Totally Random Lists: Reading Cats & Dogs

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 October 2017!

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If there is one thing dog people and cat people can agree on, it’s that the HPB 2017 Calendar of Totally Random Lists is a great place to find a list of books, movies & music featuring or inspired by dogs & cats.

BOOKS
The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss
Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, John Grogan
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, T.S. Eliot
White Fang, Jack London

Oct visualMOVIES & TV
The Adventures of Milo and Otis
Lassie Come Home
Must Love Dogs
That Darn Cat!

MUSIC
Cats: Original London Cast Recording
Tha Doggfather, Snoop Dogg
Hounds of Love, Kate Bush
The Very Best of Cat Stevens

Fur more of these paw-sitively tail-wagging picks, check out HPB.com/cats.

Celebrating National Public Lands Day

Some of my fondest childhood memories are walking, riding my bike or roller skating to my neighborhood park. Marcus Park was my personal paradise where I played basketball, softball, kickball, hopscotch and even chess. My best friend and I shared secrets on the swings and made up stories while leisurely pushing the merry-go-round. This little plot of public land was an essential part of my everyday life and helped form my love of the great outdoors.

Through books, I was able to explore public lands beyond my neighborhood. When I was a young child, Make Way for Ducklings took me to the Public Garden in Boston and Brighty of the Grand Canyon instilled a lifelong desire to explore that great National Park. As an adult, I laughed my way through Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and started planning my own trek on the Appalachian Trail.

Of course, movie directors have discovered the dramatic potential of public lands such as the cliff-hanging Mount Rushmore scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.

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Plus,  in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Roy Neary’s (Richard Dreyfuss) UFO obsession leads him to an isolated mountaintop, aka Devil’s Tower National Monument in Wyoming, the nation’s first national monument.
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Saturday, September 30 is National Public Lands Day, a day to volunteer and help restore or improve your neighborhood, city, state, or national park, forest, monument or shoreline. And after you have finished volunteering how about discovering other publicly owned lands and waterways in these books and movies.

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The Big List of Storytime Books

We read a lot of storytime books around here – before naptime, before bedtime, before breakfast, after breakfast, for breakfast – you get the idea. My daughters are three and almost two, which means that our library is well-loved (aka the covers now dangle from most of the books → aka time for some new books → aka cue all the jazz hands emojis because there’s nothing better than shopping for new books, right?). Since it’s National Literacy Month, I polled a bunch of my mom friends for their kids’ best storytime books, and here’s what we came up with – tried and true classics mixed in with some contemporary gems.

So! If you like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, you might like these other books about going to bed:Goodnight Moon.jpg
The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Good Night Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
Goodnight Already by Jory John and Benji Davies
Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and Pamela Zagarenski
Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Goodnight Train by June Sobel and Laura Huliska-Beith
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
The House In the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes
It’s Time to Sleep, My Love by Nancy Tillman and Eric Metaxas
Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin

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There and Back Again: The Hobbit’s 80th Anniversary

5fe47-hobbit_cover“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” With this one sentence, J.R.R. Tolkien impacted my life (and many other lives) in a huge way. When I was a child, my dad would usually make up stories at bed time to get me to fall asleep. It was our routine. When he was running low on creativity, he would read to me. The Hobbit was the first book I ever remember him reading to me, and I loved it. It’s is my absolute favorite book in the world, and it is celebrating its 80th anniversary!

The Hobbit was published on September 21, 1937 and has been in print ever since. It was originally published by George Allen & Unwin in London to glowing reviews and has remained a beloved book through the decades. The book appeals to adults and children alike, as it combines wry humor and wit with an adventure story like no other. The Hobbit is the forerunner for The Lord of the Rings, the epic saga that is widely acknowledged as a classic. Though related to that epic story, The Hobbit is in a class of its own. For Hobbit lovers, this day is all about the quest of a homebody hobbit-turned-burglar and his companions. Although Bilbo begins the adventure a grumpy, immature hobbit, he gains a new level of maturity and wisdom as he completes different tasks in the adventure. This beloved classic has been adapted in the following ways:

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75 Years of Little Golden Books to Treasure: The Poky Little Puppy & Friends

Before the introduction of Little Golden Books in 1942, children’s books normally sold for $2 to $3 each. Given average rates of U.S. inflation, that’s about $28 to $42 in today’s dollars. Purchasing children’s books was a luxury for most families until George Duplaix came on the scene. As president of the Artists and Writers Guild, Duplaix approached Simon & Schuster Publishing and Western Printing to develop colorful children’s books that would be durable and affordable for most American families.

