Local Store Events Round-Up: November 2015


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$5 Bonus with $25 Gift Card
Now is the time to grab a gift card for the booklover in your life – plus one for yourself! Load up an HPB Gift Card today with $25 or more and get a $5 bonus! Use your bonus card in January 2016 and save $5 at your favorite HPB store. This bonus offer is valid on gift cards purchased in stores and online now through Thursday, December 24, 2015. Buy a gift card online and get free standard shipping. Sorry, but HPB Gift Cards, coupons and other discounts cannot be used online at HPB Marketplace nor at Half Price Books Outlet locations. Got questions about gift cards? Check out our FAQs or contact our Gift Card Customer Service.

Coupons to save up to 50% off one item!
Attention: HPB Mailing List subscribers! Check your mailboxes and inboxes for fantastic coupons good at all HPB locations this week only. If you’re not on the HPB Mailing List, it’s not too late to get in on these 7 Days of Savings! Subscribe to the HPB Email List today online and get your own store coupons to use at any Half Price Books retail location. Coupons not valid online or at Half Price Books Outlet. See coupon for offer and redemption details.

Booksgiving Day
Join us at your local HPB on Booksgiving Day, Saturday, November 21 at 1 p.m. for a special storytime. Every child who attends will receive a FREE book to take home.* Let’s work together to give the gift of reading to every child in every home. Part of the Half Price Books Million Book Donation Project. *Limit one preselected book per child while supplies last.


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Books that Go Bump in the Night: The Spookiest Reads for Kids and Young Readers

I have a confession to make…I don’t like being scared. Not one bit. Save the haunted houses and horror movies for those who are content with voluntarily taking years off their life—I’ll pass! As we go into Halloween week and ghouls and goblins worldwide prepare for the perfect scare this Saturday, I thought I’d look at a topic that’s a bit more my speed: spooky children’s books. Even as a bit of a scaredy-cat, one of the best parts of being a kid on Halloween (besides the candy, of course) was hearing and reading all of the creepy stories. I may be hiding under the bed before this is all over, but here goes nothing…

bunnyThe Bunnicula Series by James Howe—Think Homeward Bound meets Dracula meets…Veggietales? This lovable children’s series stars Harold the Dog, Chester the Cat and Howie the Dachshund puppy (yes!), along with their family, the Monroes, not to mention the titular character, the curiously-silent, vampire-fanged rabbit Bunnicula. Whimsical, adventuresome and just the right amount of sinister; the Bunnicula series is one of my all-time favorites.

gooseThe Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine—Currently adapted into a major motion picture, Goosebumps are a classic series dating back all the way to 1992. What’s great about Goosebumps is that they are perfectly creepy and dark without resorting to violence and death. The covers alone were often enough to raise hair on the back of my neck! My personal favorites? Say Cheese and Die! and Night of the Living Dummy.

ScaryStoriesGammellThe Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Series by Alvin Schwartz—I challenge you to find someone who grew up in the last 30 years who was not terrified by these books! Adapting popular urban legends and folklore, Schwartz’s collection of short stories begs to be read out loud, in a dark room, with only flashlights in the midst of a powerful storm. To this day, just thinking about The Hook makes me not want to drive at night!

wildWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak—An interesting choice, some would say, in that Sendak’s work isn’t traditionally “scary.” That said, the brilliance of Where the Wild Things Are is in the imagination. As young Max escapes to an island filled with “Wild Things,” the reader is transported to a world full of adventure and fear of the unknown. Beautiful illustrations bring this classic to life, which was adapted into a motion picture in 2009.

childrenThe Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series by Ransom Riggs—First, let me say that this series is one children should grow into. It’s best for teen/YA readers. Nonetheless, with its unique mix of vintage photographs and narrative, the Miss Peregrine’s series is imaginative and sufficiently creepy, even too creepy for some of my coworkers! The 3rd installment, Library of Souls, was just released this fall and is available in HPB stores nationwide.

