prizes.

Humble, TX

Italiano’s Gift Card Giveaway
Buy any love story at our Humble location on Friday, Feb. 10 and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card from Italiano’s Restaurant.   

Christine Hand Show
Dallas folk artist Christine Hand will perform at the Humble store on Friday, Feb. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m.  You can pick up her CD while you’re there for $5 – cash or check only.  Visit christinehand.com for more info.

Hurstbourne/Cherry Springs – Louisville, KY 

Late Night LP Blowout Sale
Stop by the Hurstbourne HPB on Friday, February 10 after-hours from 10 p.m. to midnight for a Late Night LP Blowout Sale. All clearance LPs will be priced at 10¢ each and all regular-priced LPs will be 30% off sticker price. Offer good 1-day only at this location.

Mason, OH; Kenwood Galleria- Cincinnati; Hamilton, OH and Florence, KY

Dog Days at Half Price Books
Join us at HPB to take a bite out of reading. Load up the kids and bring them to Half Price Books where they can read a book to a loveable pet.  Presented in partnership with the Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati.

  • Sunday, Feb. 5, 2-3 p.m., Potter, the Bearded Collie, Hamilton
  • Sunday, Feb. 5, 2-3 p.m., Lexi the Collie-Lab, Kenwood Galleria
  • Sunday, Feb. 12, 3-4 p.m., Bella the Pug, Mason
  • Saturday, Feb. 18, Nico the Great Pyrenees, Florence

Beavercreek, OH; Kenwood Galleria – Cincinnati, OH; Hamilton, OH and Northgate – Cincinnati, OH

Vinyl Fridays
Join us for a LP shopping spree! Get 20% off all vinyl on Friday, Feb. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m.  Come back the last Friday of each month for new discoveries and savings! All LPs discounted at Beavercreek, Kenwood Galleria, Hamilton and Northgate locations until further notice.

The Point at North Fayette – Pittsburgh, PA

Leap Day Frog Hunt
Hop, skip or jump over to HPB at the Pointe in North Fayette on Wednesday, February 29 to celebrate Leap Day. Find one of the 29 origami frogs hidden throughout the store and receive 10% off your purchase. Hurry in before they get away! Offer good February 29, 2012 at this location only. Excludes gift card purchases.

South Arlington/Four Corners – Arlington, TX

Retro Media Fridays
Get ready for a throwback! Join us at the Four Corners HPB in South Arlington every Friday night from 7-10 p.m. All retro media is 20% off – including LPs, cassette tapes, 8 tracks, VHS tapes and LaserDiscs.

Castleton Commons – Indianapolis, IN

Comics Sale Wednesdays
Comic fans and collectors, don’t miss our weekly Comics Sale Wednesdays. Save 20% off comic books at Castleton Commons. Come back each week as we restock with new adventures in store! Sale excludes graphic novels and manga. Continues each Wednesday at this location until further notice. No superhero powers required.

Vinyl Fridays
Join us for a LP shopping spree! Get 20% off all vinyl on Fridays at Castleton Commons. Come back each week for new discoveries and savings! No exclusions. All LPs discounted each Friday at this location until further notice.

Burleson, TX

Tuesday Night Specials
Stop by our Burleson location each Tuesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. for discount specials. Great savings may include 20% off DVDs or 30% off fiction hardcovers. You won’t know what’s on sale until you visit. Tuesday Night Specials valid at this location only. Ask in store for details.

Fort Wayne, IN

Comic Books Sale
Whamo! That’s right! Be here every Thursday and save an additional 20% off all comic books in store. Sale at the Fort Wayne HPB location only.

LP Fridays
Join us each Friday at the Coliseum Shoppes HPB from 9 am to 10 pm for LP Fridays. All LPs will be  marked down an extra 20% off and we’ll have some of your favorite songs being played on the turn-table.

Mansfield, TX

20% Off “Hump Day” Sale
Join us in Mansfield every Wednesday from 7-10 p.m. for a special 20% Off “Hump Day” Sale. Each week, we’ll feature a 20% discount on different categories of merchandise. Stop by today or call 682-518-7302 to find out what’s on sale this week! Hump Day Sale at Mansfield, Texas location only.

