Books Can Take You Places: Seattle

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to Paris, France, San Francisco, California, with a detour to New Orleans, Louisiana then back across the pond to Rome, Italy. We’ve even been to  Chicago, Illinois, Tokyo, Japan and made a pit stop in Atlanta, Georgia. This month let’s explore all that Seattle, Washington has to offer.

SeattleNothing’s better on a rainy day than hanging out in a coffee shop reading, and Seattle has plenty of rain and coffee shops. Maybe that’s why it’s always near the top in rankings of America’s most literate cities. Lots of writers live in the area, from Tom Robbins to Erik Larsen and Maria Semple. Seattle’s music history includes Jimi Hendrix, who was born here, and Quincy Jones, who spent his teen years here, but it is best known for 90s alternative bands like Nirvana.

I visited Seattle for the first time last year and it was amazing! Of course, it rained but that didn’t stop me from checking out all the city had to offer. I saw the entire city from the top of the Space Needle. (Although I REALLY wanted to see the snow cap of Mount Rainer but it was too cloudy.) I also got to walk through Pike Place, which was bustling with people and entertainment all around. To top everything off, we took a pit stop at Kerry Park at sunset, which was worth the drive…what a view!

kerry park


book The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein • music-note-21 Badmotorfinger, Soundgarden • book Black Hole, Charles Burns • book The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke music-note-21 Dirt, Alice in Chains • slate_film-512 The Fabulous Baker Boys slate_film-512 It Happened at the World’s Fair music-note-21 The Moon & Antarctica, Modest Mouse •  music-note-21 Nevermind, Nirvana • slate_film-512 The Parallax Viewslate_film-512 Say Anythingbook Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle, Murray Morgan • slate_film-512 Sleepless in Seattlebook Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson • music-note-21 Ten, Pearl Jam • book Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple


  • The Blue Moon is a legendary watering hole favored by Seattle writers like the poet Theodore Roethke, who celebrated winning the Pulitzer Prize there in 1953. The adjacent alley was named Roethke Mews in honor of Roethke, who taught nearby at the University of Washington.
  • Seattle-based record label Sub Pop, founded in 1988, helped popularize grunge music by being the first to sign area bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney.
  • In the early 1950s, Quincy Jones and Clint Eastwood were both music students at Seattle University.
  • Seattle’s EMP Museum, formerly known as the Experience Music Project, is a nonprofit museum devoted to popular culture, and is also home to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

If you don’t want to miss a stop on this journey, join the Half Price Books Booklovers Survey Club and we’ll send you an email each month with a new city alongside a quick survey. Plus, you’ll receive coupons to save throughout the year when you travel to your favorite Half Price Books.

Until next time!

Sam is Public Relations Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.


Feed Your Brain: High Schoolers get in on the Summer Reading fun, too!

The bell just rang to dismiss your final class for the year and you’re ALREADY looking for something to do? The Feed Your Brain HIGH SCHOOL Summer Reading Program is for you!

Why?… Because reading CAN ACTUALLY BE FUN! I bet most of you know this already, though, right?


All you have to do to get some Bookworm Bucks (a $5 coupon) is read a couple of titles just for fun, let us know about them and use your reading rewards at any Half Price Books location before the end of the summer.

Click here for details about the Feed Your Brain HS Summer Reading Program

We have a great list of recommendations, both new and classics for you this year. Pick one up at your favorite Half Price Books local store and GET READING now!



Doodle Adventures: The Search For The Slimy Space Slugs!
Author: Mike Lowery
Recommended for readers: 8-12 years
Published by Workman Publishing

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses sequel)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Recommended for readers: 14 years and up
Published by Bloomsbury USA

Queen of Hearts
Author: Colleen Oakes
Recommended for readers: 14 years and up
Published by HarperTeen

Theodore Boone: The Scandal
Author: John Grisham
Recommended for readers: 8-12 years
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers


Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Author: Anne Frank

The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho





5 Sci-Fi Films to Show a Little More Love

May 25th, 1977: Star Wars premieres in theaters and takes the world by storm.

May 25th, 1979: Alien premieres in theaters and terrifies audiences senseless.

This makes May 25th just about the coolest day of the year in my book. I thought about writing something about both films for this Memorial Day weekend. But you know what? They get enough love.

Don’t get me wrong. Star Wars and Alien are great – they’re classics for a reason. But they both have their own celebration days now, for goodness’ sake. They’re good. So let’s instead talk about a few sci-fi films that could use a little love. These movies are all from the 70s and 80s. Keep in mind, these films are all products of their time. Some moments may not have aged gracefully – and I don’t just mean their special effects. Still, they’re a fun time capsule of who we were and what we thought the future might look like.

