EDITOR’S NOTE: This year at HPB, we’re celebrating the random. Actually, we’ve been doing that every year since our founding in 1972. And we mean random in a totally good way, as in the random treasures you come across when you’re browsing our stores or website—and the wonderfully random stuff we buy from the public every day. In this series of posts, you’ll find books, movies and music collected in some very random ways. So here’s our list for April 2017!
These mammals (family: Leporidae, order: Lagomorpha) make their habitats in meadows, forests, grasslands, novels, fables, movies and even the surnames of bearded country singers. From Roger Rabbit to Eddie Rabbitt, HPB has all your furry favorites.
If you ask me what my favorite musical is, my answer will be the 1952 MGM musical comedy Singin’ in the Rain. In 2007 the American Film Institute ranked this movie #5 in AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time, so I know I’m not alone. I don’t know if it’s Gene Kelly spinning in circles with an umbrella, Donald O’Connor flipping off walls, or Debbie Reynolds doing the hula during the “Good Morning” dance routine, but there is something about Singing in the Rain that captivates us and keeps us singing 65 years after its release. Here are some facts you may not know about one of America’s favorite musicals:
If you’re looking to express your geeky side with pride—and why shouldn’t you?—Half Price Books is the place. Our stores seem to have a never-ending supply of games, comics, action figures and other items designed to help you geek out.
Here are just a few highlights we’ve learned about that are currently in our stores around the country. “A Geek Week Sneak Peek,” I guess you could call it. If you are interested in any of them, contact The Buy Guy.
X-Men #1 King-Size Special
Signed by Stan Lee!
Has a little bit of rubbing and wear to the bottom of the spine, but no other damage or signs of wear.
At our Mentor, Ohio store: $100 Continue reading
Buffy Summers saved the world, a lot. She did it with style and strength, but also with the genuine vulnerability of a teenage girl in an overwhelming situation. 20 years ago this month, Buffy aired its first episode and I was immediately hooked. I was older than the intended audience to be sure, but she spoke to me anyway. With Joss Whedon at the reins, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has given us some of the best quotes of the 90s. Below are some of my favorites.
“OK, I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking. I’m not finished becoming whatever the hell it is I’m gonna turn out to be. I make it through this, and the next thing, and the next thing, and… maybe one day I turn around and realize I’m ready. I’m cookies. And then, you know, if I want someone to eat— or enjoy warm, delicious cookie me, then, that’s fine. That’ll be then. When I’m done.” – Buffy
“When I say ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman. You’re the one, Buffy.” – Spike Continue reading
Disappear into a different world and enjoy your Spring Break reading these fantastic books!
Everyone is looking for something to do for Spring Break this year. Whether a vacation is in the works or not, the best way to take a break is to read a book! If you’re in the airport waiting on the arrival of a plane or sitting in the car trying to ignore a hotly debated directions dispute, reading a book is a great way to escape. Reading to the kids while traveling is a great way to distract them from the ennui of getting to the destination. Of course, if you’re not going anywhere for this particular Spring Break, reading a book is great way to get away without all the costs and hassles of real travel. Read on to discover our list of recently released books you can find online or at your local Half Price Books store that are perfect for Spring Break!
Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer (Teen)
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Land of Stories series Chris Colfer comes this fantastic standalone novel that promises to be an engrossing read. The story is centered on Cash Carter, a young, world-famous lead actor of the hit television show Wiz Kids. Four fans jokingly invite Cash Carter on a cross-country road trip, which he shockingly accepts. The group are chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters. It is the story of an unlikely crew taking off on a journey of a lifetime – but along the way they discover that the star they love has been keeping deep secrets. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship.
The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale (Teen)
This fantastic story is a hauntingly beautiful twisted fairytale. The main character, Alys, was seven when creatures called soul eaters came to her village. These soul eaters are twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly grew into something not quite human, something that needs to feed on souls to survive. Alys and all the children in her village were spared by the twins, but having lost their parents and elders, the children were sent to live in a neighboring village. Afraid of facing a similar fate, the villagers in the children’s adopted home created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters – and of the Beast they believe guides them – rules village life. But the Beast is not what they think he is. And neither is Alys. Continue reading
We’re so lucky to have bibliomaniacs of many talents throughout the company. If you’ve ever had the chance to visit the Half Price Books Flagship in Dallas, you’ve probably seen some of the fun and unique displays around the store. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac, we’re pleased to introduce you to Kiki Baughman, Display Specialist at our Flagship and the mastermind behind all those awesome creations.
Name: Kiki Baughman
Job Title: Display Specialist
Store Location: 001 Flagship
When did you join the HPB Team?
August 1 will be 11 years at HPB. 10 years and 9 months of that I have been a part of the Store Inventory Merchandiser team at 001 Flagship.
What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
My favorite part would be that I get to be creative every day. Second favorite thing would be my co-workers. They are the best.
As a Display Specialist, what’s an average day like for you?