Alright, suffice it to say, I’m now sufficiently scared! How about you? What spine-tingling reads kept you up at night as a child?

Jason is the Email Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

5 Book and Beer Pairings to Try this Weekend

Books & Beer

It’s pretty straightforward. One book. One beer. One photo. People seem to like it because often good books go well with good beer. Sometimes, you’ll land on a real stinker book- or beer-wise. The following selections are not those times, though. These pairings are the real deal, the 1 percent, the extra fry in the bottom of a bag. Happy reading and happy drinking.


Book: The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories by Simon Rich
Beer: Mai Bock by Atwater Brewery
I want to be Simon Rich when I grow up. Nevermind the fact that he’s 10 years younger than me and looks like he’s 14 years old. The Last Girlfriend on Earth is full of funny stories about the absurdity of relationships and love. Your standard romantic characters, such as Cupid and condoms appear, but you’ll be more intrigued (taken aback?) by other subjects, such as Hitler falling in love and moving to Prospect Heights in contemporary New York. The stories are the basis for the TV show Man Seeking Woman, and Rich is just one genius grant away from taking over the world with his humorous outlook on life. Pair this book with Mai Bock by Detroit’s Atwater Brewery, because, like most relationships, it starts off sweet and smooth but ends with a bitter aftertaste.

tumblr_n3oucibGJd1r7j3coo1_1280Book: The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature by Ben Tarnoff
Beer: Ginger Barrel Aged Ale Brrrbon ‘13 by Widmer Brothers Brewing
The Bohemians by Ben Tarnoff made me want to move to San Francisco (again). His descriptions and stories about Mark Twain and the burgeoning literary scene in that scandalous City by the Bay in the 19th century inflamed a want in me to be a part of something exploding with creativity. Tarnoff explains how Twain’s San Francisco time influenced his writing. Tarnoff also includes other San Francisco literary heroes, such as Bret Harte, Charles Warren Stoddard and Ina Coolbrith. The rivalry between Twain and Harte is particularly engaging and supports the theory that often great art is created via feuds. Pair this book with Widmer Brothers Brewing’s Ginger Barrel Aged Ale Brrrbon ‘13, because, like San Francisco, it balances frou-frou (ginger) with working class (bourbon).

Book: The Last Cowboy: A Life of Tom Landry by Mark Ribowsky
Beer: Prickly Pear by Shiner
I’ve been a Dallas Cowboys fan since birth, and I continue to be no matter how many criminals they sign. Growing up, I fondly remember Tom Landry’s famous hat framing his stoicism. His demeanor caused more questions than answers much of the time, so when I came across The Last Cowboy: A Life of Tom Landry, I immediately read it. Plus, I love biographies and living in the past. Readers will learn more than they ever thought they wanted to know about Landry and the Cowboys in this hefty (720 pages!) book. For example, I learned that Cowboys fans from day one have never been that vocal during games. So now when I hear people complaining about the low energy of fans at games, I know it’s just part of the organization’s DNA. Pair this book with Shiner’s Prickly Pear, because 1) it’s a beer brewed in Texas and you’re reading about a Texas football team, and 2) Landry could be prickly person on more than one occasion.

Book: Trying Not to Try: Ancient China, Modern Science, and the Power of Spontaneity by Edward Slingerland
Beer: Twilight Summer Ale by Deschutes Brewery
Practically every child since 1977 has wanted to use the Force in their everyday lives. While most think it’s a movie fantasy, its origin is found in the Eastern philosophy of wu-wei, which translates to “no trying” or “no doing.” Edward Slingerland is an expert in Asian studies and he effortlessly guides readers through hundreds of years of Chinese philosophy and contemporary brain science to help us understand what it’s like to be “in the flow” and how that makes us happy. Sadly, though, I’m still unable to lift an X-wing Fighter out of a swamp after reading the book. Pair this one with Twilight Summer Ale because twilight is the perfect time between light and dark, doing and not doing.

