Ready Player One & What’s Next for Ernest Cline Fans

Editor’s Note: By now any serious movie buff has already seen the movie adaptation of Ready Player One, which hit theaters in March. At Half Price Books, we love movies too. But since we’re booklovin’ nerds at the core, we would like you encourage you to “READ THE MOVIE” – If you haven’t yet, pick up a copy of the book and discover all the action-packed stuff they couldn’t fit into the 2 hour and 20 minute film. While you’re at it, join the HPB Book Club as we re-read this genre-busting, Easter-egg-filled novel by Ernest Cline.

If you’ve already read the book and watched the flick, then keep reading here! This staff review is just for you! Let’s turn it over to Becky embracing her geekiness as she talks about Ernest Cline, Ready Player One and his more recently-released novel, Armada.

Personal disclaimer: I was an elementary and middle school aged kid during that golden decade we call the ’80s. This was a time when girls and boys played arcade games, watched a lot of cartoons and played with the same toys. We ate sugary cereal, wore Mork from Ork suspenders, feathered our hair and (seriously) were all considered really cool.readyplayer1

Which brings me to Ernest Cline.

I read his first bestseller, Ready Player One, when I heard all the buzz about Armada. It was everything I loved about mid-’80s cinema, games, music and culture, and I decided that if Ernie Cline is writing it, I am on board.

“The grown-up’s Harry Potter… the mystery and fantasy in this novel weaves itself in the most delightful way, and the details that make up Mr. Cline’s world are simply astounding. Ready Player One has it all.” — Huffington Post

Cline’s second novel, Armada, hopes to answer the age-old question, what if your video game obsession is training you to LITERALLY save the world? In the near-future, teenager Zack Lightman, a gaming aficionado who just wants to graduate high school, soon realizes that he and other elite gamers might hold the keys to saving the planet against alien forces.

“Nerd-gasmic… Armada is another science fiction tale with a Comic-Con’s worth of pop-culture shout-outs.” — Rolling Stone

Armada reads like every ’80s video game geek adventure movie, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. It lacks a bit of the “wow” factor after the ingenious. Ready Player One, but it is no less adventuresome. Cline truly is an encyclopedia of video-gaming culture, not to mention his reaches into the depths of ’80s kid’s cinema. Just like with RPO, you can practically see the movie playing while you read. He also strategically places a complete ready-for-mixtape playlist headlined by Queen’s “One Vision.”

The thirty and forty-year old set who hung out at arcades and rushed to theaters to watch any movie with “Star”, “War”,“Games” or “Fighter” in the title will feel whisked back into their local mall movie theater at the over-the-top action, righteous references to all-things-’80s once in again in Cline’s Armada. It’s a great read for teens (with some language warnings for parents) who are really into gaming and retro-culture and they will be screaming for the movie releases in the next couple of years. Expect a lot of fan art and fan fiction to evolve, because that’s what the kids do these days, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some video game spin-offs as well.

earnest-cline

Photo of Ernest Cline, courtesy of Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ. CC BY-SA 2.0

I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot more from Ernie Cline in the future. According to sources, there’s a yet-untitled Ready Player One sequel in the works and the acclaimed Steven Spielberg will direct it too.

Look for copies of Ready Player One and Armada at your favorite Half Price Books with our specially-priced brand new releases and hot bestsellers!

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate. You can follow her on Twitter at @bexican75.

Feed Your Brain Mid-Summer Check-Up

It’s time for a mid-summer Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program check-up, kids! What have you been doing all summer? Because our Half Price Books kids and teens have been reading.

How much, you ask?

As of last the end of June, we’ve had 4,596 Feed Your Brain Summer Reading logs turned in across our stores. Now, the way we figure it, if each kid reads a minimum of 15 minutes per day, that’s  1,378,800 minutes of reading.

feed your brain reading logs

So kids, how does it feel to have read 22,980 hours with other Bookworms so far this summer? Continue reading

Let’s Get Binge Reading!: #SummerBookBinge

At Half Price Books, true booklovers never take a break, even in the summer. While all the kids are feeding their brains, we’re sending teens on a  #SUMMERBOOKBINGE!

“What’s a book binge,” you ask?!

It’s only the most exciting summer teen reading program around!  Join HPB and our friends at Penguin Teen on our Feed Your Brain Summer #SUMMERBOOKBINGE. Read a favorite! Start a series! Write a review! Let’s make binge-reading a THING! One book is a success, but read two and we are officially making you part of this summer’s #SUMMERBOOKBINGE.

