Enter to Win a $100 Gift Card for your School Library!

 

Attention, parents and educators! HPB wants to help your children’s school libraries! Now through Sunday, February 16, 2014, register at www.hpb.com/schools and tell us how your school would use a $100 HPB gift card to enhance your school library. We’ll randomly select one winner from each of our 36 markets on March 4, 2014.

And stay tuned, because all registered schools will be invited to a Half Pint Library giveaway in their area later this spring. Last year, with the help of our generous customers’ donations, HPB gave away nearly 300,000 children’s books nationwide to local schools and nonprofit organizations during our 15th annual Half Pint Library Book Drive. Here are just a few ways the donated books helped build Half Pint Libraries across the country in 2013:

  • Used to start a Young Adult reading nook in Houston, Texas
  • Supporting a Read Around the World program in Seattle, Washington
  • Summer reading rewards in Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Resources for youth art therapy groups in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Operation Santa gifts in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Therapy for special needs children in Chicago, Illinois
  • Literacy instruction in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • ESL programs in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Book exchanges in Columbus, Ohio

In 2014, we’re excited to partner with our customers to get even more books into the hands of children who need them the most. This year’s Half Pint Library Book Drive runs February 16-March 31, 2014. During that time, drop off your new or gently used children’s book at any Half Price Books location.

After the drive is complete, Half Price Books will match each book donated as part of our Million Book Donation Project and will distribute the books at special giveaway events in each of our markets in the spring. Stay tuned to hpb.com/halfpint for a giveaway event near you!

P.S. Educators, don’t forget to sign-up for our Educator Discount Card at hpb.com/edu for 10% off your purchases year-round! — Kate

Autumn Pairings: Fall Drinks & Novels

Now that the weather is (finally) cooling down, there’s no better time to curl up with a good book while taking slow, measured sips of autumn-in-a-mug. Not sure what to read while enjoying your favorite fall refreshment? Here are a few pairing suggestions to get you started.

(1) If your go-to harvest beverage is a Pumpkin Spice Latte, try sipping it alongside The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. This short story is a fitting read for October, and the pumpkin in your cup is sure to taste better than the one encountered by the unfortunate schoolmaster Ichabod Crane.

(2) Enjoy the cozy flavors of Earl Grey Tea? Brew a mug while rereading Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The Mad Hatter’s tea party will prepare you for get-togethers with the eccentric relatives that you’re about to see during the holiday season, and the soothing bergamot oil in Earl Grey will help you keep your head around the Queen of Hearts.

(3) Nothing evokes the chilly evenings and colorful leaves of fall quite like the aroma of apple cider. Inhale a mug of it with John Irving’s The Cider House Rules, and imagine yourself picking apples in Maine’s orchards alongside the novel’s earnest protagonist, Homer Wells.

(4) If you’re sipping a candy corn cordial while waiting for trick-or-treaters this October 31st, why not complement the experience with Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree? This fantasy novel follows a group of costumed children who travel through time to save a friend and learn about the origins of Halloween in the process. While written for younger readers, this is a great pick for adults who want to learn more about the holiday’s history and related traditions in other cultures.

(5) Add some sci-fi spice to your fall with the unexpected pairing of chai tea and Dune by Frank Herbert. The extremely valuable melange spice of the planet Arrakis blends well with the peppery combination of cardamom, ginger, and star anise in masala chai, and you’ll appreciate not having to brave giant sandworms and inhospitable deserts for your fix.

(6) Yo-ho-ho and hot buttered rum – take a nip of this cool-weather classic while adventuring with Jim Hawkins and the pirates from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Just don’t drink too much, or you may have trouble following the map to the buried gold.

Do you have a favorite fall beverage to warm you up while settling down with a good book? Let us know in the comments! — Kate 

 

Get Lost (with these new fiction titles)!


With the dog days of summer in full swing, you may be feeling a little claustrophobic, restless, or even trapped waiting for temperatures to drop. When the heat is too oppressive to do much of anything else, why not escape into a great new book?  Stop by your local HPB today and check out a few of our new fiction picks to help you dodge the doldrums of summer.

•  Want to get lost in a fast-paced crime thriller? If you like JD Robb’s In Death series or Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper novels, try Bombshell by Catherine Coulter.

• Suspenseful paranormal romance more your style? Check out Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton, especially if you’re a fan of Cynthia Eden’s vampire series or Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark.

