Local Store Events Round-Up: April

Hi Gang–

Another month is upon us – Happy April!  If you’re looking for an excuse to visit your favorite bookstore (like you really need one), we’ve got lots of fun events planned at our stores nationwide.

All Markets

Half Pint Library Book Giveaway Events

Thanks for all the books you donated during our Half Pint Library book drive!  Because of your books and Half Price Books’ matching donations, we’ll donate thousands of books to non profits in need during the month of April.  If you’re a non profit or a teacher, check out our calendar of events page to download the proper form and find out when the giveaway event nearest you will take place.  We’ll hold at least one book giveaway in each of our markets.

Dallas-Area Stores

Northwest Highway – Dallas, Preston – Dallas, Irving, Mesquite, Cedar Hill, Rockwall, Richardson, Garland, Plano, Frisco, McKinney

Easter Coloring Contest

On the hunt for a fun, free Easter activity? Children 10 and under are invited to hop on over to Half Price Books for a chance to win a Golden Egg (aka $10 HPB gift card.) Stop by any Dallas area HPB store, pick up a coloring sheet and return it by Friday, April 6. Winner will be chosen at random. See store for details.

Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt 

Gather up the kids and bring your Easter Baskets.  On Friday, April 6 from 1-3 p.m., we’ll have an Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt at all Dallas-area stores. Each egg will have a surprise inside. See store for details.

Earth Day Coloring Contest

Think green…or a rainbow of colors. Children 10 and under are invited to stop by any Dallas area HPB store, beginning April 6, to pickup an Earth Day coloring sheet. Return it by Friday, April 27 for a chance to win a $10 HPB Gift Card. Winner will be chosen at random. See store for details.

Naperville, Illinois

Easter Coloring Contest

Children 12 and under are invited to hop on over to our Naperville HPB for a chance to win a $5 HPB gift card. Pick up a coloring sheet now and return it by noon on Saturday, April 7. Winner will be chosen at random on April 7 at 1 p.m. See store for details.

Easter Egg Hunt

On the hunt for a fun, free Easter activity? The Naperville store will have an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 7 starting at 9 a.m. until all the eggs are found. Lots of candy-filled eggs to find, and a lucky one will have a $25 HPB gift card inside. Snacks and refreshments will be available. Also that day, buy $15 or more of any merchandise and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a “Best of HPB” prize basket. Need not be present to win. See store for details.

Humble, Texas

Rodeo Coloring Contest

Hey, Buckaroos and Buckarettes! Ride on down to the Humble HPB or Beckwith’s Car Care and pick up a rodeo coloring sheet. Return it by Monday, April 9 for a chance to win a $50 HPB gift card. Six winners will be chosen in each of the following age ranges: 0-3 years, 4-5 years, 6-7 years, 8-9 yrs, 10-12 years, and 13 years – adult. See store for details.

Austin, Texas – Parmer Crossing

Curious George Coloring Contest

Put on your yellow hat and let’s go on a coloring adventure with Curious George. Pick up a coloring sheet at our Parmer Crossing HPB and return it by Wednesday, May 9. Entries will be judged in three age groups: 0-3 years, 4-7 years, and 8-12 years. Prize winners to be announced at our store’s Curious George Birthday party on Saturday, May 19. See store for details.

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, April 1, 1-2 p.m., Lexi the Collie-Lab, Kenwood Galleria
  • Sunday, April 1, 2-3 p.m., Potter, the Bearded Collie, Hamilton
  • Saturday, April 21, 3-4 p.m., Nico the Great Pyrenees, Florence
  • Sunday, April 22, 3-4 p.m., Bella the Pug, Mason

Seattle

Sakura-Con

Come visit Half Price Books at booth 533 at Sakura-Con at the Washington State Convention Center on Pike Street Friday, April 6 through Sunday, April 8. HPB will sell anime, manga, DVDs and more.

Houston – Clear Lake

Paul H. Yarbrough Book Signing

Join us on Saturday, April 7 from noon to 4 p.m. to meet Texas-native Paul H. Yarbrough.  He will sell and sign copies of his mystery novel, Mississippi Cotton, which takes place in the civil rights era. Mississippi Cotton has been nominated for the Independent Publisher Book Award and The Nautilus Book Award.

Pet Adoption Cat-urdays

Looking for a cuddly kitty? A fancy feline? A companion cat? On the first Saturday of each month from noon to 4 p.m., Bay Area Pet Adoptions will bring lovable cats available for adoption to our Clear Lake HPB store. Come see the kitties looking for a good, forever home.  See you April 7!

