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
Reading Partners – Sacramento Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Sarah Dang

In this month’s edition of “Meet the Bibliomaniac,” we’re excited to introduce you to Sarah from our Richardson, Texas store. If you’re a Richardson shopper, Sarah is responsible for all of the fabulous displays you see there. Take it away, Sarah!


selfieName: Sarah Dang
Job Title: Store Inventory Merchandiser (SIM)
Location: Richardson

When did you join Half Price Books?
April 21, 2014

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
I really love the people I work with and I can’t express enough how much I appreciate all of their encouragement and support. Aside from the magic of working at a bookstore and enjoying what I do, I really love the bonds I’ve created with everyone here. These are the kinds of friendships that last.

As a SIM, what’s an average day like for you?
Each day I start off with a list of what needs to get done. I often feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. I’m scurrying from place to place to make sure everything is done on time. My days are always super busy and I always have something to do. My daily tasks include merchandising tables and end caps, creating displays, ordering supplies and reorganizing our distribution bins. Simultaneously, I budget time to work on creative projects that not only advertise certain items, but also bring a unique element to our store. I in addition, create chalkboard signs to bring attention to products that don’t necessarily fly off the shelf.

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#HPBgives: More Than 330,000 Kids’ Books Donated Nationwide

Another year of our Half Pint Library Book Drive and book giveaways has come and gone! This was the 19th year of our Half Pint Library Book Drive (part of our Million Book Donation Project), and I am pleased to announce we distributed 330,789 books to organizations across the country.

Thank you to all of our wonderful customers who donated books to the drive. We couldn’t have gotten so many books into the hands of kids who need them without you! Until next year, please enjoy these photos from some of our giveaways.

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The book recipients and HPB staff pose for a photo before the book distribution begins at our Downers Grove, Illinois location.

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Books Authors Read with Craig Johnson

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Editor’s Note: We are pleased to welcome author Craig Johnson to our Northwest Highway location in Dallas on Wednesday, May 17 at 7p.m. to discuss his new novella, The Highwayman. We hope to see you there! In the meantime, we asked Craig to share some of his favorite books with us as part of our Books Authors Read blog series – enjoy!

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When asked to make a list of my top-ten books, I thought Westerns, and then I thought I better thin the herd a bit and decided to limit my list to modern Westerns with 20th century environs. That cut it quite a bit, but then I thought I’d narrow things down even more by only including authors I’ve actually met. Now some of these folks I’ve only met once, while others are downright friends. So, here we go…

The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry
I met Mr. McMurtry when he was given the True West Magazine life achievement award and stood aside, not wanting to bother him. After a while I noticed him standing around by himself at the buffet table and figured I might as well go over and say something nice. “I think The Last Picture Show is one of the finest novels ever written.”

He clutched my arm. “Thank you, but don’t leave.”

“Okay…”

“I just don’t want to have to talk about Lonesome Dove for a while.” Continue reading

Books Authors Read with Chelsea Mueller

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Editor’s Note: We were pleased to host Chelsea Mueller to our Dallas Flagship store on Saturday, May 13 to sign and discuss her debut novel, Borrowed Souls. We asked her to share some of her favorite reads with you as part of our Books Authors Read series – please enjoy!

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If I had written this list a couple years ago, every title would have been urban fantasy or paranormal romance. I like ‘em gritty, but I’ve found a new love in fantasy and sci-fi this last year that has rather dominated my recommendations list. Regardless of genre, I tend to favor books with a speedy plot and immersive worldbuilding and #kissingbooks are 100 percent welcome.

The Fifth SeasonThe Fifth Season (2016 Hugo Award Winner for Best Novel) and The Obelisk Gate (2017 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Novel) by N.K. Jemisin

I’m cheating a little by including two books as a single pick here, but once you finish the first you’ll dive headlong into the second. The Fifth Season was my most recommended book in the last year.

The Obelisk GateLove fantasy? Read The Fifth Season.
Love sci-fi? Read The Fifth Season.
Love twisted plots? Read The Fifth Season.
Basically, if you like to read, pick up this book.

Then immediately devour the sequel The Obelisk Gate, which is even more unputdownable (if that’s a thing). The prose and craft in these novels is top-notch, and the plot continued to fascinate me further with each page.

GhostlandGhostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
I write gritty fantasy grounded in the real world. Ghostland is not fiction, at least not in the same sense of the teeming magic found in the Southwest that I write. This non-fiction title explores how ghost stories evolve over time and what those tales say about our shifting fears as a society. Ghostland doesn’t posit whether ghosts are real, but instead it focuses on what our perceptions of such phenomena say about who we are and what we believe. The ghost stories are pretty excellent, too. Continue reading

Books Authors Read with Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle

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Editor’s Note: We are pleased to welcome Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle to two of our locations in just a few weeks! They’ll stop by our Northwest Highway location in Dallas on Monday, May 8 at 7p.m. CST to discuss their new book, Driving Miss Norma. 90-year-old Norma Bauerschmidt was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2015. Instead of having a difficult procedure and following through with chemotherapy, she decided to hit the road with her son and daughter-in-law. Her adventures were chronicled by the pair through pictures and blog posts, and she became a Facebook phenomenon. Although she passed away in 2016, she taught us all that saying “Yes” to life is the best way to live. We hope to see you at the Dallas event! If you can’t make it to the Dallas location, Tim and Ramie will also stop by our Marietta location in the Atlanta, Georgia area on May 16 at 7 p.m. EST. In the meantime, we asked them to share some of their favorite books with us in our Books Authors Read blog series – enjoy!