Naperville, IL

Win $100 Gift Card at our Naperville Opening
Join us at our Naperville Great Opening Celebration Thursday, February 9 through Sunday, February 12 at the Shoppes of Naperville located at 2867 95th St. at Rte. 59 near Jewel-Osco. Be one of the first 100 people through the door during our Great Opening Weekend and get a free tote bag and $5 gift card. Each day, one tote bag will contain a $100 gift card.* Doors open at 9 a.m.

*Limit one tote bag per person 16 years of age and up. Offer valid 02.09.12 – 02.12.12 at Naperville, IL location only.

Storytime – Multiple Locations
Many of our stores have weekly or monthly storytimes.  Check out this month’s listings:

Huebner Road – San Antonio, TXVisit Huebner Road the first Sunday of every month for Storytime Sunday at 2 p.m. Join our staff for a reading of one of our favorite children’s books, geared toward booklovers ages 2-8.  See you Feb. 5!

Mesquite, TXPack up your kiddos and visit our store in Mesquite every Sunday for Storytime and Crafts. Sit down and enjoy a good tale and free activity with us from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Readers and arts-and-crafts lovers of all ages are welcome. Recurring each Sunday until further notice.

Rockwall, TXVisit us in Rockwall each Sunday at 2:30 p.m. for a fun story.  Stick around and get crafty with us with a new activity for kids each week. Storytime recommended for kids ranging from pre-schoolers to 5th graders.

Lincoln Square – Arlington, TXJoin us at Lincoln Square every Sunday at 2 p.m. for a fun tale.  Recommended for kids ranging from infants to 6 years of age. Refreshments will be provided.

Humble, TX – Beginning Feb. 8, bring the kids for a children’s storytime every Wednesday from 10:30 to 11 a.m.  Snacks will be provided.  Recommended for kids ages 1 to 6. 

Hurstbourne – Louisville, KY – Bring the kids the third Saturday of every month from 2 to 4 p.m. for story time. Join us for sing-alongs, coloring contests, story-telling and more.  See you Feb. 17!

As always, be sure to check your local store’s webpage to see if anything has been added throughout the month.

Happy reading!

— Emily


Behind the Scenes with Art Curator & HPB Alum

One of our employees from the early days of Half Price Books, Charles Dee Mitchell, just had his house featured in The Dallas Morning News.

In 1972 the Fort Worth native, a theater (writing and directing) graduate of SMU, returned to Dallas from a stint in New York City and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to apply for a job at a start-up called Half Price Books. Some years and many gold-plated stock options later, he decided to retire early to pursue his longtime sideline as an art curator and writer. Making his love of art central to his life required stretching out in new directions, including selling the warrenlike Hollywood Heights Tudor he had long called home.

Art curator, collector and retired Half Price Books employee, Charles Dee Mitchell, in his office.

Check out the full article and some pics of his fabulous, art-filled home!

Photo Source: Ben Torres

Plum Ready for “One for the Money”

When I heard that Janet Evanovich’s first Stephanie Plum book, One for the Money, was finally hitting the big screen, I thought, “It’s about time.” Finally, the luckiest (though not the most competent) bounty hunter and her two hunky counterparts will be chasing bad guys, hauling in naked septuagenarians and blowing up cars at a theater near you. The film adaptation takes full form with the leading lady played by a brunette Katherine Heigl.

For those of you who may not have read Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, let me give you a run down of the first book:

Stephanie has lost her job and is desperately seeking a new one, before she is forced to eat hamster pellets for breakfast.  She begs her cousin Vinnie (a bail bondsman) for a filing job, but ends up working as a bond enforcement agent instead. Her first case involves Joe Morelli, a cop accused of shooting an unarmed man.  She teams up with ex-Special Forces hunk-turned-bounty-hunter Ranger to help her learn the ropes and, on occasion, help her reach her handcuff keys. Throw in a crazy grandma, auto theft, a psycho boxer and dumpster diving and you have a laugh out loud book, which promises to be a laugh out loud movie.