Book: Spinning Into Butter by Rebecca Gilman
Beer: Saint Dymphna by Lakewood Brewing Co.
I don’t think enough people read plays for pleasure. Just because a play isn’t being performed doesn’t mean you can’t read it. Go on, I dare you. In fact, start with Spinning Into Butter. The story is set at a small college that is investigating racist messages left for one of its students. The topic is timely, but the end result isn’t tidy. As any great play does, the questions raised aren’t easily answered. So, pair this play with Saint Dymphna as you discuss the story with your friends. The beer’s flavor is complex, much like the play.

— Jason Hensel is the creator of the Tumblr site titled, Book and Beer.

Tolkien’s The Return of the King Turns 60 (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

October 20 is the 60th anniversary of the first publication of The Return of the King, which closed out the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkien. We’ve bought and sold countless copies of the books over the years, from pocket paperbacks to fine leather-bound editions.

But when a set appeared at our Mentor, Ohio, store with author Tolkien’s signature in each volume, the store’s manager was a bit awestruck. “The condition was not great,” she said, “but the appearance of signed Tolkien items is so rare that the item’s value is immense.”


The Lord of the Rings, three-volume set in slipcase: The Fellowship of the Ring, 1965, second edition, sixth printing; The Two Towers, 1965, second edition, fifth printing; The Return of the King, 1965, second edition, fifth printing. All volumes published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston. Volume one inscribed by the author; volumes two and three signed.

The store bought it from a woman who inherited it from her grandfather. It is a second American edition; all three books are signed, and the first volume has an inscription—a true rarity. The inscription reads, “Allen, 4000 m is a long way to travel for my dubious company. J.R.R. Tolkien.” It is dated December 15, 1966.

signature 1stTolkien’s three-volume epic has been tremendously influential since its initial publication. Its popularity helped make fantasy fiction a major genre, and led to radio and television shows, role-playing game characters, and, of course, blockbuster movies. The trilogy was #4 in Modern Library’s readers’ poll of the 100 Best Novels published in English since 1900.

The condition of the books is Good, with some flaws to the books’ dust jackets, but Tolkien’s signature—three times!—is very special. Few American editions were signed, and Tolkien very rarely wrote anything other than his name. Because this boxed set includes signatures on all three books, plus a personalized inscription on the first volume, the store’s price on the set is $20,000.

full page signature 2nd aIf you’re interested in buying this rarest of rare collectibles, or just finding out more about it, visit HPB.com/buyguy and contact me, the HPB Buy Guy.

Rarely-Known Trivia

The King’s Elvish—Tolkien invented a language, Elvish, that appears in The Return of the King and other Middle-Earth volumes. If you’d like to learn Elvish, you might check out Jim Allan’s 1978 book An Introduction to Elvish.

Hobbits’ Petite Feet. Many erroneously think hobbits have oversized feet because of the popular Lord of the Rings illustrations done by the Brothers Hildebrandt in the ‘70s. Hobbits do have pointed ears.

NASA’s New Horizons space probe mission hopes to name some features of Pluto and its moons after Tolkien characters.

Not Your Ordinary Dictionary

National Dictionary Day honors Noah Webster, Father of the American Dictionary, who was born on October 16, 1758. In appreciation of Mr. Webster’s work, we present a few that make nice choices, if you’re looking for a dictionary that’s out-of-the ordinary, contrary—maybe even scary.