Marine Mammal Supply Drive
In honor of Earth Day, our Clear Lake HPB is sponsoring a fundraiser and supply drive for the local nonprofit, Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network throughout the month of April. Please contact store for list of requested donations.

Meet Gulfy the Dolphin
Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 21 from 11am to 3 pm when Gulfy the bootlenose dolphin — theTexas Marine Mammal Stranding Network’s mascot — will be at our Clear Lake HPB to educate the audience about stranded marine mammals. Copies of the book Stranded, Stormy’s Adventure will be available for $10, cash or check only.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Lincoln Square – Arlington, Texas 

Book Signing with Dianna Brown Funches

Join us on Saturday, April 21 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Lincoln Square HPB in Arlington where local Dallas author Dianna Brown Funches will sell and sign copies of her inspirational book entitled Destined for Greatness

A Visit From the Poky Little Puppy 

Now, where in the world is that poky little puppy? Could he be at HPB? The Poky Little Puppy will visit our Corpus Christi HPB on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21 in honor of the “Golden Legacy: 65 Years of Golden Books” exhibition at the Art Museum of South Texas. 

Free Family Day at the Art Museum of South Texas

Celebrating 65 Years of Golden Books! Join HPB at the Art Museum of South Texas for Family Day. Lots of free activities including bookmaking, writing, illustrating, and visits from the Poky Little Puppy and our very own HPB bookworm, BW. See you on Sunday, April 22 from 1-4 p.m. Visit the Art Museum of South Texas’ website for details.

Edmond, Oklahoma

Local Authors Weekend 

Come to the University Village HPB in Edmond for our Local Authors Weekend. On Saturday, April 21 from 1-3 p.m., meet Warren Schulman and get an autographed copy of his political thriller The Lushan Addiction. Then come back on Sunday, April 22 from 1-3 p.m. to meet local author and active-duty OKC police officer Kevin Barnes and get a signed copy of his inspirational book The Gift: A Faith Journey of a Street Cop 

Crystal, Minnesota

Celebrating 5 Years in Crystal

How time flies! We’ve been here in Crystal, Minnesota for 5 years. Join us for our 5th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. BW, the Half Price Books Bookworm, will be here to greet you. Bring the whole family to join our wonderful employees for the free festivities – cake, drinks, music, balloons and more. Thanks for shopping at Half Price Books in Crystal!

 Monroeville, PA

 Photography Contest Winners on Display

Come see the winning photographs from the Murrysville Parks & Recreation Commissions Photography Contest. A display of the winners will be available in the Art & Photography section of the Monroeville HPB Monday, April 23 through Monday, April 30.   

Spot the Easter Bunny
There’s a furry, little Easter Bunny that’s inhabiting our Monroeville store. He likes to hide in all sorts of places high and low. If you spot him in store, let the cashier know his location and you’ll be entered to a raffle for a chance to win a $25 HPB Gift Card! Look carefully, he’s hoppin’ all around. Winner will be selected at the end of April. Need not be present to win.

Pittsburgh, PA

Record Store Day

Do vinyl grooves make you move? Come visit our Ross Township HPB on Record Store Day – Saturday, April 21. From 6 to 11 pm, all our $1.00 clearance records will be marked down to 50¢ each. See store for detailshardcovers. You won’t know what’s on sale until you visit. Tuesday Night Specials valid at this location only. Ask in store for details.

Pittsburgh Comic Convention
Hey all you wall crawlers, before you go meet Stan Lee, swing across the street from the convention center to the Holiday Center HPB Friday, April 20-Sunday, April 22, and check out our display of Stan Lee merchandise. Show your convention badge or wristband and get a free comic (pre-selected by management).

Burleson, Texas

Vinyl Sunday

Get your groove on and enter for a chance to win a USB turntable! On Sunday, April 1 the McAlister Square HPB in Burleson will have all $1vinyl LPs marked down to 25¢, with all other LPs at 20% off the sticker price. See store for details.

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

Mansfield, Texas

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.

20% Off Vinyl on Record Store Day
We’re not just a place to buy books. We sell records, too! So, we’re joining the fun of Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21. Swing by the Mansfield HPB to save an extra 20% off all vinyl in store! Plus, for each $10 you spend on LPs, you’ll be entered to win a USB Turntable. Discount at this location only. See store for details.