City of Bones is the first installment in the YA Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and is a great choice for teen readers who love Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy or the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

• For fans of Philippa Gregory’s historical novels The Red Queen & The Other Boleyn Girl, The White Princess will be a perfect follow-up. Also check out this new release if you enjoyed Sarah Dunant’s The Birth of Venus or In the Company of a Courtesan.

• Can’t get enough of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon thrillers? Couldn’t put down Dan Brown’s Inferno? Try Brad Thor’s new political page-turner, Hidden Order.

Have you gotten lost with any of our new fiction picks yet?  What’s been your perfect summer escape this season? — Kate 

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Royal Baby Watch – Famous Babies of Literature

The other Duchess’ baby (drawing by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland)At the time of this post, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is in labor (or labour, if you’re across the pond) with her first child and heir to the throne of England. In honor of the new addition to the royal line (and to tide us over until the #royalbaby watch subsides), we here at HPB HQ have been mulling over memorable babies from literature and have rounded up a list of ten whose infancy is mentioned at least briefly in their respective novels. As an added bonus, since the soon-to-be mum has thus far been mum on possible names, perhaps she could consider a few of these – just in case she needs a bit of inspiration.

For a little princess…

  1. Pearl – Hester Prynne & Arthur Dimmesdale’s baby in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Baby name meaning: pearl, precious
  2. Anna – Anna Karenina & Aleksei Vronsky’s baby in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna KareninaBaby name meaning: gracious, merciful
  3. Bonnie Blue – Scarlett O’Hara & Rhett Butler’s baby in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Baby name meaning: pretty, good
  4. Bess – Amy March & Theodore “Laurie” Laurence’s baby in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Baby name meaning: oath of God
  5. Pammy – Daisy & Tom Buchanan’s baby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Baby name meaning: honey, sweetness

For a little prince…

  1. Arthur – Igraine & Uther Pendragon’s baby in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Baby name meaning: bear, bear-like
  2. Tarzan (aka John) – Alice & John Clayton’s baby (but adopted as an infant by she-ape Kala) in Tarzan of the Apes. Baby name meaning (John): God is Gracious
  3. Albert – Merédès and Fernand Mondego’s baby in Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Baby name meaning: bright, noble, famous
  4. Mowgli – Mother & Father Wolf’s adopted baby in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Baby name meaning: (created for the novel)
  5. Harry – Lily & James Potter’s baby in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Baby name meaning: home ruler

With the Duchess due any moment now, there isn’t much time left to speculate on the future ruler’s name. Will Kate & William take a cue from the classics for their first baby’s name? Who are your favorite literary babies? — Kate 

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

In the mood for a marathon? Best TV shows for binges

Missing the first run of a TV show has never been so rewarding. Thanks to streaming services from companies like Netflix, along with ever better deals on DVD box sets, consumers can now binge on complete seasons (or the entire series) of all those shows that they never got around to watching, or the ones that they loved and want to watch over and over…and over. Gone are the days of waiting and wishing for networks to play reruns of old episodes; now you decide when to start and stop (or not stop) your personal marathon. Let’s take a look at some of the best options for your next TV bender.

1. Firefly (2002)

This Sci-Fi show only lasted one season, but spawned thousands of devoted fans (Browncoats), multiple comics, and the 2005 film Serenity. Each episode is filled with witty dialogue and thrilling action, and you’ll definitely want to watch more than one to find out what happens to Captain Reynolds and his crew.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 42 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (14 episodes): 10 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 10 hours

2. House of Cards (2013-)

The first season of this 2013 political thriller was released in its entirety on Netflix in February, leading many people with TV-addictive personalities to stream all 13 episodes without much of a break between segments. Major suspense & top-notch acting by actors like Kevin Spacey make for a most satisfying binge.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 50 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (13 episodes): 11 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 11 hours

3. Sherlock (2010-)

With only three episodes per season, this BBC series won’t take too long to marathon, but you might need to watch it more than once to catch all the subtle clues and solve the cases like Sherlock.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 90 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (3 episodes): 4.5 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 9 hours

4. 24 (2001-2010)

Spanning eight seasons, this show feels extremely fast-paced despite covering only 60 minutes of “real time” action per episode. After watching what Jack Bauer deals with on an hourly basis, you’ll be glad that you’re watching from the comfort of your own home (and on your own time).