20151014_101623A Dictionary of the Underworld, British and American by Eric Partridge
The lengthy sub-title to this entertaining volume by word expert Partridge is: “Convicts, Racketeers, Criminals, Crooks, Beggars, Tramps, Commercial Underworld, White Slave Traffic, Drug Traffic, Spivs.” That would appear to about cover the underworld, but I’m no expert. (By the way, a spiv is a “petty crook who will turn his hand to anything so long as it does not involve honest work.” I think I am acquainted with a spiv or two.)
Drop any of these underworldly references to shock and impress your goody-goody friends:

  • Rum mizzler—“a fellow who is clever in making his escape”
  • Belly-robber—“a prison officer working in the kitchen”
  • Dead lurker—“one who steals coats and umbrellas from passages on Sunday afternoons”

DictionaryOfAnagramsThe Dictionary of Anagrams by Samuel C. Hunter
An anagram is a word, phrase or sentence that, when it’s scrambled, comprises the same letters as a different word, phrase, or sentence. I like this dictionary because when I doodle during important meetings I often make anagrams of the words in my notes. I also like it because there’s an anagram of its title and author used as the front cover blurb: “Racy tome used in broaching many a hard test (anag.).” OK, it’s a stretch, but it was a nice idea.
The dictionary features one-word anagrams, from five-letter words to thirteen-letter words. (Sadly, these days one can just use an online anagram finder to get an instant list, but where’s the fun in that?)
Impressive—but not permissive—anagrams from the book:

  • In the word earthling you can find haltering, heartling, and lathering.
  • Out of despair you may, of course, get diapers, but also praised and aspired.
  • And who’da thought that a scrambled Australian gets saturnalia?

20151014_101545Surfin’ary: A Dictionary of Surfing Terms and Surfspeak compiled by Trevor Cralle
Even if you live a thousand miles from any beach and are a hopeless ho-dad (a surfer wannabe) or gremmie (“an objectionable nonsurfer who hangs around with surfers and tries to act like them”), this book could come in handy.
Surfin’ words ‘n’ phrases that’ll get you in with the amped-and-stoked crowd, dude:

  • Take gas—“to have trouble, especially the kind that leads to a wipeout”
  • Geeklified—“behaving poorly at the beach”
  • Yummy yellow—“a shark’s favorite color of wetsuit”

20151014_1015061811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue: A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence
My 1971 paperback edition of this book is unabridged from the original edition published 160 years before. It’s handy for finding out the long-ago origins of those words you may use when you stub your toe, but it also is a cornucopia of words that once may have offended and embarrassed but now may just amuse or confuse.
Fun words and phrases to find some way to work into conversation:

  • Lathy wench (a girl almost as slender as a lath): “Say, you’re a lathy wench. Come here often?”
  • Wrapt up in warm flannel (drunk with spirituous liquors): “I missed the PTA meeting because I was wrapt up in warm flannel—if you know what I mean.”
  • Booty (cheating play, where the player avoids winning): “Now, when we’re playing crazy eights, don’t try any of that booty stuff.”

Edgar Allan Poe Scary & Rare, So Handle with Care (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)


Halloween’s coming soon, and book collectors may be stocking up their libraries of Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Ray Bradbury books. Our stores do see first editions, sometimes signed, by these masters of the macabre, but it isn’t often that we see a 100-plus-year-old edition from the Father of Fright himself, Edgar Allan Poe.

But one such ten-volume set did find its way to one of our stores in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:


The Works of Edgar Allan Poe
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1902

10-volume, leather-bound Tamerlane Edition, limited to 300 sets, of which this is #19. Volume 5 has been expertly repaired. All other volumes are in Very Good condition. Illustrations and woodcuts are stunning, on Ruisdael handmade paper.

Rarely-Known Trivia

Poetry from beyond the grave—Poet and medium Lizzie Doten claimed that some of the poems that appeared in her 1863 book Poems of the Inner Life were “received” from the ghost of Poe, who died in 1849.

Favorite Son—Several cities want to claim Poe, including Boston, where he was born, and Baltimore (home of The Ravens), where he died, and Philadelphia and Richmond, where he spent some time in between.

Tamerlane Illustrator—This edition of Poe’s works was illustrated by Canadian artist Frederick Simpson Coburn, who in 1933 at the age of 62 stopped painting because of his wife’s death. But then he met a dancer and painted her dancing for the next 27 years—and learned to dance.