The Penguin Teen selections for the summer reading #SUMMERBOOKBINGE this year are from some of our favorite authors. So will you read just two? Or are you going to binge-read like the rest of us?

THE SELECTIONS

JOHN GREEN
Srsly, everything he writes is pure gold, am I right? He rips into our hearts and has us feeling REAL feels. Have you read them all? Grab your sunshades, your beach towel and a tissue or two and read them again!

 

Continue reading

A Grown-up Who Grew Up With Harry Potter

I was a junior in college when the first Harry Potter book was released. Needless to say, the series was not on my radar then, and it remained stealthily outside those bounds until I began substitute teaching after college. That’s when I first saw 12 and 13-year old children toting around the same book.

I finally asked, “What are you all reading?”

I got the definitive answer, “Oh! YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THESE BOOKS!”

IMG_5158

Continue reading

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?

Celebrate-your-victories

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!

 

*NEW* MIDDLE-GRADE and TEEN FICTIONCapture

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

*CLASSIC* TEEN READING:

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

The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho

 

 

 

 

April 11 is National Eight-Track Tape Day

Where are they now? This is what remains. Where the rest of our collection went, we don’t know, but my family’s eight-track stereo and a few choice tapes still reside in my childhood home.  Everything is all intact and functioning. Pop a tape in the stereo and the sound warbles and flutters. If you know the faults of eight-tracks, you remember older, worn tapes playing faint, or not so faint, harmonies of another song in the background because the tape inside the cartridge managed to get slightly off track. The clicking in the middle of the song when the tape switches from track to track? All annoyances we didn’t even know were annoying at the time.

eighttrackstereo

I was born in the mid-seventies to hip parents who tried their best to keep up with the fads of the day. Through the mid-eighties, this translated into our entertainment feature piece, this Panasonic eight-track AM/FM stereo system and our family’s red Buick Station wagon that sported the hi-tech eight-track tape deck. Continue reading

Embrace Your Geekness: HPB Reviews Armada by Ernest Cline

Personal disclaimer: I was an elementary and middle school aged kid during that golden decade we call the ’80s. This was a time when girls and boys played arcade games, watched a lot of cartoons and played with the same toys. We ate sugary cereal, wore Mork from Ork suspenders, feathered our hair and (seriously) were all considered really cool.

Which brings me to Ernest Cline.

I read his first bestseller, Ready Player One, earlier this spring when I heard all the buzz about the upcoming release, Armada. It was everything I loved about mid-’80s cinema, games, music and culture, and I decided that if Ernie Cline is writing it, I am on board.

Cline’s second novel, Armada, comes out tomorrow, and it hopes to answer the age-old question, what if your video game obsession is training you to LITERALLY save the world? In the near-future, teenager Zack Lightman, a gaming aficionado who just wants to graduate high school, soon realizes that he and other elite gamers might hold the keys to saving the planet against alien forces.

Armada reads like every ’80s video game geek adventure movie, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. It lacks a bit of the “wow” factor after the ingenious. Ready Player One, but it is no less adventuresome. Cline truly is an encyclopedia of video-gaming culture, not to mention his reaches into the depths of ’80s kid’s cinema. Just like with RPO, you can practically see the movie playing while you read. He also strategically places a complete ready-for-mixtape playlist headlined by Queen’s “One Vision”. BTW, Warner Bros. purchased the rights to Ready Player One and some unknown named Steven Spielberg, will direct. Universal Pictures grabbed the rights to Armada all the way back in December.

The thirty and forty-year old set who hung out at arcades and rushed to theaters to watch any movie with “Star”, “War”,“Games” or “Fighter” in the title will feel whisked back into their local mall movie theater at the over-the-top action, righteous references to all-things-’80s once in again in Cline’s newest book. It’s a great read for teens (with some language warnings) who are really into gaming and retro-culture and they will be screaming for the movie releases in the next couple of years. Expect a lot of fan art and fan fiction to evolve, because that’s what the kids do these days, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some video game spin-offs as well. We’ll be hearing a lot more from Ernie Cline in the future, and if you are lucky enough to be in the area, you can catch him in Richardson, Texas as Half Price Books and Alamo Drafthouse partner to present An Evening with Ernie Cline Monday, July 27, at 7 p.m.

Look for copies of Armada at your favorite Half Price Books with our specially-priced brand new releases and hot bestsellers!

