Books Authors Read with Priya Krishna

Unsurprisingly, I read a lot of books about food. But I also love memoirs. And children’s books. And, strangely enough, accessible tomes on international politics.

On the Noodle Road by Jen Lin-Liu 

I love carbohydrates in all forms, and this is a book of back-to-back vivid descriptions of said carbohydrates in many varied, delicious forms. This book is about one woman’s journey through China, Central Asia and Italy to learn the origins of the noodle. However, by the end of the book, I didn’t really care where the noodle came from. I just wanted to eat noodles. The book is entertaining and accessible, and Jen Lin-Liu elevates these humble noodle dishes from all across the world with her really rich sense of storytelling. Expect to eat a bowl of noodles after every reading session.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is awkward and cool and rocks at Scrabble. Even more than her really profound analyses of feminist representations in media and entertainment, my favorite parts of this book are when she trash talks her Scrabble competitors. I hope one day to meet Roxane Gay over Scrabble and discuss her thoughts on feminist representations in Disney Channel Original Movies.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

One of New Year’s resolutions was to identify people that inspired me and email them to talk about how they became the awesome people that they are. I don’t have Amy Poehler’s email address, so instead I treat Yes, Please as an elaborate and long conversation I had with Amy Poehler over tea. She’s a fiercely-smart writer who wants to do everything and sacrifice nothing and she’s killing it. I love reading about her children, her work life, and her awkward teen years. #LongLiveLeslieKnope

World Out of Balance by Stephen G Brooks and William Curti Wohlforth

I did debate in high school, majored in government in college, and I often find international politics EQUALLY as interesting as food. In fact, my original career plans included joining the foreign service and authoring several papers on world politics.  I have read this book maybe 20 times. It was co-written by my college major advisor, who is one of the most brilliant minds in international relations and had killer braces when I first took one of his classes. If you want to read an accessible book about government that won’t bore you to tears and also be able speak intelligently about the United States’ place in the international system, World Out of Balance is a winner. I have kept my edition of the book since high school.

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

I LOVE CHILDREN’S BOOKS. Like children’s movies, the plot is always so seemingly straightforward yet rife with meaning. This is a book about a really, really cute kid who loves to hug everything—mailboxes, cars, animals—he even has a checklist. It is about the simple things in life that make all the difference, and it is also about inclusivity! He hugs a porcupine! And a snake! And a hydrant! Have you bought this book yet?!?

Priya Krishna is the author of the cookbook Ultimate Dining Hall Hack.

You may visit her online or follow her on Twitter @PKgourmet.

Peace, Love & Sixties Rock Posters from Family Dog Productions (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)


Half Price Books recently acquired a rare collection of posters that were produced by Family Dog Productions for San Francisco and Denver rock concerts in the late sixties. Most are first issues, all in exceptional condition.

During this year of Grateful Dead’s half-century-mark celebrations, these psychedelic concert posters will take any old hippie back almost fifty years ago when they were used to promote the shows that started it all. Imagine having been there in San Francisco, watching this upstart outfit, The Dead, come on and do their musical thing following trippy opening act Quicksilver Messenger Service. For those many who were not in San Francisco in the ‘60s or were not yet inhabitants of Planet Earth—or for those who were there but don’t remember being there—the iconic posters from those shows will evoke the mood of the time. You can hang up an Avalon Ballroom concert poster of, say, The Doors, and stare at it while you play their Strange DaysLP, and bring it all back. Pretty groovy!

Continue reading

What Happens to all those Books?

Recently, a photo was posted on our Half Price Books Facebook page from a customer expressing concern over a number of books placed in a recycling container outside our Half Price Books store in Appleton, WI. We respect and value our customers and would like to address this concern by providing more information on the lifecycle of the books, music and movies that come through our stores, as well as how we are committed to helping our communities and the environment.

Half Price Books buys thousands of books, music and movies in our stores from customers on a daily basis. We also receive shipments of new bestsellers and other merchandise coming through the doors each day. Add all this to the fact that our stores have a limited amount of space on the sales floor and in the backroom.

As a convenience to our customers, we accept all the items they bring in to sell and we try to make the best use of them. A number of the books sold back to us are former bestsellers that were produced at a high volume and, as these books age, sometimes supply outweighs demand. There is often an excess of these items in our stores and on our shelves.