Avon, Indiana

Retro Thursdays

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

Fort Wayne, Indiana

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

LP Day – Fridays
Join us each Friday for LP Day. All LPs will be 20% off, with some of your favorite songs being played on the turn-table.

Castleton Commons – Indianapolis, Indiana

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

Greenwood Shoppes – Greenwood, Indiana

Music Fridays
Looking for some soothing grooves or pounding beats to start your weekend? Stop by the Greenwood HPB every Friday to get 20% off all CDs, LPs, cassettes and 8-track tapes. Offer good at this location only.

South Arlington – Arlington, Texas

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.

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

Vinyl Fridays
Join us for a LP shopping spree! Get 20% off all vinyl on Friday, April 27 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, Mason and Florence, Kentucky locations until further notice.

Brice Park – Reynoldsburg, OH

Crafternoon at HPB
Do you like a good DIY craft? Want to celebrate Earth Day? Then join our Brice Park HPB on Sundays, April 15 and 22 from 1-3 pm for an afternoon of crafts using recycled materials. See store for details.

Lexington, KY

Vinyl Fridays
Move to the groove while you shop! Join us on the last Friday of each month from 6pm to 10pm and listen to classic tunes on vinyl and get 20% off all vinyl LPs at our Sir Barton Place HPB in Lexington. Discount at this location only.

Mansfield, Texas

20% Off Vinyl on Record Store Day

We’re not just place to buy books. We sell records, too! So, we’re joining the fun of Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21. Swing by the Mansfield HPB to save an extra 20% off all vinyl in store! Plus, for each $10 you spend on LPs, you’ll be entered to win a USB Turntable. Discount at this location only. See store for details. 

Storytime – Multiple Locations

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

Huebner Road – San AntonioVisit 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 April 1!

Mesquite, TX Pack 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, TX Visit us in Rockwall each Sunday at 3 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, TX Join 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.

Four Corners — Arlington, TX – Pack up your half-pint readers and come to Four Corners HPB in South Arlington for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 3pm every Sunday afternoon. Recommended for kids ranging from 2 to 8 years of age.

Burleson, TXPack up your little readers and join us at our Burleson location for a preschool storytime being held in conjunction with the Burleson Library. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 11 a.m. April 2 and April 16. See store for details.

Humble, TX – 

Bring the kids for a children’s storytime every Wednesday from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Join us for “Penny and Pup” by Linda Jennings on April 4; “Bye-Bye, Crib” by Alison McGhee on April 11; “Night of the Veggie Monster” by George McClements on April 18; and “Wiggens Learns His Manners” by Leslie McGuirk and Alex Von Bidder on April 25. Snacks will be provided. Recommended for kids ages 1 to 6.

Corpus Christi, TX Pack up your half-pint readers and come to Moore Plaza for Storytime Sundays. We’ll share a tale from 2 to 3 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month.  Recommended for kids ranging from pre-school to 4th grade.  See you April 8!

San Marcos, TX – Pack up your half-pint readers and come to our San Marcos HPB for Storytime Saturdays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale and a special activity with us each Saturday at 1:30 pm. Refreshments will be provided.

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 April 21!

Parmer Crossing – Austin, Texas – Join us each Saturday, in April for a special storytime and craft hour.  Here’s the schedule of books:

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

Happy reading!

-Emily

How About That Crazy Weather, or Top Books & Music about Extreme Weather

We’ve had such unpredictable and newsworthy weather the past couple years—from record droughts to widespread tornados to epic floods to ice storms—that it got me thinking about books and music where extreme weather plays a role.  Here are a few favorites.

“I Wish It Would Rain”
I had an India-born and -educated Economics professor who one class got off on a tangent about John Steinbeck’s
The Grapes of Wrath.  He began by recommending it as the best book written by an American; by the end of that class, he had made it required reading and promised a test on it.  It is a great book and I’m glad he made us read it.  I’m an Okie, by birth anyway, and I have ancestors who lived through the dust bowl horrors of the 1930s.  Steinbeck’s Joad family got out of Oklahoma and headed for a promised paradise out west.  The non-fiction book The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan, grippingly tells the story of the High Plains farmers who tried to tough it out on the barren plains as the dry, choking dust kept coming.

The Oklahoma troubadour Woody Guthrie’s first album, Dust Bowl Ballads, from 1940, is the musical story of the Oklahoma/Texas panhandle drought brought to us by a native son who felt the farmers’ pain.  “Dust Bowl Refugee” leads it off: “It’s a hard, old, dusty highway/For a dust bowl refugee.”