As the Display Specialist for 001 my days are very diverse. One day I may spend all day working on a custom display for a book signing. Another day might consist of planning the holiday decor for the store and ordering product. Another day is spent displaying merchandise and helping with a book signing. Continue reading
March 14 is the day everyone in the world, or at least everyone here in the U.S. (where we put the month before the day), pauses to celebrate that most constant of mathematical constants, that most transcendental of transcendental numbers. Of course, I’m talking about Pi, also known as “π,” also known as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, also known as 3.14 (give or take a trillion digits). 3.14…3/14…March 14. Get it? Yeah, me neither. Never had much of a head for math.
Nevertheless, this Pi Day thing seems to be real. They even have a website where you can buy a t-shirt and watch a rap video.
All this hubbub got me thinking about my favorite books, movies and even songs that feature a heavy dose of math. You can look for these at your local HPB and do some math when you calculate how much money you’re saving.
Life of Pi
This 2001 novel by Yann Martel and its 2012 film adaptation tell the story of Piscine “Pi” Patel, an Indian boy who adopts the nickname Pi after kids make fun of his real name. That’s a pretty great story right there, but things get more interesting when Pi is stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger, a hyena and a zebra. Okay, there’s actually not too much math in this story, but it’s a great read, the movie has amazing animation and the kid’s name is Pi.
This is a book about human computers. No, it’s not sci-fi; it’s the non-fiction bestseller by Margot Lee Shetterly that inspired the acclaimed movie about female African-American mathematicians at NASA. They were called human computers because, like, they did computations. Set during World War II, the Space Race and the Civil Rights Movement, the book profiles four ladies who were among the space program’s unsung heroes. Continue reading
In 1987, Congress designated March as Women’s History Month. That feels significant to me since it’s the same year I learned to read. It was also the same year I learned that if I got into enough trouble at school in the mornings, the teacher would punish me by taking away recess. After lunch, the troublemakers had to (shamefully) walk back to the classroom and read quietly while everyone else was on the playground. It took more than a month for my brand-new teacher to figure out why I only acted up in the mornings. Eventually, a truce was brokered between the teacher and my mother: if I didn’t misbehave at all, I would be allowed to stay in the classroom and read through recess and lunch. I was ecstatic. The following semester, I was awarded the class citizenship certificate for perfect conduct.
Even now, I’m proud of that initial sacrifice for reading. Admittedly, being chased around the playground by first grade boys wasn’t much to give up. But getting in trouble every morning was both stressful and humiliating. At only six years of age, I recognized the intrinsic value of a half hour of quiet time and a stack of books. Long before I understood the concept of sacrifice, I sensed that literature deserved concessions of time, attention, and thoughtfulness.
In return, the authors of all those stories opened me up to new ways of seeing, feeling and being. Early fiction taught me how to find joy in a world where things weren’t always what they appeared to be. As my reading progressed, I learned how to navigate a life in which circumstances were generally unfair and sometimes unlucky. Later, I learned to embrace unresolved feelings and unsatisfactory endings. As an adult, novels taught me to accept that certain experiences can never be adequately explained or understood. Fiction (as much as experience) helped me to understand that people are complicated and rarely predictable, and also, that even the most imperfect character has a story worth telling. In a good author’s hands, that story is worthy of empathy. In a great author’s hands, a hopelessly-flawed character becomes worthy of love.
The power of a great author transcends the printed page by elevating the reader to a more significant understanding of the human experience. This year, in anticipation of Women’s History Month, I’ve prepared a list of some of the greatest authors I’ve read. Through their craft, these authors have promoted equality for women in literature and, by extension, in society. But make no mistake: This isn’t a list of women’s fiction. This is a list of great fiction written by women. It is neither a perfect list nor a comprehensive list, but I’ve selected one title that for each year that Women’s History Month has been nationally recognized. I hope you (or a reader you know) might enjoy these selections.
1. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams 2. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder 3. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan 4. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume 5.Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle 7.To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 10. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 11. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez 12. The Awakening by Kate Chopin 13. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 14. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros 15. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand 16. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich 17. Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker 18. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver 19.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 20. Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor 21. March by Geraldine Brooks 22. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro 23. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout 24. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri 25. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward Commonwealth 26.A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan 27. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 28. Someone by Alice McDermott 29.The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 30. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara 31. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Editor’s Note: Not only are we excited to read Martha’s book, Lilac Girls, as part of the HPB Book Club, we are thrilled to host her at our Dallas Flagship store for a talk and signing on Monday, March 13 at 7 p.m. Can’t make it that night for the discussion? Have no fear! We’ll broadcast the talk on Facebook Live. (So if you haven’t yet liked our Facebook page, now is the time to do so!)
Until then, to continue our Books Authors Read series, we asked Martha to share some of her favorite books. Enjoy!
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney – I still go back and soak in Stef Penney’s descriptions for sheer pleasure. Her depiction of Scottish woman Mrs. Ross and her discovery of Laurent Jammett is terrifying and perfect.
Good Times, Bad Times by James Kirkwood – I read this in high school and go back and reread it often. James Kirkwood was such a talented writer and, sadly, died too young. This story of a boarding school student, his best friend and their creepy headmaster still feels fresh and relevant. Continue reading