Quick Reads: 55 Books Under 200 Pages

Traveling with books can be cumbersome, but traveling without books is unimaginable. Usually I keep one book in the car or in my carry-on and one book in my suitcase. And depending on the book, it can really start to weigh you down. (Tip: Don’t take Les Mis with you on a plane, even if you are traveling from Dallas to Seattle. By the time the trip is over, your shoulder will be sore from propping it up.)

The answer is to take small books that you can read quickly. So, I asked our 3,000 HPB Bibliomanics: what quick reads (under 200 pages) would you recommend for the traveling booklovers? And they responded in mass. So, here are 55 Quick Reads (a.k.a. great books under 200 pages you’ll enjoy diving into whether at home or on-the-go):

1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck / 2. Siddhartha by Herman Hessel / 3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman / 4. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway / 5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald / 6. The Pearl by John Steinbeck / 7. Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott / 8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (not the Complete Guide) / 9. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes / 10. Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates / 11. The Neon Bible by John Toole / 12. Consider the Oyster by M.F.K. Fisher / 13. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder / 14. Chronicle of Death Foretold by Gabriel Garciá Márquez / 15. The Stranger by Albert Camus / 16. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens / 17. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket / 18. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein / 19. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck / 20. Being There by Jerzy Kosinki / 21. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck / 22. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White / 23. The Awakening by Kate Chopin / 24. A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut / 25. Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan / 26. Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker / 27. Black Orchids by Rex Stout / 28. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells / 29. Animal Farm by George Orwell / 30. The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde / 31. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton / 32. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle / 33. Heartburn by Nora Ephron / 34. The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell / 35. Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garciá Márquez / 36. Grendel by John Gardner / 37. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote / 38. Flatland by Edwin Abbot / 40. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto / 40. Shopgirl by Steve Martin / 41. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo / 42. Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr. / 43. The Girl on the Fridge by Edgar Keret / 44. Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald G. Jampolsky / 45. I And Thou by Martin Buber / 46. Perelandra by C.S. Lewis / 47. Pafko at the Wall by Don Delilo / 48. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett / 49. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George / 50. At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom by Amy Hempel / 51. Lord of the Flies by William Golding / 52. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson / 53. The Quiet American by Graham Greene / 54. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt / 55. Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates.

Now, my only dilemma is choosing. Which one should I take to my family reunion this weekend?

Did we miss your favorite quick read under 200 pages? Let us know in the comments below.

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

Get Lost (with these new fiction titles)!

With the dog days of summer in full swing, you may be feeling a little claustrophobic, restless, or even trapped waiting for temperatures to drop. When the heat is too oppressive to do much of anything else, why not escape into a great new book?  Stop by your local HPB today and check out a few of our new fiction picks to help you dodge the doldrums of summer.

•  Want to get lost in a fast-paced crime thriller? If you like JD Robb’s In Death series or Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper novels, try Bombshell by Catherine Coulter.

• Suspenseful paranormal romance more your style? Check out Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton, especially if you’re a fan of Cynthia Eden’s vampire series or Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark.

City of Bones is the first installment in the YA Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and is a great choice for teen readers who love Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy or the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

• For fans of Philippa Gregory’s historical novels The Red Queen & The Other Boleyn Girl, The White Princess will be a perfect follow-up. Also check out this new release if you enjoyed Sarah Dunant’s The Birth of Venus or In the Company of a Courtesan.

• Can’t get enough of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon thrillers? Couldn’t put down Dan Brown’s Inferno? Try Brad Thor’s new political page-turner, Hidden Order.

Have you gotten lost with any of our new fiction picks yet?  What’s been your perfect summer escape this season? — Kate 

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Best Wedding Songs Through the Years

June is the big month for weddings, but if you missed it, you don’t have to wait until next year. Wedding planning happens all year long! 

So many love songs have been wedding songs-of-choice over the years that it would be impossible to make a definitive list.  But here is a list that includes a song for each decade, starting with the thirties, that was a popular romantic song when it came out and went on to become a wedding staple.

The Thirties: “Love is Here to Stay

George and Ira Gershwin wrote this one in 1938 for the movie The Goldwyn Follies. Most people call the song “Our Love is Here to Stay,” and that is the title Ira wanted to change it to—but it too quickly became popular with the shorter title.