Teacher Appreciation Week: Celebrating Educators and Half Pint Library

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and we have some teachers to thank!

As we bid farewell once again to the biggest book drive and book giveaway of the year, the Half Price Books Half Pint Library program, we say a special thanks to the educators and game-changers who came out during April and picked up box after box of children’s books to deliver to their own classrooms and libraries. Selfless acts of literary kindness are just one of the things that make teachers great.

At Half Price Books, we know that educators spend lots of their own money each year to furnish their own classroom supplies. That’s why we created the Half Pint Library Program to help defer some of that cost by providing books for kids in need.

So, teachers, THANK YOU! The 17th Annual Half Price Books Half Pint Library giveaway events ended last week and our math lesson for the day follows. Here is HPL by-the-numbers:

1 month

34 Half Pint Library Book Giveaway events

16 states across the USA

487 schools and non-profits

11 Half Price Books trucks FULL of kids books

53,021 books donated by customers

170,256 books matched by Half Price Books

223,277 total books given away!

Thank you to our customers who donated books in March! Half Price Books was able to match these donations (and then some) with excess kids’ books from our stores. We provided every teacher or non-profit that attended a giveaway at least two boxes of books to support their libraries and programs in local communities across the nation!

The Half Pint Library program (HPL) is part of the year-round Million Book Donation Project. This annual children’s book drive is hosted each spring by Half Price Books to collect and distribute books to those in need. Books donated through the Half Pint Library program provide an escape from the challenges faced by children while helping to boost literacy skills outside of school. In many cases, children receive their first book through the Half Pint Library program. The drive accepts any type of children’s book, including Spanish language books, as long as they are in good condition. The program has collected more than 2 million books for pediatric patients, community centers, schools and other children in need.

 

And don’t forget! You can save 10% off your purchases from Half Price Books year-round with our Educator Discount Card.

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.

You can follow her on Twitter at @bexican75.

Booksgiving Day: Giving the Gift of Reading with FREE Children’s Book and Storytime!

Kids, it’s time to gather ‘round for your favorite Half Price Books holiday. It’s our second annual celebration of BOOKSGIVING DAY!

Supporting literacy and providing books to families is key to our Half Price Books mission! Join us at your neighborhood Half Price Books location on Booksgiving Day, Saturday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. Every child who attends will receive a free book to take home and add to their library, or start a new one! *Limit one preselected book per child while supplies last.

If you aren’t a kid but want to participate, how about picking up a copy of your favorite kid’s book and sharing it with a special child in your life?

Let’s get a book to every child, in every home! BW, the Half Price Books Bookworm, and I will see you there!

The books donated on Booksgiving Day are part of Half Price Books Million Book Donation Project, which has donated more than 1.3 million books to non-profit organizations and schools in 2014.

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.

You can follow her on Twitter at @bexican75.

#HPBteensREAD: The Best Teen Reads This Summer

Hey TEENS! These final days of summer mean one of two things: either you are soaking up the sun and enjoying those last moments of being carefree, or you’ve procrastinated and are now furiously cramming your summer reading and projects into the wee hours before you have to head back to____… I promise not to say the “s” word! Whether you’re reading for enjoyment or obligation, we’d love to hear from you! Check out #HPBteensREAD and tweet us your review. (Plus, learn about how you can win a Teen Reading Prize Pack.) Also, follow the #HPBteensREAD hashtag to get some great recommendations!

Our good friend and librarian Kristen at the Irving Public Library, (organizers of the first-ever North Texas Teen Book Festival, coming in March 2015), gave us a quick list of the best teen reads this summer. Have you had the chance to pick these up? –Becky

Hey HPB Booklovers!

Here’s a list of authors and books we can’t keep on the shelves!

  1. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  2. The Living by Matt de la Peña
  3. Noggin by John Corey Whaley
  4. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (movie coming out September 19!)
  5. Unwind series by Neal Shusterman
  6. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  7. Divergent series by Veronica Roth
  8. Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (this title has been super hot, especially with the movie coming out on August 22!)
  11. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles series) by Marissa Meyer
  12. The Selection series by Kiera Cass
  13. The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han – perpetual teen summer reading fave!
  14. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- another teen summer reading fave!
  15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin (the final installment comes out in November and interest for this series has seriously rekindled lately)

I could go on and on with teen books, but I should probably keep the list short and sweet. 😉 Take care and happy reading! 

–Kristen, Teen Services, Irving Public Library-Central Library