One for the Money premiers in theaters today, so grab some popcorn and report back on what you think. And be sure to check out all the other books in the Stephanie Plum series on the shelves at your local HPB store or online at HPB Marketplace.

— Julie

J.K. Rowling + the Nobel Prize Debate

A couple weeks ago Jeff O’Neal of Book Riot wrote a provocative article which started the discussion about J.K. Rowling as a writer deserving of the title Nobel Laureate. It has gotten the literary community stirring with quite a debate.

The Nobel prize often brings underdogs of literature into the limelight much in the same way that Sundance calls our attention to often under-rated, independent films. Alfred Nobel intended for this prestigious award to recognize “literary excellence.” But who says literary excellence can’t take the form of mass-market fiction? If J.R.R. Tolkien couldn’t receive the award after being nominated by C.S. Lewis in 1961, then who? Setting aside artistic and subjective elements, shouldn’t literature which is beloved by millions of readers across many generations stand a chance?

At HPB, we applaud authors who spark imaginations and ignite a passion for reading. So while the bar may be set a little too high for J.K. Rowling to win a Nobel prize for her contribution to literature, we believe she deserves our praise. After all, she’s inspired a new generation of readers. And writers, too. And the characters she created in her books will live on for generations to come.

What do you think? What author do you think deserves the Nobel Prize for Literature?

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

“Robot” Introduced 92 Years Ago: Top Three Film Robots

Okay, science fiction fans. I heard an interesting fact. Yesterday was the anniversary of when the word ROBOT was introduced into the English language. It was introduced by a Czech playwright, novelist and journalist named Karel Capek, who introduced it in 1920 in his hit play “RUR,” or “Rossum’s Universal Robots.” Being a movie buff, iI of course thought of famous robots in film. I could compile quite a list, but just to make it more refined, I’ve narrowed it down to the top 3.

C-3PO and R2-D2.
I know that these are two robots instead of one, but these “droids”(as Mr. Lucas coined them) must come in a pair. C-3PO, the protocol droid, is equipped with over 6 million forms of communication and hates adventure and space travel. His counterpart, R2-D2, is an astrodroid with a bold personality and bravery who serves many purposes throughout  Star Wars – from starship mechanic to computer interface specialists. Their popularity is unsurpassed by any other. After all, where do you think the name for the “DROID” phone came from?

The Terminator. Who can forget Arnold Schwarzenegger portraying the cybernetic organism (cyborg for short) T-800 series 101. This robot is sent back through time to terminate Sarah Connor, future mother of John Connor, who is destined to lead the revolution against the machines. The Terminator is a methodical killing machine and one of the great robots in film.

WALL-E. This robot, a Waste Allocation Lift Loader, Earth-Class (WALL-E for short) is the last of his kind on earth, left to clean the planet of trash. You wouldn’t believe there could be that much personality within a robot that befriends a cockroach, but then WALL-E later falls in love with another robot, EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). Wonderful characters, but what else would you expect from Pixar? This is one lil’ robot who stole our hearts.

There are my top 3 robots in film. Now, before you object, I want you to know that I considered Optimus Prime and Megatron from Transformers, but to me they were more memorable as toys than in the movies. Mashinenmensch from Metropolis also almost made the list — he was a big influence on George Lucas when creating the look for C-3PO.

Who is on your list as the greatest robots in film? Don’t forget where the word ROBOT came from, and more importantly… No talking or texting during the feature presentation.

— Jim

Fiction Review: Playground: The Mostly True Story of a Former Bully by 50 Cent

It’s No Name Calling Week (and yesterday was National Compliment Day) so we thought we’d do a review on a book about bullying. Let me just start out by saying that I never thought that I would be reading a book written by 50 cent, let alone reviewing it for the HPB Blog. A few months ago I received Playground: The Mostly True Story of a Former Bully and decided to take it with me on the plane when I went to Chicago for a remainder book show. It’s definitely a quick read. I finished it in the short hour and a half ride — and, I was kind of surprised at how much I didn’t hate it.