“Water, Water Everywhere…”
The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger’s 1997 tale of a once-in-a-blue moon weather event in the Atlantic Ocean is a page-turner.  It’s a little heavy on nautical terms, but they don’t often get in the way of the many life-and-death struggles of swordfishermen caught 500 miles off the Eastern coast. 

The notorious line “It was a dark and stormy night…” should be mentioned, too.  It starts the 1830 novel Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, whose purple prose inspired the annual bad writing contest, The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.  I haven’t read it, but I always get a kick out of reading submissions to the contest.  Lastly, I’ll mention my favorite childhood book, Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (1940). The book contains the most memorable line from all of my childhood reading: “I meant what I said and I said what I meant…an elephant’s faithful, one hundred per cent!”  Horton is an inspiring example for mailmen, endurance athletes and irresponsible-mother proxies everywhere, sticking with his task through rain, sleet and snow. 

Two great songs commemorate the Mississippi River flood of 1927.  “High Water Everywhere” was written in 1930 by Charley Patton, one of several Delta bluesmen who experienced the Mississippi River flood of 1927.  He captured it best. Forty-four years after Charley Patton, Randy Newman wrote “Louisiana 1927” about the flood with an unmatched mix of humorous lyrics and beautiful music.

“It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here”
I recently read three books about the Badwater Ultramarathon Race across Death Valley, a mid-summer 134-mile run from the lowest point in the US, at Badwater, to Whitney Portal, just below the highest point in the continental US, the peak of Mount Whitney.  In the dead of winter, I enjoy reading about running through Death Valley, just like my wife enjoys summertime reading about polar explorations. The grittiest of the three was Richard Benyo’s The Death Valley 300.  Benyo and a pal made the first trek from Badwater to the top of Mt. Whitney and back, years before Badwater officially became a race.  His account puts you right there—which isn’t always a good thing.  Also enjoyable was To the Edge by Kirk Johnson, a reporter who trained for and completed the grueling race.  Scott Ludwig competed in the 2003 Badwater Race and assembles his and other runners’ accounts of the experience in A Few Degrees from Hell. The writing is a bit pedestrian (pun intended).

For some fine fiction that takes place in hot and humid climes, read Graham Greene’s novels set in Congo, Mexico, Haiti and elsewhere.  Favorites are A Burnt-Out Case and The Power and the Glory.  To cool yourself off, get hold of Barry Lopez’s fascinating study of life at the Arctic Circle, Arctic Dreams

“Too Darn Hot,” the Cole Porter standard from the 1948 musical Kiss Me Kate, paints a picture: “I’d like to sup with my baby tonight, play the pup with my baby tonight—but I ain’t up for my baby tonight ‘cause it’s too darn hot.”

I’ll close with a couple of classic songs extolling the joys of extreme weather.

“Moonlight in Vermont” was written by John Blackburn & Karl Suessdorf  in 1945.  Many singers have recorded this popular song about the snowy landscape of Vermont.  It’s a beauty, but it’s notable for being an early and rare example of a popular song written in free verse—and in haiku, no less!

“Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone (1969) is, in my opinion, the best pop single ever recorded.  I don’t really know why but I don’t need to know why.  Its message is simple: Hey, it’s hot, but we’re having a great time!  Wanna join us?  This song not only had fabulous harmonies, but great vocal trade-offs, and the perfect summer rhythm and feel.

Any books or songs about extreme weather we missed? Let me know in the comments!

— Steve

10 Best Don Draper Quotes from Mad Men

The Mad Men season 5 premiere drew 3.5 million viewers on Sunday, making it easily the most-watched episode in the history of this AMC 60s-era drama. Many of newcomers are falling for the cinematic stylings of this unconventional TV series created by Matthew Weiner. Four-time Emmy-award winner for Outstanding Drama Series, Mad Men is certainly making its mark on television history.

Around the office at HPB, we’ve been buzzing with anticipation about the new season for weeks – parched for more juicy episodes after the show’s 17-month hiatus.

Mad Men centers on the enigmatic character of Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm), advertising man, copywriter and creative director. Draper is a man about words, sometimes few. But when he speaks, its often profound or, on the other, completely irreverent.

Here are the 10 best quotes from Don Draper from the first four seasons of the show:

1. Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound.” It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.