If you’re interested in buying this rarest of rare collectible, visit HPB.com/buyguy and contact me, the HPB Buy Guy.

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Think Outside the Apple: 5 Great Gifts to Thank an Educator

Today through Monday, Half Price Books is celebrating our annual Educator Appreciation Weekend. We show our thanks to teachers, librarians and other educators nationwide by offering 20% off anything in the store all weekend long with proof of educator status. Plus, teachers can sign up for the Educator Discount Card, which offers educators 10% off their purchase year-round.

Having teachers on the brain got me thinking about all the great teachers I had over the years growing up (including my own father!). Educators are some of the hardest-working professionals around, and I bet each one of you can name at least one man or woman who made an impact on your life within the classroom, even if you didn’t realize it at that time. It can be difficult to truly thank these mentors, but sometimes the smallest gesture can say the most.

The National PTA’s “Teacher Appreciation Week” is at the end of the school year, but why wait until then to show your gratitude? I’ve rounded up some great gift ideas to brighten your favorite teacher’s day, none of which have an expiration date.

1. Quirky Mugs — Coffee is a must for any educator, and a mug is a fun way for them to show some personality. HPB has mugs galore! Pictured here are two of my favorites: an equations mug that’s perfect for math teachers, as well as a mug featuring the greatest first lines of literature ever, which your English professor or librarian is sure to love. Be sure to check out our line of “Booklovers’ Mugs” as well, which features covers of various classic novels.


2. Stationery/Planner — Okay, so maybe this isn’t the most exciting gift, but you might be surprised at how much your teacher appreciates it! Beautiful stationery or a highly-functional planner is something a teacher is sure to use, and limited budgets sometimes make these kinds of items outside their reach. Your local HPB has a wealth of stationery, journals, planners and calendars.


3. Fan-Based Merchandise — Classrooms are where teachers express their passions. Look around your teacher’s room and see what makes them tick. You might find that they have a favorite team, show, movie, etc. HPB has tons of fan merchandise, from Doctor Who to DC Superheroes, which teachers can use to decorate their classroom walls, bookshelves or desks.


4. Adult Coloring Books — One of the most interesting book trends as of late has been the growing popularity of coloring books for adults. Teachers are often a crafty or artistic bunch, plus they can sometimes be a bit stressed, so this is a thoughtful way to express creativity and relieve tension. The coloring books and colored pencils pictured here are available in HPB stores nationwide.


5. Half Price Books Gift Card — Most educators love books, and we happen to have lots of those! Plus we have movies, music, gifts and more, of course. If you’re not sure what to get your favorite teacher, go with a gift card to a great store (ok, so I’m a little biased!). You can buy an HPB gift card in any of our stores as well as online!


Always remember to thank your teachers and other educators for the work they do. Plus, spread the word about HPB’s Educator Appreciation Weekend, which starts today, October 8th! Find more details on our website.

Jason is the Email Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Hats Off to Mad Hatter’s Day!

Mad Hatter's Day

October 6 is Mad Hatter’s Day, which is a day set aside to celebrate silliness, as well as a good excuse to act silly (as if we needed an excuse!). So, I thought it would be fun to look into some of the silliness related to the Mad Hatter. Everyone knows the Hatter is one of the beloved but silly characters from Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s book Alice in Wonderland. However, in the book, the word “mad” is never used as part of the the Hatter’s name. So, why do we all know the Hatter as the Mad Hatter? Is it simply because the Cheshire Cat calls both the Hatter and the March Hare mad? Is it because the title of the chapter he appears in is “The Mad Tea Party?” Or is there a deeper meaning?

Etymology of the Phrase “Mad as a Hatter”
In the 19th century, mercury was used in manufacturing hats. Mercury poisoning is known to affect the nervous system, causing people to tremble in a way that is similar to Parkinson’s disease. Mercury exposure can also cause aggressiveness, mood swings and anti-social behavior. So when people say “mad as a hatter,” they might have originally meant simply mad or angry. However, the earliest printed citation of the phrase “mad as a hatter” is from Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine January-June 1829, which defined the phrase as being raving mad or insane. This definition could have been due to the trembling fits the mercury poisoning caused, making people think that the afflicted was actually insane, especially if you pair that with strange mood swings, withdrawal from society.