We know that there are countless charitable organizations that can use this excess inventory. That’s why in 2012, we started our Million Book Donation Project, through which we have donated at least one million books each year to worthwhile causes, classrooms, libraries and more. Each of our 120+ stores nationwide makes donating books a priority. As mentioned in a related news article, our Appleton store recently donated more than 1,500 books to the Appleton Public Library to help expand their Reach Out and Read program. But because we have a limited staff who is dedicated to in-store operations most of the day, we cannot make these donations happen without you. Volunteers seeking donations must make the request and be able to arrange for pick-up in order for us to put the most books in the hands of those in need. In some cases, the books we receive are simply too outdated or worn to be resold or even donated. These include but are not limited to things like maps, atlases, technology books and sometimes textbooks. Other books are torn, missing pages, too dirty, have broken spines or have simply been in an unfit environment before they make their way to us. We have seen many books that outwardly look to be in good condition, but upon further investigation have water damage, bugs, or other unhygienic issues. 

Being kind to the environment has always been an important part of our business philosophy. To this day, we encourage our employees, business partners, suppliers and customers to work together to continuously find innovative ways to foster the efficient use of natural resources. Recycling resources are part of our daily business, and this extends beyond the items we sell. At Half Price Books, we have always believed that “Books should fill our lives, not our land.”

We thank you for your genuine concern and we are glad that customers are talking about this subject. It raises the issue of the tremendous amount of books sold to us in each store daily and the number of donation requests in the Appleton area as well as nationwide. If you know of a nonprofit organization or school in your area in need of books, we encourage you to submit a Donation Request Form online.

Class of 2016: Best School-Themed TV Shows

It’s officially the time of year which parents love, children dread and teachers…nervously anticipate. That’s right—it’s back-to-school season. Whether you’re rushing to buy the perfect protractor or you’re soaking up every last moment of glorious summer freedom, like it or not, in the next few weeks, life is going to change. Here at HPB HQ, back to school gets us thinking of all the great schools we’ve seen on screens big and small over the years. While we’ve covered school days in film on one occasion or another, I thought it would be worth looking at some of the best TV series set in the world of education. It’s hard to rank them all, so instead I went with the classic “superlative” approach. Enjoy!

Most Likely to Star on Broadway: Glee

The students of William McKinley High School went through a lot in 6 seasons with a smile on their face and a song in their hearts. Say what you want about this show’s rocky run, but I’ll never forget when I heard the New Directions take on Don’t Stop Believin’ for the first time.

Continue reading

Hey, Mr. President, read these books next!

ABC News reported yesterday that President Obama has packed an armful of books for a two-week vacation with his family in Martha’s Vineyard. Here are the six books he selected!


There are some great choices on his summer reading list, including award-winning fiction and non-fiction but what happens when any booklover finishes the last book on the TBR list? You ask, “What should I read next?” We’ve got the answer. If you enjoyed these selections, here’s a list of HPB Staff Picks to get you started on your next book.

Continue reading

17 Movies That Make You Laugh and Cry!

I recently saw the newest Pixar hit Inside Out (2015), a journey through the mind of an 11-year-old girl and her emotions. Like so many other Pixar films, it touched upon basic human emotions about changes in life. And it does so literally in this one, because the main characters are named Joy and Sadness. But it got me thinking about some other fun films on DVD which are equally heart-warming. It takes some great storytelling to balance an array of emotions in one film.

Sometimes you desperately need to laugh out loud. And sometimes a good cry does you some good, too. Rounded up by my officemates and me, here is a collection of 17 loveable movies that have been known to illicit both laughter and tears before the credits roll. I won’t name names because some of the guys in the office were reluctant to confess – “I might have cried or whatever.”

Get your tissue box in reach and prepare to laugh.

1. Steel Magnolias (1989). The plot largely takes place in Truvy’s (Dolly Parton) Beauty Parlor. It’s the story of a close knit group of people whose lives come together there. As you get to know the people at Truvy’s, their stories will make you laugh, and they will make you cry. Shelby Eatenton (Julia Roberts) is a diabetic young lady who becomes pregnant, against the advice of her physician. The pregnancy endangers her health. Her mother, M’Lynn (Sally Field) shares her concerns with her close friends. [SPOILER ALERT] This scene will make your heart ache along with M’Lynn as she express the anger she feels from losing her daughter.

Continue reading

10 Reasons Books Make Better Companions than People

I live in a one-bedroom apartment and currently have six bookcases.  My main motivation for moving next year is that I have nowhere else to put another bookcase, and I’m running out of room.


I have three books in my car at various stages of completion.  I walk down the hall to my office with my head stuck in a book (which bothers the legal department to no end, and they are constantly asking me to be careful).  Needless to say, Booklovers’ Day is a holiday I can get behind.  To celebrate Booklovers’ Day, which is August 9, I’ve decided to share ten reasons why books make better companions than people.

1. Books never judge you.  You can read them in sweatpants, without makeup, in a dirty apartment, eating peanut butter straight out of the jar, and they don’t care. Your mother, however, would be mortified.

2. Books don’t mind if you throw them across the room when you get mad at them.  If you throw people across the room, the police tend to be called and charges tend to be pressed.  It gets very awkward.


Continue reading