Season 1, Episode 13: “The Wheel”

2. Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.
Season 1, Episode 1: “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

3. There will be fat years and there will be lean years, but it is going to rain.
Season 3, Episode 1: “Out of Town”

4. Give me more ideas to reject.
Season 3, Episode 9: “Wee Small Hours”

5. I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one.
Season 1, Episode 1: “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

6. You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself.

Season 4, Episode 8: “The Summer Man”

7. The day you sign a client is the day you start losing one.

Season 1, Episode 10: “Long Weekend”

8. Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.

Season 2, Episode 5: “The New Girl”

9. I hate to break it to you but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.
Season 1, Episode 8 “The Hobo Code”

10. We’re flawed because we want so much more. We’re ruined because we get these things and wish for what we had.

Season 4, Episode 8: “The Summer Man”

With historical story lines, social issues, vignettes of Manhattan, retro advertising and 60s fashion, what’s not to love?! If you’re catching up, grab a copy of all seasons of Mad Men available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Check the shelves at your local HPB or buy them on HPB.com.

What’s your favorite line from the characters of Mad Men? – Meredith

P.S. One of my personal favorites: “That’s life. One minute, you’re on top of the world. The next, some secretary is running over your foot with a lawn motor.”  — Joan Holloway-Harris (played by Christina Hendricks) from Season 3, Episode 6: “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency”

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

Million Book Project reaches 500,000!

Hey gang –

Austin North Lamar Assistant Store Manager Ryan Zogg and Austin customer, Kwabena Ofori, receiving books from Half Price Books Million Book Project. Mr. Ofori sends the books to Ghana Africa to start libraries and share the love of reading with children across the world.As part of our 40th anniversary year (we’ve been around a long time, right?!), Half Price Books made a pledge to donate a million books as part of our Million Book Donation Project.  We are pleased to announce that we’re more than half way to our goal!

Half Price Books has already gotten more than 566,000 books into the hands of people who need them through various non profit organizations like the Girl Scouts and Feed The Children.  And with our upcoming Half Pint Library book giveaway events, we’ll reach even more people in need.

You can check out a full list of organizations we’ve donated to, keep tabs on our progress and fill out a donation request form for your non-profit school on our Million Book Donation Project website.

Happy reading!

Emily

 

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen’s latest young adult publication– Chomp, which debutes today – has already received much praise, including a Kirkus starred review. Hiaasen is no stranger to the book world, having written many bestselling books including the Newberry Award winner Hoot. And now with Chomp, he’s done it yet again – an excellent and fun book! This is a great story for both the young-at-heart adult reader and kids ages 10 and up.
 
Wahoo and his father’s backyard is a zoo… literally. Monkeys, alligators, snakes, raccoons and other exotic animals all live in his backyard. Often times Wahoo’s father, Mickey, a professional animal wrangler, rents out his animals and expertise to TV shows and movies. Mickey is approached to have his animals featured in a popular reality TV show called Expedition Survival! starring the clumsy and narcissistic Derek Badger. Derek can’t seem to do anything right. He’s constantly getting into embarrassing tussles with the animals and getting hurt. After seeing what an asset Mickey is as an animal wrangler, Derek’s staff offers him a new job: follow Derek and his crew out into wild and get Derek out of any sticky situations. Mickey and Wahoo agree to the job, and on their way out into the wild they pick up a girl named Tuna, who needs a place to hide from her abusive father. After only a day out in the wild, everything falls apart. Derek goes missing and Tuna’s father finds them out in  the wild. No spoilers here — Read the book to find out what happens next!

Wahoo is a smart kid who has a great heart and love for animals. Hiaasen does an excellent job of showing us truly who the characters are. While staying as funny and light-hearted as possible, Chomp has great themes for both children and even adults, including being kind to animals, loving your family no matter how crazy they are, and the fact that parental abuse of a child is not okay on any level.
 
If you’re looking for a good laugh and a fun read, grab a copy of Chomp.

And, check out Hiaasen’s other work like these titles.

— Kristen B.

Singin’ in the Rain’s 60th Anniversary

Singin’ in the Rain was first released on March 27, 1952 in New York City. This comedy musical stars Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds and is directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, with Kelly also providing the choreography. It offers a comedic depiction of Hollywood’s transition from silent films to “talkies” in the 1920s. It pays homage to the roots of cinema.