Butterball is a 13 year old kid who is overweight and has divorced parents. His dad is a deadbeat and his mom works constantly as a nurse. All he wants in life is to be one of the cool kids. He wants the right shoes and the right pants. He wants to be athletic. He wants people to like him. He quickly discovers after he beats up another kid that a few guys like him – but are they the right kind of friends that he wants? Soon these so-called friends are encouraging him to be more and more physically violent towards other kids. Butterball is placed into therapy and during his sessions, slowly the reader learns about the different “problems” that Butterball is going through.

Playground is a great story about how rushing to conclusions can have consequences and learning that everyone has their own problems.  I just wish it didn’t have such explicit language so that I could recommend it for youngsters. I think this would be a great resource for anyone who is a teacher or is planning to become one. It’s a great reminder that sometimes kids act up because they have a lot of other bad things going on in their lives.

Let us also recommend some resources for anyone having a problem with bullying. It’s important to remember that bullies can be found anywhere – in school or even in the workplace as an adult. Bullying is even more of a threat now that it can pervade home lives through text messages and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. If you or someone you know is in need of help, check out StopBullying.Gov, a website dedicated to helping both students and parents look for signs of bullying and take steps to deal with the problem.  The Cartoon Network also has a great Facebook page with great resources at StopBullying: Speak Up. Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center also has a great website, including touching stories of young students who have been bullied.

A lot of different celebrities are now joining in the effort to help eradicate bullying. 50 Cent, Demi Lovato, Jessica Simpson, Justin Bieber, Daniel Radcliffe, Queen Latifah, and Jim Carrey have all spoken out against bullying.  Ellen DeGeneres also has the website United Against Bullying. Even Sesame Street is joining in on the action with episodes dedicated to dealing with bullies. 

Please don’t wait to check out these resources or share them with a friend who is being bullied. There are people out there who are willing to help you.

Do you know of any other great resources or books for people to read about the subject of bullying? Feel free to share with us!

— Kristen B.

2012 Oscar Nominations & Frontrunners

And it’s official, the nominations are out for the 84th Academy Awards. This time last year, it was already down to a two horse race between The Social Network and The King’s Speech for Best Picture, and the best actor and actress awards were all but locked up by Colin Firth and Natalie Portman. This year, we have a few strong frontrunners, but the competition to take home an Oscar seems more challenging.

Could this be the year for George Clooney to nail down the Best Actor award for his performance in The Descendants? He was nominated two years ago in the leading category for Up In The Air and won a Supporting Actor Oscar for Syriana— and he has won the Golden Globe for The Descendants already. Clooney seems to be one of the Academy favorites these days, so if you had to make an early prediction, this might be a safe bet. I predict it will come down to him or The Artist’s Jean Dujardin.
Speaking of Academy favorites, is there any bigger favorite than Meryl Streep? This is now her 17th nomination, having won only twice for Sophie’s Choice in 1983 and Kramer vs. Kramer in 1980. Streep’s performance was spot on as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady, but there are two more to look out for in this category.

The first is Michelle Williams, who played the perfect Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. She too has a few previous nominations for Blue Valentine and Brokeback Mountain. So she may get a few voters in the Academy thinking it is her time.

Glenn Close is in the same situation, having 5 previous nominations for the likes of Dangerous Liaisons and Fatal Attraction. Close gave a very daring performance portraying a man in Albert Nobbs. Two other actresses, Hillary Swank and Linda Hunt, have won oscars for portraying men in Boys Don’t Cry and The Year Of Living Dangerously.

And lastly, when you figure in Viola Davis in The Help, we are left with one tough category to pick. Streep has to be the odds-on favorite, but as much as the Academy likes nominating her, they also liking voting for someone else in the final ballot.

That brings us to the coveted Best Picture award. With the new nomination requirements, we have a different number of films nominated this year. The Artist (with its 1920s Hollywood glamor) and The Descendants (with its modern-day family drama) are certainly the two frontrunners at the moment. Both have already won Golden Globes for Best Picture in their respective categories. But I won’t discount The Help from the race quite yet either. Based on a bestselling novel, its humble story made audiences everywhere laugh out loud and then leave the theater touched. That combination spells success.  