Among the first Little Golden Books released on October 1, 1942 was The Poky Little Puppy, sold for just a quarter. This – among other early titles in the Little Golden Books series like The Little Red Hen, Mother Goose, and more – has become an iconic representation of both Little Golden Books and children’s literature spanning across generations.

After only five months on the market, 1.5 million copies were sold. The Poky Little Puppy is among the best-selling books of all time with nearly 15 million copies sold. The delightful illustrations have reappeared on reprinted editions, home goods, toys and clothing items throughout the decades since.

The Poky Little Puppy  Ownership of Little Golden Books has changed several times over the years. It’s now published by Penguin Random House with new titles and licensed content from Disney, Sesame Street, Nickelodeon and more. Through it all, the books remain emblematic with a shiny golden spine and illustrated flyleaf pages where the owner can write his or her name inside.

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Share your Little Golden Book favorites and memories with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Tag @halfpricebooks and #Golden75.


Meredith is Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate. You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

So Glad We Had This Time Together: 50 Years of The Carol Burnett Show

Though I was a little too young to have seen the episodes when they first aired (September 11, 1967-March 29, 1978), The Carol Burnett Show was an integral part of my childhood. I remember running home from school, throwing my bag down and turning on the television because The Carol Burnett Show came on at 4p.m., and I didn’t want to miss it. Carol Burnett broke new ground when the show first aired, as the first woman television variety show host without the aid of a man counterpart. The Carol Burnett Show ran for 11 seasons, earned a handful of Emmys and even spawned a successful spin-off in the first-run syndication comedy sitcom Mama’s Family.  Now, as The Carol Burnett Show turns 50-years-old, what better way to celebrate than to share some interesting facts and hilarious clips from what I consider to be one of the best television shows of all time.

The Cast: When the show first aired, the cast consisted of Carol, Vicki Lawrence (an 18-year-old unknown), Harvey Korman (who had been a regular on the Danny Kaye Show) and Lyle Waggoner (who was the first centerfold in Playgirl magazine). When Lyle left, a frequent and popular guest star, Tim Conway joined the show. Tim’s constant ad-libbing may have annoyed some cast members, but it made him a favorite among audiences. Finally Harvey left the show in its 10th season and Dick Van Dyke was brought in for a few months. Unfortunately, Dick couldn’t replicate the chemistry that Harvey had with the audience, so his stint as a cast member was short lived. However, he is in my favorite blooper from The Carol Burnett Show, a family sketch that shows Tim at his ad-libbing best. You can see Dick Van Dyke on the arm of the couch by Mama.

The Look: All of the costumes on The Carol Burnett Show were created by designer Bob Mackie, who had to design 60 or more costumes a week for the sketch comedy show. His designs helped the actors create their characters. For example, Mrs. Wiggins was supposed to be an elderly woman but Mackie had something else in mind when he created her curvy outfit. When Carol tried it on, it was tight around the knees and baggy in the behind. She asked him to take it up, but he said no. She needed to stick her behind into it. So Carol did, creating Mrs. Wiggins characteristic walk. However Mackie’s most iconic design for Carol was the Scarlett O’Hara curtain dress for their parody sketch of Gone with the Wind. This dress can be found in the Smithsonian, and you can even buy a Barbie doll with the dress on.

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Life’s a Treasure Hunt…and so is Half Price Books!

Part of the beauty of shopping at Half Price Books is finding things you didn’t even know you needed…or existed! Golden Girls puzzle? Please and thank you… for being a friend! KFC promotional Christmas vinyl? Finger-licking YES! Star Trek Enterprise cordless phone? Beam me UP! (Yes, these are real items we’ve seen in our stores at one time or another…)

So when we set out to build our new website, the all-new HPB.com, we wanted to inject some of the “treasure hunt” factor that you get from a visit to your local HPB into the online shopping experience. Which is why we created “Quirky Tags.” Maybe you don’t know what to read, watch or listen to next, but you know what you’re feeling at the moment. Quirky Tags are curated lists of themed products that are hand-selected by our very own HPB bibliomaniacs. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! You can find Quirky Tags scattered throughout HPB.com, but in case you’re more of the “instant gratification” type, take a look at some of our favorites:

  1. Aliens Among Us – for when you need a… close encounter.
  2. Amazing Plot Twists – for when you just did not see that coming.
  3. Auld Lang Syne – for when it’s hard to say goodbye.
  4. Best Friends in Love – for when you have all the feels.
  5. Dysfunctional Families – for when you need to know you’re not the only one.
  6. Epic Quests – for when the journey is the reward, not the destination.
  7. Hair-Raisers & Spine-Tinglers – for when you’re scared silly.
  8. Retold Classics – for when you want a fresh take on an old favorite.
  9. Road Trip Musts – for when the road ahead lies in wait.
  10. Stranger Than Fiction – for when real life proves to be all too real.