Inspiration for the Hatter
Along with the story from Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, featuring  conversations between characters who wouldn’t have been out of place in Carroll’s Wonderland, as well as the the unusual behavior of hatters, the inspiration of Carroll’s Hatter may have come from Oxford cabinet maker and furniture dealer Theophilus Carter, who had a reputation for eccentric behavior. Carter was a bit of an inventor (kind of like the White Knight in Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass) who created the alarm-clock bed, which woke up its inhabitant by tipping the bed over. Carter also wore a top hat every day, standing outside his shop, where Carroll would have seen him while he was at Oxford.

The Never Ending Tea Party
When Alice meets the Hatter the March Hare and the Dormouse, they are crowded around the corner of a large table set for tea. When Alice sits down, they all cry “No room!” Later, you find out the reason there is no room is that Time is “mad” at the Hatter. After the Queen of Hearts accused the Hatter of “murdering time” during a concert she was giving, Time became offended and ever since then “it’s always six o’clock.” So, since they have no time to wash things between teas, they merely move to the next spot. If you are looking for some recipes for your own Mad Hatter Tea Party, check out our Clearwater HPB in Indianapolis (link to store page) that has a copy of The Alice in Wonderland Cookbook: A Culinary Diversion, by John Fisher, published in 1976.

The Hatter’s Hat
Whenever you see a portrayal of the Hatter in Carroll’s book, he always has a “10/6” label on his hat. The label advertises the price of the hat as being 10 shillings and a sixpence. As Hatter explains to the King of Hearts, the hat isn’t his. He keeps them to sell and has no hats of his own.

The Riddle
The famous riddle that the Hatter asks at his infamous tea party is “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” This riddle is never answered in the book, and some have said there is no answer to the riddle. However, Carroll did write an answer, it’s just not in the book. The answer is “Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat, and it is never put with the wrong end in front.”

So this Mad Hatter’s Day, celebrate silliness. Take up the biggest table in the restaurant and cry “No room!” whenever someone tries to sit down, or better yet, periodically stand up and move to the next spot while you are having your meal. Wear a hat with a price tag on it and see how many offers for purchase you can get. Tip people out of bed. Have a crazy tea party. Tell riddles. Have fun. And remember to drink lots of tea.

November 26 marks the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland’s publication. To celebrate, we have made Carroll’s classic children’s tale our current HPB Book Club book. If you would like to chat with fellow HPB Book Clubbers, visit hpb.com/bookclub/fb and join the conversation about Alice in Wonderland between now and the end of November.

Book vs. Movie: The Martian

TheMartianBookIf you are part of the HPB Book Club, you have been reading Andy Weir’s bestselling science-fiction novel, The Martian.  The movie based on this book will be released on October 2. After reading the book, I spoke with our resident movie expert, who we call “The Singing Hotdog,” about how he thought the new movie was going to measure up to the book.

The Martian Movie Trailer

Me: The book, The Martian, is a bit like Cast Away on Mars. Most of it, especially in the beginning is just Mark Watney recording how he got stranded on Mars and what he is doing to try and stay alive.  Do you think Matt Damon will be able to carry this movie like Tom Hanks carried Cast Away?

The Singing Hotdog: Absolutely Matt Damon will be able to pull off the role of Mark Watney.  I think that director Ridley Scott is finally the director to take advantage of Matt Damon’s sense of humor. You see a little bit of this come through in the theatrical trailer when he proclaims to be “the best botanist on the planet.” Most people forget that Matt Damon is not just Jason Bourne. He has played some very complex characters like Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley. If the film is well received Matt Damon could be vaulted into the best actor category at the Oscars but I also believe this category is going to be very tough to break into with Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Eddie Redmayne looking like locks already. We will see what happens.