If you haven’t seen some of the nominated films, get out there and go see them before Oscar night (Sunday, February 26) so you can judge for yourself. Just remember: no talking or texting during the feature presentation.

— Jim

21 Tips & Tricks for Baking a Perfect Pie

Grab a slice! It’s National Pie Day! Why is National Pie Day celebrated on January 23 (or 1/123)? According the the American Pie Council (yes, there’s a council), it’s because celebrating the wholesome goodness of pie is as easy as 1-2-3. Despite their corny motto, they have created this day on the calendar to celebrate the American culinary heritage that takes the form of pie.

I’m a baker by hobby. And, well — modesty aside — I make good pies. Crowd-tested, clean-the-plate good. So to help you celebrate National Pie Day, I’m sharing some of my pie making tips and tricks. Take notes.

1. If you’re going to the trouble of making your pie crust from scratch, you want it to be perfect. So, start by keeping your ingredients chilled until you’re ready to make the dough.

2. And speaking of keeping things cold, make it easier to deal with by refrigerating the dough for about 30 minutes before you roll it.

3. Traditional dough recipes may not call for sugar, but adding a bit may help the crust turn out more tender. Make sure your recipe calls for butter and shortening if you want a flakier crust.

4. Depending on what pie you’re making, you can also choose to add spices to the pie crust dough to bring out the flavors. Try adding nutmeg, ginger or cinnamon.

5. If you’re intimidated by making pie crust from scratch (or just don’t have the time), buy a ready-made refrigerated one at the grocery store. No one will judge you — or perhaps even notice.

6. Having the right pie plate or pan can really make a difference. I swear by my heavy ceramic pie pan because it retains heat so well for even baking.

7. Just before you put your pie in the oven to bake, whisk an egg with a touch of water (or milk or cream) and brush the egg wash over the crust edges and top to create a nice, golden glaze.

8. Or, if you want the pie crust to look dull rather than have a glossy finish, brush the crust with milk only.

9. If you’re making a fruit-filled pie, put your pie plate/pan on a baking sheet to catch any drippings and save yourself a big mess to clean up later.

10. Recipes for fruit pies which call for cornstarch are the way to go. It thickens the fruit filling for a scrumptious and less-runny treat.

11. When making an all-American apple pie, slice your apples thin for best results and even baking of both the fruit and crust.

12. With the exception of apple pie, butter doesn’t do you any favors in making fruit pie filling. It actually can dull the flavor of your peaches and berries, so go without.

13. Dark, unsulphured molasses is the secret to enhancing your pumpkin pie’s rich and hearty pumpkin-y flavor.

14. To achieve picture-perfect pecan pie, use whole pecans instead of chopped. And be mindful of your source. Whenever possible, buy local for the freshest nuts.

15. If you notice the pie crust is browning too quickly in the oven (especially with double-crusted pies), cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil and put it back in the oven on the bottom rack.

16. Once you remove it from the oven, your pie will continue to bake as it cools. So don’t be afraid if it’s a tad wobbly in the center when you remove it.

17. Let your pie cool and settle for at least 20 minutes before you even think about digging in. Some pies call for even longer cooling times or overnight refrigeration.

18. For your cream and custard pies, whip up your meringue topping with a pinch of baking soda to beaten egg whites. It helps meringue stand up higher.

19. When slicing a pie that has meringue on top, dip your knife in cold water before you cut a slice to keep the meringue looking all fluffy and picture-perfect.

20. Make sure read the entire recipe ahead of time. You don’t want to be an hour away from a dinner party and find out you needed to refrigerate something overnight.

21. When in doubt, follow the recipe. Most often, they’ve been tried and tested and will likely guide you to the best possible outcome. But once you feel comfortable, by all means, experiment!

Wishing you each a lick-your-fork-clean slice of pie today.  

Now go eat, drink and be merry – Meredith

Photo Source: Frame By Frame Baking: A Visual Step-by-Step Cookbook by Parragon Books, available at your local HPB store and online on the HPB Marketplace.