Since its debut 60 years ago, several DVD collections of Singin’ in the Rain have hit the shelves in celebration of MGM’s “Technicolor Musical Treasure.” And, rumor has it that Warner Brothers plans to release the film on Blu-Ray this summer.

Here’s the famous, namesake musical number featuring Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain.

If you’ve never seen it before, you simply must! Singin’ in the Rain is a classic! A delightful melody of vintage music, dance, comedy and romance. It’s the kind of lighthearted musical that will get you whistling or humming a tune.

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo, Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo, Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo – Meredith

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

40 Books Every Child Should Read

As the Half Pint Library book drive draws to a close, we are reminded once again of the importance reading plays in a child’s development.  It is a fact that children who live in a print-rich environment are much more likely to learn how to read on schedule and have a bigger and better vocabulary.

Did you know that children’s books actually contain 50% more rare words than primetime television (or even college students’ conversations)? As essential as early literacy is, the wealth of children’s literature that we have available to choose from can be overwhelming. So we consulted with our HPB Bibliomaniacs and asked: What do you consider to be some of the best children’s books ever written? And without further ado, here are 40 Books Every Child Should Read:

                

Does anyone else have the unquenchable desire to raid the children’s section of your local Half Price
Books
for The Poky Little Puppy, Where the Sidewalk Ends and There’s a Monster at the End of
this Book
?! I sure do.

Remember, the 2012 Half Pint Library book drive ends on Saturday, March 31. Please donate a new or
gently used kids book, and help share the love of reading with children in need.

How many of these books do you remember reading? What’s your childhood favorite?

— Julie

I.T. guys talk Tolkien…or do they?

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.” Chapter 4, The Hobbit

This Sunday, March 25th is the Tolkien Society’s designated Tolkien Reading Day. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the release of the beloved and award-winning novel, The Hobbit.

It goes without saying that a lot of HPB employees are huge Tolkien fans. Since I didn’t experience The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s other works until I was well into my 20’s, I thought perhaps some of my co-workers might have childhood memories filled with adventure stemming from Tolkien’s writings.

…and this is where this blog post begins to fall-apart. This is a true email conversation that spanned about 8 minutes total time one Tuesday afternoon. I asked my “lunch-bunch” friends in I.T. a simple question:

Me: “Do you know if anyone down there is a big-big-big Tolkien fan (or are any of you)? We have “Tolkien Reading Day” later this month and I need a blog contributor.

[If I would have listened carefully, I would have heard keyboard clicking screech to a halt and a heavy sigh on the other end of the building]

DJ: Just because we work in I.T. or have goatees does not mean we automatically nerd out about Tolkien.  Having said all that, I have read all the books and own all the movies. I have not read the entire Silmarillion, so I would not say I am a big big big fan.

RT: I can’t believe you haven’t read all of the Silmarillion. When I have to walk into Mordor I don’t know if I can have you in my fellowship.

DJ: Well if you had read any of the Silmarillion then you would also know that it would not really prepare you to face Mordor in its current state. 

JT: I haven’t been so insulted since Marvel replaced Brian Bendis with Andy Diggle on Daredevil.  ANDY DIGGLE!  So that should tell you something. I mean, why not just give it to Dan Slott?!?

DJ: Dan Slott can’t draw feet. This is known. You might as well roll a troll priest when undead is clearly the better option*.

*WoW patches circa 2009 and prior only.

ME: Decide on something. Maybe a top 5 list …something on The Hobbit (75th anniversary). If I get nothing, I am just submitting this conversation.

JT: I think you mean Rob Liefeld, but I take your point.  He’s as useless as a hunter with STR attributes on his weapon!*

*so much funnier when read in the voice I’m using in my head.

DJ: Just make a “Scumbag Bilbo” meme where it has him taking Gollum’s “Precious” like a chump and call it a day.

I admit I have no idea who Dan Slott is, and don’t really care.  It was just my segue way into pretentious “min-maxer” WoW comment.

RT: Yawn, this conversation is like watching two healers duel.

ME: The blog post is practically writing itself.

DT: Can we go out for ice cream now?

DJ:  Geez, Dave, just sit back and enjoy the ride.   Pretend you are Pippin or Merry and just chill the heck out while everyone else carries water for you.

DT: That pretty much describes most of my days.

DJ: I’m sure you would have been all for giving Tom Bombadil the one ring for safe keeping, wouldn’t you?

RT: Nerd.”

And then they all decided to go across the street for a smoothie.