Me: Good to know about Damon’s sense of humor.  Mark Watney’s sense of humor is one of the best things about the book, and will be an important part of the movie.

The book has a lot of action, which is right up Ridley Scott’s alley if you ask me, but most of the action is Mark versus nature.  What kind of special effects do you think we should expect in this movie?

The Singing Hotdog: As far as the special effects go, of course, they will be top notch and eye-popping.  But often the best special-effects are the ones that are in support of a good story. Ridley Scott has done this again with The Martian. Just as Alien and Blade Runner are special-effects masterpieces, they are also both very powerful stories and very well written.

Me: In your opinion, will this movie be an Oscar contender for Best Picture?

The Singing Hotdog: It is getting harder to predict Oscars especially in the beginning of October with so many films yet to come out. If the film really takes off like I think it will, you can probably expect Best Picture, Best Director and maybe Actor nominations coming. On the other hand if it just does average at the box office it could be last years Interstellar that everyone predicted to be a best picture nominees and it barely scratched the surface winning Special Effects.

Me: One last question: In the book, Mark is stranded on Mars with everything left behind when his crew has to bug out, including their person effects. In order to assess his assets and also to pass the time, Mark rummages through their effects and finds things like disco music, and 70s TV shows. If you were going on a mission to Mars, what would someone find if they looked through your personal effects?

The Singing Hotdog: If Mark Watney were to rummage through the personal effects I left behind he would probably find a couple of blank moleskin journals and a few fine point sharpie markers used for sketching. I would also probably have a few of my favorite movies on DVD (what my favorites are could be a whole story in itself) and a picture of my dog, Kelsey.

Me: Thanks for giving us your insights.  I’m looking forward to seeing this book on the big screen.  (One of your movies would be Titanic, wouldn’t it?)

The Singing Hotdog smiles at me but says nothing.

The movie version of Andy Weir’s The Martian will be in theaters this Friday.  Check it out, and let us know how you think the movie compares to the book.  Also, just for the fun of it: what personal effects would you bring to a mission on Mars?

Local Store Events Round-Up: October 2015


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All Stores

Educator Appreciation Weekend
Teachers and librarians save 20% on everything in store during Educator Appreciation Weekend from Thursday, October 8 through Monday, October 12 at all Half Price Books locations. While you’re in the store, renew your Educator Discount Card and continue to save 10% all year round. No matter what you buy – stocking up for your classroom or getting something for yourself – you’ll save on your entire purchase. If you don’t have an Educator Discount Card, apply for one today in store or online. It’s simple to apply and easy to save. And remember, your P.O. money goes twice as far at Half Price Books, where almost everything is half price or less every day.


Phoenix – Camelback 

First Sunday Storytime
Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Camelback HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 1 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month. All young readers and listeners are welcome!

Phoenix – Paradise Valley 

Christopher Vince Gonzales Book Signing
Meet local author Christopher Vince Gonzales at your Paradise Valley HPB on Saturday, October 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. Chris will sell and sign his memoir Wake Up: Poverty Inspires Me. Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.


Citrus Heights

5th Annual Chili Cook Off
Look for the HPB booth at the 5th Annual Chili Cook-Off this Saturday, October 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lowe’s parking lot on Sunrise Blvd. We’ll have coupons and free tote bags while supplies last. And, don’t forget to check out our new store in Citrus Town Center. The Cook-Off is sponsored by the Citrus Heights Women’s Club, with proceeds benefiting Children’s Christmas for Domestic Violence Prevention Centers. Click here for more details.


S.K. Kalsi Discussion and Book Signing
Meet Northern California author S.K. Kali on Saturday, October 24, from 2 to 4 p.m. at your Concord HPB. Mr. Kalsi will read and discuss his debut novel The Stove-Junker. Books will be sold independently by the author while supplies last.

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