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

40 Classic Books You Should Have Read in School

Earlier this month Jim Swayze challenged you to read Classic Literature, but if you are anything like me, you wonder when a book stops being a regular book and starts being a “classic.” Interestingly enough, no one really knows. In fact, essays have been found debating the topic since the early 19th century. The term “classic” is accepted to mean that the book is noteworthy and stands the test of time. However, the noteworthiness of the book is also very subjective.

So how are you to know whether the book you are reading is a classic? Well, lucky for you, our employees know books. We conducted an extensive and amusing poll, consisting of the ever-so-technical question, “So, what do you think?” Without further ado, here are our employees’ selections for 40 Books You Should Have Read in School, a.k.a. Classic Literature.





So, how many of you read that list saying, “Read it. Read it. Hated it. Want to read it. Never heard of it . . .” ? Wow! You are like me. If so, I know that you will be itching to read those books that you haven’t read, and why not enter to win a $50 HPB gift card in the process. You have one more week to sign up for the HPB Reading Challenge: Lit Classics.

Tip: Les Miserables is almost 1,500 pages. A Christmas Carol is a little more than 100 pages. I’m just saying.

Did we leave out your favorite classic lit from our list? Let us know in the comments below.

— Julie

The First 40 Years…

Among my friends, I am known as the keeper of useless information.  I seem to always know where sayings come from, where to use commas, and where other people’s keys are (though I can rarely find my own).  So, in celebration of Half Price Books’ 40th anniversary, here are a few useless (and very random) facts about the last 40 years.

The 70s:

  • 1972 – Half Price Books opened its first store in a converted Laundromat in Dallas, Texas.
  • 1972 – Atari releases PONG, the first video game to achieve commercial success.
  • 1972 – In January, G. Gordon Liddy, general counsel to the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, proposed burglarizing and wiretapping the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate Complex. That June, five men were arrested inside the Democratic National Headquarters office after a security guard at the Watergate complex called the police. That July, “Deep Throat” reveals the link to the Committee to Re-Elect the President, and that November, Nixon gets re-elected.  (Where the heck was CNN?)
  • 1975 – Wheel of Fortune, the longest running syndicated game show in television history, premiered on NBC, hosted by Chuck Woolery. Wheel of Fortune was originally called “Shopper’s Bazaar” and included a bigger wheel and carnival sound effects.

The 80s:

  • 1980 – CNN debuted. (eight years too late, fellas)
  • 1984 – Half Price Books opened its first store in Washington state.
  • 1984 – Apple announces the Macintosh.
  • 1984 – The science fiction novel Neuromancer, by William Gibson was published, introducing the world a new word: cyberspace. This novel was the inspiration for the movies Hackers (1995) and The Matrix (1999).

The 90s:

  • 1991 – The release of Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991) and Pearl Jam’s Ten (1992) brought grunge-rock into the mainstream and made grunge the most popular form of hard rock music.
  • 1994 – The NBC comedy “Friends” premiered.
  • 1994 – Half Price Books conducted its first “Bedtime Storybook Contest” and published the first edition of Say Good Night to Illiteracy, which included the top 20 stories submitted by customers and chosen by librarians, teachers and writers. The final edition of Say Good Night to Illiteracy was published in 2007.
  • 1994 – President Richard M. Nixon died at 81 after suffering a stroke. (CNN reported it.)

In the 2000s:

  • 2005 – British actor Daniel Craig was named the new James Bond. (Did you know that the Home Office has granted a real passport to Craig under the name of his 007 character. “Bond. James Bond.”)
  • 2005 – Mark Felt revealed himself to be the Watergate scandal whistleblower “Deep Throat.”  (Although his identity was revealed to Vanity Fair, CNN did run the story.)
  • 2007 – The iPhone was first released.
  • 2012 – Half Price Books turns 40!

And the story continues. For more fun facts from the last forty years (try saying that five times fast), check out this.

And, if you have any useless information about the last forty years stored up in your noggin, let me know in the comments.

— Julie