If you’re looking for something new or different to watch this Memorial Day weekend, give one of these movies a chance.

Silent Running (1972)

In the future, all plant life on Earth is dead. A few vestiges of vegetation still exist far away from Earth, in biodomes being hauled through our solar system by commercial freighters. When the powers that be decide that keeping these biodomes is an unprofitable frivolity, the freighters are recalled back into commercial service. A crewmember on one of these ships, played by Bruce Dern, fakes the destruction of his ship and sets off into deep space alone, with only the companionship of three robots, hoping to preserve the last forests known to mankind. Continue reading

Books Can Take You Places (Off the Beaten Path): Atlanta

This year’s HPB calendar is full of recommendations for every booklover, audiophile and movie buff. Unfortunately, we could only feature 12 different cities in our 126fireworkscalendar, and there are so many more places with rich literary and musical heritages available for you to visit. Half Price Books is venturing into it’s 17th state and we’re excited to be opening our newest store in the Atlanta,Georgia area, so of course, we had to add it to our Books Can Take You Places series.

Atlanta is not only a beautiful place, but has also been the home of some great novelists, including Margaret Mitchell, Joel Chandler Harris and Flannery O’Connor as well as inspiration for several other novelists, screenwriters and composers.  If you are in the Atlanta area, we would like to invite you to come to the Great Opening of our East Cobb store on May 26. For those outside the area, here are a few ways to experience Atlanta without ever leaving home.


book Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (along with the its two sequels: Rhett Butler’s People, by Donald McCaig & Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley) • book Peachtree Road, by Anne Rivers Siddons • book Ace in the Hole, by George R.R. Martin • book The Hour of Dust and Ashes, by Kelly Gay • book Them: A Novel, by Nathan McCall• slate_film-512 Life as We Know Itslate_film-512 Beauty Shop slate_film-512 No Good Deedslate_film-512 Parental Guidanceslate_film-512 Wanderlustslate_film-512  Driving Miss Daisyslate_film-512  Drumline music-note-21 Love Shack, by the B-52s • music-note-21 Neon, Rooms for Squares by John Mayer • music-note-21Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, by OutKast • music-note-21  Hot ‘Lanta, At Filemore East by The Allman Brothers • music-note-21 Atlanta, No. 4 by Stone Temple Pilots

We wish the best of luck to the staff at our new East Cobb store, and look forward to coming to Decatur, GA late summer. Tell us what other cities you would like to see featured in our Books Can Take You Places: Off the Beaten Path.

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

What’s Your Story?: Rarest of Rare Collectibles

May 16 is National Biographer’s Day. I’ll bet you didn’t know that! We see a lot of biographies and memoirs come into HPB: life stories of the rich and famous, plus memoirs of the poor and infamous.

But it’s also wonderful to learn more about some of the offbeat, footnote characters in history, and I was delighted to hear about some life-story gems our stores have acquired lately. Continue reading

11 Random Places We’ve Been Caught Reading

What I am about to say is going to scare some people, but if you can’t be honest during Get Caught Reading Month…you’d better not get caught.  I read whenever I’m stopped in traffic.  The moment I pull up to a red light or a traffic jam, my book opens, and I’m transported to another world where traffic ceases to exist—at least momentarily.  My co-workers find it fascinating to watch as I pull into the parking lot, book in hand, park and then continue to read until I’ve reached a good stopping point.  They also comment whenever I walk down the hallway, my head buried in a book.  Honestly, it’s not hard for me to get caught reading, but luckily I work in the perfect place, with people who love to read just as much as I do.  Here are some of the crazy places our bibliomaniacs have been caught reading.

While waiting for take-out food.

waiting for food

At the movie theater before the previews begin.

movie Continue reading

The Best of Film Legend Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn was a movie star unlike any other, starring in 50 films across seven decades, earning herself 12 Oscar nominations and four wins. You can tell by her portrayal of characters on screen that she herself had a sort of fierceness about her – an undeniable spirit, spunk and wit, an eccentric charm and an air of defiance. She was talented and edgy, playing a range of genres from screwball comedies like Bringing Up Baby (1938) to powerful dramas like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). Katharine starred opposite some of the great leading men of the Hollywood’s Golden Age (1930s to 1960s), like Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and Jimmy Stewart. She pioneered a path of independence and opportunity for women in Hollywood. In 1991, she released her successful autobiography, simply entitled Me. When she died in 2003 at the age of 96, Katharine left some very large shoes to fill. Katharine remains a hallmark of classic Hollywood cinema.