There you have it folks. Have an extra breakfast today and crack open a Tolkien classic this fine reading day!

— Becky

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Jeff Swope

In this month’s “Meet the Bibliomaniac” feature, we are happy to introduce you to Jeff Swope, one of our San Antonio-area managers.  Not only does Jeff manage one of our stores, he also plays bass in the Corpus Christi Symphony!  Check out the Q&A below to learn a little more about Jeff.

Jeff Swope, Store Manager of the Broadway HPB in San Antonio, with his wife Janie and his niece Gabby, on stage after a Corpus Christi symphony concertName: Jeff Swope       

Job Title: Store Manager at the Broadway location in San Antonio

When did you join the HPB team? In March of 1989, I was hired by Ellen O’Neal (current chairperson of the board) and was trained at the Broadway store. After my training, I was transferred to the Castle Hills location, which was new at the time. In 1992, I was selected as assistant manager for the Bandera store, where I became store manager in 1994. Also that year, I married a fellow Half Price Books employee, Janie Rodriguez. In 1996, I came full circle back to Broadway as store manager.   

What is your favorite part about working at HPB? Going to work every day to a job that I really like (with books, records and people!) and it never gets old. Every day is an adventure. My store is the oldest store in the chain still in its original location. The store was built around 1925 and has been many things from a beauty salon bridal boutique to a photography studio to rental apartments on the top floor. I even had a customer tell me he was born in one of the apartments upstairs. Many customers and employees alike claim the upstairs part of the store is haunted . . . Come by and find out for yourself!   

What is your all-time favorite book? Good question. I have no answer because they are all good.

What are you reading right now? The Great One: The Life and Legend of Jackie Gleason by William Henry III, All the Things You Are: The Life of Tony Bennett by David Evanier, and last but not least, The Letters of Mozart by Hans MersmannI purchased this at the famous Half Price Books in Corpus Christi, Texas.

When did you start playing the bass? I started in 1974. My mom loves to tell the story of how I was too little to carry the bass home from school by myself, so I had a friend help. I would carry the bass by the neck and my friend would hold it by the end pin at the bottom of the instrument.  We looked like we were carrying a coffin down the street!  After that, we always seemed to have a station wagon in the family.

What made you choose the bass? I remember watching the Count Basie band on PBS when I was a kid in Abilene, Texas, and I thought the bass player was cool. A year later we moved to Mesquite, Texas, where a group of string teachers stopped by Galloway Elementary school to demonstrate the violin, viola, cello and bass in an effort to recruit kids for the orchestra. I saw the bass again, was immediately drawn to it, and said, “that’s it, that’s what I want to play!” That was 1974 and I’m still playing.      

When did you join the Corpus Christi Symphony? I believe it was around 1997. Before then, I had been playing in orchestras all over South Texas and finally had to slow down due to my ever increasing job responsibilities with Half Price Books. I made the decision to cut it down to just one orchestra and that was the Corpus Christi Symphony because it is such a wonderful place to make music.  They have a community there that really supports the arts. My wife was also very happy that I would be home more often to take care of the “honey do” list around the house. Doh!     

How often do you travel there for practice and performances? I travel to Corpus around six to eight times a year. We have a rehearsal on Thursday night, two rehearsals Friday, one rehearsal on Saturday morning and one show Saturday night. 

Do you have a favorite piece to play and if so, what is it? There is so much to choose from, but I would have to say the Beethoven Symphonies are my favorites, especially #7 & #9.

Anything else to add? I am very grateful that I have a wonderful job that allows me a little time off here and there for my hobby of orchestral music performance.  

 Thanks, Jeff! Do we have any customers who play classical music? What’s your favorite symphony?

— Emily

Welcome to the World: 21 Books to Start Baby’s Library

Earlier this year, people on the Inter-webs were yammering about Oprah giving a trunk stuffed with books as a baby gift to Beyonce and Jay-Z. Many of our Facebook fans chimed in on the topic. And we were struck by the fabulous and thoughtful book suggestions made by HPB fans. It left us feeling all chock-full of warm fuzzies. Fellow booklovers seem to agree: A library of books is a lovely gift for a little one.

So, in celebration of this First Day of Spring, when new life is blooming all around us, here’s a list of “Welcome to the World” gift ideas –– 21 books to give new parents to jumpstart their baby’s library.

                

If you were to give the gift of a library to a baby, what books would you include?

Happy Spring, everyone! – Meredith

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