Behind the Book: The Middle Matters by Lisa-Jo Baker

Editor’s Note: Lisa-Jo Baker’s newest book, The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You invites us to get a good look at our middles and gives us permission to embrace them — because Lisa-Jo knows that the middle might be the best part of the love story of life, kids, faith, doubt, marriage, failure, wonder and the muffin top—and that these are all good things. Read on to get a glimpse Behind the Book with Lisa-Jo Baker.


I like to think of my latest book, The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good On You, as a love letter to ordinary life.

Because if we’re not careful, I think midlife will actually run right over us. Like a runaway hamster wheel. There’s so much carpool and extracurriculars and work and before we know it we will have missed the chance to relish the very stories that will line our empty nests one day.

Between meeting thousands of women at speaking events and hearing from podcast listeners, I’ve learned that we all keep waiting to feel like grown-ups while going through all the grown-up motions. It’s weird to have all the responsibilities of a grown-up and look like a grown-up and have a grown-up job and a grown-up mortgage and still not be sure how or when to change the air filters.

It’s a shock to most of us to find ourselves here at the midpoint of our lives and still be figuring so much of it out. Normal feels all stretched out and squidgy around the edges when you’re splitting time and to-dos, and yet it’s the stuff of life and marriage and kids and work that everyone lives. The intimidation of financial planning and the reality of retirement as more than just that infomercial you used to fast forward through but also something you will actually need in the no-longer distant future.

And the just-as-crucial fighting for time to keep dating the man you’re raising kids with so you feel like a couple and not just a couple of people running a summer camp together. Turns out we’re all trying to make sense of this season we’re in. And it helps to talk about it. How exhausting it is to constantly feel pressured to seize every minute of every day. How lots of days just feel like figuring out new ways to make chicken.

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Hangin’ With the Girls

There’s nothing like calling all your girlfriends and spending the day shopping, getting pampered at the spa and then closing down a restaurant just gabbing, unless it’s getting together at your house for wine snacks and a good movie. Now, I don’t normally need an excuse to get together with my friends, but knowing that August 1 is Girlfriends’ Day is an awfully good excuse to have some fun with the girls. So whether it’s your book club ladies, your crazy college sisters or just your BFF, Half Price Books has books, movies and music to help you celebrate with the girls.

Books to share with the girls:
The Group, by Mary McCarthy
Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
Waiting to Exhale, by Terry McMillan
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, by Fannie Flagg
Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell
Divine Serets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery
How Should a Person Be, by Sheila Heti

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Behind the Book: Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler

Inspired by historical events and a follow-up to the bestselling Calling Me Home, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls follows the deep friendship between two women at an early 20th-century rehabilitation home for cast-out single mothers and the reclusive librarian who discovers their story a century later. Read on to discover author Julie Kibler’s recommendations, inspirations and influences as we go Behind the Book. Continue reading

Totally Random Lists 2019: Twinsies!

Editor’s Note: This year our Half Price Books calendar once again features books, movies and music grouped together in weird, unexpected ways. You might even call them Totally Random Lists, which is what we did because, well, we had to put something on the front cover. We like the lists so much, we’ll be sharing them on this blog throughout the year.


When you’re born with an identical partner in crime, there’s plenty of drama and comedy ahead. But the truth is two are often better than one—for double the fun or double the trouble. Check out our list of twin-centric titles, including albums by bands with twins in their lineups. Continue reading

Little Readers’ Storytime Book Club

Our friend Kristen (known on Instagram as @hellokristendickson) took summer reading to a whole new level by launching @storytimebookclub, a neighborhood book club for little readers. We encourage you to follow their weekly adventures as the kids gather on Wednesdays for a neighborhood story time play group like no other! Each week, neighborhood’s little readers join together for a new themed storytime and activity, and we’re way jealous.

We asked the @storytimebookclub creator and mom-in-chief if she had any advice to share and here are her tips and wisdom for getting something started where YOU live! Continue reading