In celebration of her film legacy (and just in time for the anniversary of her birth on May 12th), here is a must-watch list of Katharine’s finest appearances on the silver screen.

  1. Desk Set (1957)

Desk Set Continue reading

64 Coming-of-Age Books for the Ages


There’s just something about coming of age stories that I’ve always loved. They tend to be raw and honest, funny yet heartbreaking books. Everyone only “comes of age” once in their lifetime, so it’s fun to read others’ stories again and again. A couple of my personal favorites are Skippy Dies by Paul Murray and Winger by Andrew Smith.

We polled our booksellers across the country and below is a list of some of their favorites. What book would you add to this list?

  1. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
  2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  3. Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami
  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
  5. Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  7. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
  8. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
  9. The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides
  10. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card Continue reading

Experiencing Dead Wake: An Emergence into Nonfiction

If you are part of the HPB Book Club, you are currently reading, or perhaps just finished, Dead Wake by Erik Larson, which is the first nonfiction book we have chosen.  I am a fiction girl. In my experience, nonfiction books have always read like the boring textbooks I had to read in school, full of dry facts with nothing to activate the imagination.  Dead Wake has changed my opinion of nonfiction forever and left me longing to read more by Erik Larson. If you interested in hearing about the Lusitania, listen to Erik’s interview with THINK.

Perhaps, Larson’s book intrigued me because of the way Larson presents his information. He considers himself an “animator of history” as opposed to an historian.  He wants his writing to “create pictures in the minds of his readers,” just like they do in fiction.

If you enjoyed Dead Wake, here are a few other books by Erik Larson for you to check out:

So, what Erik Larson book will you read next?  I already have The Devil in the White City waiting on my bedside table, ready to be read.

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

Books Can Take You Places: Tokyo

EDITOR’S NOTE: Half Price Books encourages you to travel more in 2016. Not the kind of travel that involves airplanes, passports and hotels, but the easier, more affordable kind — where you open a great book and let it take you somewhere. Throughout 2016 we’ll share about the world’s great destinations, along with our recommendations for the books, movies and music that will help you get there.Tokyo

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to Paris, France, San Francisco, California, with a detour to New Orleans, Louisiana then back across the pond to Rome, Italy. Last month’s stop was Chicago, Illinois and now we’ve landed in Tokyo, Japan.

In Japan’s dizzying capital, skyscrapers rub shoulders with Buddhist temples, and high art mingles with low. These dichotomies fuel Tokyo’s literary scene, which benefited in recent centuries from increased exposure to Western ideas and forms. Haruki Murakami is Japan’s best known modern writer; his surreal novels have been translated into 50 languages. Japan’s quirky pop culture, including karaoke, manga and anime, is on vivid display in Tokyo—and increasingly around the world.


book After Dark, Haruki Murakami  slate_film-512 Akira  slate_film-512 Godzilla (1954) music-note-21 Japan: Traditional Vocal and Instrumental Music, Ensemble Nipponia music-note-21 Kazemachi Roman, Happy End book Kitchen, Banana Yoshimoto slate_film-512 Lost in Translation  book Number9dream, David Mitchell book Out, Natsuo Kirino book A Personal Matter, Kenzaburō Ōe music-note-21 Shakuhachi: The Japanese Flute, Konachiro Miyata music-note-21 Solid State Survivor, Yellow Magic Orchestra music-note-21 The Tokyo Blues, Horace Silver slate_film-512 Tokyo Olympiad  slate_film-512 Tokyo Story


  • Rokujigen is a book cafe on Tokyo’s west side that serves as a hub for information about writer Haruki Murakami and is a gathering place for his fans. The cafe’s name means “six dimensions” in Japanese, and the only sign visible from the street is a small painted numeral 6.
  • Two Japanese writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature: Yasunari Kawabata in 1968 and Kenzaburō Ōe in 1994.
  • Book Clock is a video installation by designer Masaaki Hiromura in which a hand flips through three books representing hours, minutes and seconds. It can be seen at the MUJI department store in Shibuya.
  • Anime fans can visit The Ghibli Museum operated by Studio Ghibli, makers of Spirited Away and other internationally-distributed films.

If you don’t want to miss a stop on this journey, join the Half Price Books Booklovers Survey Club and we’ll send you an email each month with a new city alongside a quick survey. Plus, you’ll receive coupons to save throughout the year when you travel to your favorite Half Price Books.

Until next time!