These are just some of the gems you’ll find throughout the all-new HPB.com. Happy hunting… and stay quirky!

Jason is the Email Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

From the Gridiron to the Big Screen

Are you ready for some fooootbaaaaallllll? (Sung in my best Hank Williams Jr. voice) Any good fan knows the NFL season kicks off the Thursday night after Labor Day, and the rest of the teams are in action on Sunday. Anyone who knows me at all knows I am a football fan, but they also know my passion for movies. That made me think of NFL football players who turned to acting. Ok, I want to start off right now by eliminating the ones that play extras on a football team, like Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys and Bill Romanowski of the Denver Broncos in Longest Yard. I am also going to eliminate TV actors such as Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams in the TV series Hunter. With the rules set, let’s see who we can come up with.

John Matuszak was the first overall pick in the 1973 NFL draft and a 2-time Super Bowl champion. He played for the Houston Oilers, Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders. He starred with Ringo Starr and Dennis Quad in the 1980s comedy Caveman, where he played the clumsy villain, Tonda. He was probably remembered more for his role as Sloth in the kids adventure movie The Goonies, where he was seen wearing a Raiders T-shirt.
John Matuszak

Howie Long was a nine-time Pro Bowl defensive end for the Oakland Raiders was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2000. Long has many movies to his credit, with supporting roles in Broken Arrow and 3000 Miles to Graceland, but he was the lead star in the action movie Firestorm. He also had a role in Tom Hanks’ directorial debut, That Thing You Do, which can be seen in the extended cut of the Blu-Ray or DVD but was cut entirely from the feature release of the film.
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Celebrate Literacy with our Literacy Benefit Day on Sept 12!

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Happy National Literacy Month, everybody! If you’re a big reader like I am (and if you’ve stumbled across the Half Price Books blog, I bet you are), it’s hard to imagine not being able to read. However, there are millions of adults in the United States who cannot, and that puts their children at a greater risk of falling behind in school.

Not being able to read affects just about every aspect of your life – things you probably take for granted each day like helping your kids with their homework, or reading a pill bottle to make sure you’re taking the proper medication.

Luckily, there are countless wonderful organizations across the country doing wonderful work to teach both adults and children to read. We wanted to help those organizations out, so we are hosting our inaugural Literacy Benefit Day on Tuesday, Sept. 12!

On Literacy Benefit Day, we’ll donate 5% of our in-store sales to our partner literacy organizations across the country. We hope you’ll come visit your local Half Price Books that day to help out these wonderful organizations!

In the meantime, we encourage you to check out the organization in your community to learn more about their work and to see how to become involved.

Arizona
Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County

California
East Bay Children’s Book Project
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If You Liked Wonder, You Might Also Like…

If you’re part of the HPB Book Club, you are currently reading (or perhaps just finished) Wonder by R.J. Palacio, a touching middle-grade novel about Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a rare medical facial deformity as he struggles through his first year at a mainstream school. The kids that are kind enough to look past Auggie’s strange appearance discover a smart, funny kid who  is so much more than what he looks like. Palacio explores Auggie’s story from different points of view so that you learn not just how Auggie feels about a situation, but also his family and his friends. Through Wonder, Palacio weaves a tale of courage and kindness that sparked the Choose Kind Movement, where classrooms fight against bullying by signing a pledge to Choose Kind.

If you liked, Wonder, here are a few other books you might like.

Mockingbird, by Kathryn Erskine • Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli • Out of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper • Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan • Absolutely Almost, by Lisa Graff • Firegirl, by Tony Abbott • Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt • Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, by Jack Gantos • Lost in the Sun, by Lisa Graff • A Dog Called Homeless, by Sarah Lean • Because of Mr. Terupt, by Rob Buyea

Since one of my favorite things about Wonder was how the story was told through different perspectives, I think I’ll head to my local HPB to pick up a copy of Because of Mr. Terupt, as its story is also told through varying points-of-view. What will be your next read?

What to get in on the conversation? Join the HPB Book Club at hpb.com/bookclub.