“In time, the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble— 

They’re only made of clay 

But our love is here to stay” 

The Forties: “Oh! What It Seemed to Be

Here’s a song written specifically about getting married.  Frank Sinatra unabashedly sang its romantic lyrics and made it a big hit in 1946.

“It was just a wedding in June, that’s all that it was 

But, oh, what it seemed to be

It was like a royal affair, with everyone there

‘Cause you said ‘Yes, I do’ to me”

The Fifties: “Only You”

The Platters cast a spell with the melodramatic delivery of their string of hit songs, and this one, their first top-ten hit and a #1 single in 1955, was no exception.

“Only you can make the world seem right

Only you can make the darkness bright

Only you and you alone can thrill me like you do

And fill my heart with love for only you”

The Sixties: “At Last”

The song was written in the thirties but Etta James made it her own in 1960, and her version is the go-to rendition to this day—including Beyonce’s homage performance for the First Couple.

“At last—my love has come along

My lonely days are over

And life is like a song”

The Seventies: “Wedding Song (There is Love)”

Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary actually wrote the song in the fall of ’69 for group-mate Peter Yarrow’s wedding, but it was first recorded in 1971.  It’s been a wedding favorite ever since.  Stookey, feeling it was inspired by God, doesn’t take royalties on the song.

“The union of your spirits here has caused him to remain 

For whenever two or more of you are gathered in his name 

There is love”


The Eighties: “Endless Love”

Lionel Richie wrote “Endless Love” in 1981 and recorded it as a duet with Diana Ross.  The recording was named Billboard’s all-time greatest duet, and was used in the movie Endless Love.    

And, yes, you’ll be the only one

’Cause no one can deny this love I have inside

And I’ll give it all to you, my love

My endless love”

The Nineties: “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”

This power ballad was performed by Bryan Adams, who co-wrote it with Michael Kamen and Mutt Lange for the 1991 movie Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.   

Don’t tell me it’s not worth fightin’ for

I can’t help it, there’s nothin’ I want more

You know it’s true

Everything I do, I do it for you”

The 00s: “Yellow”

I figure it’s too soon to pick a non-controversial best love song from the most recently-completed decade.  I’m gonna say Coldplay’s “Yellow,” from 2000.  It was a massive hit that made the band famous, and its lyrics are heartfelt. 

“Look at the stars

Look how they shine for you

And everything you do

Yeah, they were all yellow”

OK, which of your favorites did I miss?  What song did you get married to? — Steve 

Steve is Staffing & Development Manager (aka the “Buy Guy”) at Half Price Books Corporate.


Royal Baby Watch – Famous Babies of Literature

The other Duchess’ baby (drawing by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland)At the time of this post, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is in labor (or labour, if you’re across the pond) with her first child and heir to the throne of England. In honor of the new addition to the royal line (and to tide us over until the #royalbaby watch subsides), we here at HPB HQ have been mulling over memorable babies from literature and have rounded up a list of ten whose infancy is mentioned at least briefly in their respective novels. As an added bonus, since the soon-to-be mum has thus far been mum on possible names, perhaps she could consider a few of these – just in case she needs a bit of inspiration.

For a little princess…

  1. Pearl – Hester Prynne & Arthur Dimmesdale’s baby in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Baby name meaning: pearl, precious
  2. Anna – Anna Karenina & Aleksei Vronsky’s baby in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna KareninaBaby name meaning: gracious, merciful
  3. Bonnie Blue – Scarlett O’Hara & Rhett Butler’s baby in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Baby name meaning: pretty, good
  4. Bess – Amy March & Theodore “Laurie” Laurence’s baby in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Baby name meaning: oath of God
  5. Pammy – Daisy & Tom Buchanan’s baby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Baby name meaning: honey, sweetness

For a little prince…

  1. Arthur – Igraine & Uther Pendragon’s baby in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Baby name meaning: bear, bear-like
  2. Tarzan (aka John) – Alice & John Clayton’s baby (but adopted as an infant by she-ape Kala) in Tarzan of the Apes. Baby name meaning (John): God is Gracious
  3. Albert – Merédès and Fernand Mondego’s baby in Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Baby name meaning: bright, noble, famous
  4. Mowgli – Mother & Father Wolf’s adopted baby in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Baby name meaning: (created for the novel)
  5. Harry – Lily & James Potter’s baby in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Baby name meaning: home ruler

With the Duchess due any moment now, there isn’t much time left to speculate on the future ruler’s name. Will Kate & William take a cue from the classics for their first baby’s name? Who are your favorite literary babies? — Kate 

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

25 Essential Love Triangle Movies

For decades, we’ve seen love triangles as a recurring theme in both literature and film. There’s just something people enjoy about the entanglement of rivalry and romance. There are plenty – so it became difficult to narrow this list to just 25.