Memoirs and books involving the end-of-life seem to be the recent themes of our collective reading.

Being Mortal Medicine and What Matters in the EndBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
This is the book that inspired us to take “Miss Norma” on the road with us instead of leaving her behind in a nursing home. In it, Dr. Gawande addresses the realities everyone must face as they near the end of their lives. As a result, our eyes were wide open and clear when the time came to help make transformative decisions for Norma.

Dr. Gawande points out that most decisions concerning our elderly population’s living situations are aimed at ensuring their safety, at the expense of dignity and autonomy. He says this is especially true when adult children are making these decisions for them, and certainly all nursing homes are geared toward that approach.

He further argues that it is not just the “quantity of life” but the “quality of life” that must be considered at end times. Modern medicine is too concerned about prolonging life at the expense of the patient’s total well-being. Not only did his words give us the gumption to take Norma places that we would have otherwise not thought of, but he also demonstrates the beauty of hospice care in the home, giving us the confidence to have Norma with us in the motor home until the very end.

“Our ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death but a good life to the very end.”  — Atul Gawande Continue reading

Books Authors Read with Leanne Vogel

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Editor’s Note: We are pleased to welcome Leanne to not one, but TWO of our Texas locations this week. She’ll stop by our Montrose location in Houston on Saturday, April 15 at 2 p.m. and our North Lamar location in Austin on Monday, April 17 at 7 p.m. to discuss her new book, The Keto Diet (April 11). Hope to see you there! In the meantime, we asked Leanne to share some of her favorite books with us in our Books Authors Read blog series – enjoy!

Surprisingly, I’m not much for books about food. You’d think with my line of work that I’d be into all of the hot nutrition topics, but it’s the exact opposite – when I have time to carve out of my day, the last thing I want to do is read about more food. I’m a sucker for an inspirational biography, self-help books,and short business boosting books that are guaranteed to light a fire in my entrepreneurial belly. Also, I have a soft place for apocalyptic and war novels.

The Universe Has Your Back by Garbrielle Bernstein_Half Price BooksThe Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
I found Gabby’s work shortly after I quit my full-time gig and moved across the country with my husband (then boyfriend). I was eager for inspiration and a healthy dose of positivity when a colleague recommended Gabby’s book, Spirit Junkie. After reading, it set me on a path of looking at the world in a very different way, leading me to write my first self-published book, travel to New York to study photography and boost my confidence. I’ve read all of Gabby’s books and The Universe Has Your Back is by far my favorite. It was there for me as I finished my paperback, reminding me to stay present, positive, hopeful and grounded. I couldn’t have finished the last round of edits without her solid advice and guidance leading me through. Continue reading

Books Authors Read with Omar El Akkad

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Editor’s Note: We’ve been looking forward to the release of Omar El Akkad’s new book, American War (available April 4), so we were thrilled when he offered to share some of his favorite reads from the past year. Enjoy!

My reading list this year has been wildly varied, in large part because one of the chief perks of loitering on the outskirts of the publishing industry is the ability to swipe advance copies of upcoming novels. Having no self-discipline when it comes to such matters, I have, in the past few months, nabbed every book I could get my hands on.

These are ten of the most interesting books I’ve read this year. Some are older titles I stumbled on serendipitously, but most are either newly released or will be coming out soon.

Sin_Selected Poems of Forugh FarrokhzadSin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad
Iran’s stunningly gifted poet died too young, at 32. But in her brief career she breathed life into the country’s modernist movement, eschewing a long tradition of poetic conservatism in favor of frank explorations of sexuality and powerful indictments of bureaucratic oppression. Sin is a beautiful cross-section of her work, and translator Sholeh Wolpe does an outstanding job of keeping the fire of the original text alight.

Ernest Hemingway_A BiographyErnest Hemingway: A Biography by Mary V. Dearborn
Regardless how you feel about Hemingway’s work, Mary Dearborn’s fascinating new biography is an enthralling chronicle of the writer’s life. The book presents an intimate, immensely well-researched portrait of a man who, capable of immense acts of literary and personal grandeur, eventually falls prey to his own myth-making. This book is set to hit shelves May 16.

SpoilsSpoils by Brian Van Reet
Ironically, given the title of my debut novel, I honestly don’t like war stories that much – or at least not ones about contemporary wars. But Spoils is the rare exception. Set in Iraq and telling the dual stories of a captured U.S. soldier and a disillusioned jihadist, it’s a wondrously nuanced book. Van Reet offers none of the bang-bang breathlessness that so often accompanies contemporary descriptions of war. Instead, there is something deeply human here – a story concerned first and foremost with the souls of those who find themselves protagonists in history’s darkest chapters. This book is set to hit shelves April 18. Continue reading

Books Authors Read with Martha Hall Kelly

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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

Books Authors Read with Tim Dorsey

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Editor’s Note: We are pleased to welcome New York Times -bestselling author Tim Dorsey to our Dallas Flagship store Saturday, March 4 at 5 p.m. to discuss the latest edition of the Serge A. Storm series, Clownfish Blues. Before he stops by, we asked Tim to share some of the books he’s reading these days. (More books to add to our constantly-growing “to be read” list) Enjoy!

The Deep Blue Good-by – The Godfather of Florida crime fiction, John D. MacDonald, The Deep Blue Good-by introduces the world to knight-errant Travis McGee. Continue reading