There are classics like Casablanca (1942) and its ever-so-quotable lines and Pillow Talk (1959) with its split-screen antics. New adaptations of period stories like Sense and Sensibility (1994) based on the novel by Jane Austen and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) based on the Philippa Gregory novel about the life of Queen Anne and her sister Mary. Plus, there are some hits from the 80s and 90s, and some modern movies too.

So if you’re in the mood for a bit of smitten romance, here’s a list of 25 Essential Love Triangle Movies.

1. Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy and Jon Cryer in Pretty in Pink (1986)

2. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid in Casablanca (1942)

3. Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbor (2001)

4. Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman and Peter Gallagher in While You Were Sleeping (1995)

5. Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Love Actually (2003)

6. Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney and Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend’s Wedding (1996)

7. Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemmon and Fred MacMurray in The Apartment (1960)

8. Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winsley and Bill Zane in Titanic (1997)

9. Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden in Sabrina (1954)

10. Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

11. Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet and Greg Wise in Sense and Sensibility (1995)

12. Robin Wright, Cary Elwes and Chris Sarandon in The Princess Bride (1987)

13. Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

14. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in The Hunger Games (2012)

15. Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall in Pillow Talk (1959)

16. Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore and Christine Taylor in The Wedding Singer (1998)

17. Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard in Gone with the Wind (1939)

18. Steve Carrell, Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook in Dan in Real Life (2007)

19. Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story (1940)

20. Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda and Rose Perez in It Could Happen to You (1994)

21. Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson in How Do You Know (2010)

22. Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katherine Rose in The Graduate (1967)

23. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner in Twilight (2008)

24. Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams and James Marsden in The Notebook (2004)

25. Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn and Dana Delany in Housesitter (1992)

What’s your favorite on-screen love triangle?

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

Books Authors Read with Ruthie Baron

We continue our “Books Authors Read” series with author Ruthie Baron, who wrote Defriended, an awesome horror mystery that has zipped its way around the Half Price Books corporate office at lightning speed. Ruthie herself is super funny, smart, and fun — and a huge Veronica Mars fan. We like her very much. Thanks for putting together this list for us, Ruthie! — Kristen D. 


Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block

I’m cheating with this because it’s actually a collection of five books that tell the story of Weetzie Bat, the slinkster-coolest girl in all of LA, and her dreamy, badass clan of friends, lovers, friends’ lovers, daughters, daughters’ lovers, daughters’ band mates, etc. My freshman year of high school, I gave Dangerous Angels to a senior I really wanted to be friends with (she started giving me rides home from school so the plan worked!), and I’ve probably given away 20 copies since then—anyone who likes passion, wonder, or awesome clothes will like these books. 

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

One of my favorite genres of fiction is “protagonist I want to be like whose situation I don’t want to be in.” It’s not that Esch, the 15-year-old newly pregnant narrator of Salvage the Bones, is some sort of saint, but she’s fiercely loyal, deeply loving, and crazy smart, so watching her and her rural Mississippi family prepare for an approaching gulf storm is wrenching… and gripping and beautiful and tender and makes for one of the best books I’ve read in the last 10 years. 

September Girls be Bennett Madison

I have not been able to stop thinking about this book since I devoured it last month—it’s a coming-of-age story that calls shenanigans on the “today you are a man,” bar mitzvah-y idea of coming of age, because of course change is not a singular event and being a man (or a woman or a teenager or a sex siren sea creature) is not a singular thing.  The writing is sharp and gorgeous and haunting and–best of all–hilarious and an absolute pleasure to lose yourself in.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Sargent lives with a coven of psychic women in a town that houses a posh boarding school, the hot rich guys who go to said boarding school, and at least one big magical mystery.  If you’re not sold yet, let me assure you that it is even more than the sum of its spooky, weird, very funny parts.

Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry

I love a spy novel (I’m seriously considering getting this tattooed on my person), and this one is as thrilling and absorbing as they come.  McCarry was a CIA agent during the 50s and 60s, so his writing about the Vietnam War and his JFK assassination theory are especially believable, but the geopolitical history lesson is just the icing on the good old fashioned intrigue cake.

Ruthie Baron is the author of Defriended

You may follow her on Twitter at @ruthiebaron