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 43 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (24 episodes): 17 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 138 hours (139.5 hours if you include the TV movie Redemption)

5. Girls (2012-)

This racy HBO series isn’t for the faint-of-heart, but if you’ve lived through the uncertainty and awkwardness of your early twenties, this is a great series to binge on a season at a time. The episodes are bite-sized at only 30 minutes each, you won’t want to wait to find out what kind of crazy (and yet somehow totally believable) situations Hannah and her friends will find themselves facing next.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 30 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (10 episodes): 5 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 10 hours

6. Downton Abbey (2011-)

This one takes a little more initial patience than the others, but once you get sucked into this early 20th century BBC drama (and you will get sucked in), you’ll have a tough time not pressing “next” when the current episode ends. Packed with romance, tragedy, and the occasional laugh, this series revolving around the upstairs & downstairs inhabitants of an English estate has something for everyone.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 50 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (7 episodes, not including Christmas Specials): 6 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 20.5 hours (including two 90-minute Christmas Specials)

7. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)

Another great show that lasted only one season, this ultra-relatable high school series set in 1980 will make you cringe with familiarity at the universally embarrassing problems that plague freaks & geeks, nerds, jocks, and all other teenage cliques. And despite the awkwardness, you won’t be able to stop watching.

Planning your binge:

  • ·         Watch an episode: 44 minutes
  • ·         Watch a season (18 episodes): 13 hours
  • ·         Watch the whole series: 13 hours

I know I’ve only scratched the surface here; when it comes to TV indulgences, there are so many great binge options. Which are your favorite series to marathon? — Kate

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Who’s the Bravest One of All, Sci-Fi Edition (Top 59 Science Fiction Novels)

Hit your communicator badge and tell all your friends – the Half Price Books’ Tournament of Heroes is going on now! It’s up to you to decide who will reign supreme in this epic battle of Sci-Fi vs. Fantasy. Today let’s take a look at the heroes and heroines of Science Fiction. Whether they’re living in the future or an alternate universe, navigating time or space, or making & breaking alliances with aliens, robots or just other humans, there’s no doubt that the realm of Sci-Fi demands some serious champions.

Want to delve even deeper into the world of Science Fiction? Check out the top Sci-Fi novels as chosen by our HPB Bibliomaniacs.

1) Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card 2) Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury 3) Neuromancer, by William Gibson 4) Hyperion, by Dan Simmons 5) Dune, by Frank Herbert 6) The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury 7) Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein 8) 1984, by George Orwell 9) Ubik, by Philip K. Dick 10) The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury 11) Who Goes There?, by John W. Campbell, Jr. 12) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein 13) A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle 14) Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson 15) The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick 16) The Robots of Dawn, by Isaac Asimov 17) I Will Fear No Evil, by Robert A. Heinlein 18)
A Princess of Mars, by E. R. Burroughs 19) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams 20) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

21) Foundation, by Isaac Asimov 22) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick 23) Anathem, by Neal Stephenson 24) The Legacy of Heorot, by Larry Niven, Steve Barnes and Jerry Pournelle 25) Dark is the Sun, by Philip Jose Farmer 26) Off Armageddon Reef, by David Weber 27) Dying Inside, by Robert Silverberg 28) Watch on the Rhine, by John Ringo 29) Dies the Fire, by S. M. Stirling 30) Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi 31) Eye of the Pyramid, by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson 32) The Electric Church, by Jeff Somers 33) Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut 34) Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner 35) Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny 36) I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov 37) Armor, by John Steakley 38) Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula Le Guin 39) The Ship Who Sings, by Anne McCaffrey 40) The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell

41) War With the Newts, by Karel Capek 42) Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan 43) To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis 44) Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula Le Guin 45) The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis 46) Mockingbird, by Walter Tevis 47) This is the Way the World Ends, by James Morrow 48) Battle Cry, by Jack McKinney 49) Resurrection, by Arwen Elys Dayton 50) Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler 51) Grass, by Sheri Tepper 52) Kindred, by Octavia Butler 53) Dhalgren, by Samuel R. Delany 54) That Hideous Strength, by C.S. Lewis 55) Logan’s Run, by William Nolen & George Clayton Johnson 56) The White Mountains, by John Christopher 57) Fantastic Voyage, by Isaac Asimov 58) Ringworld, by Larry Niven 59) Robopocalypse, by Daniel H. Wilson

Is there a particular book or film that made you a die-hard Science Fiction fan?  Which ultimate Sci-Fi hero/heroine do you predict will face Fantasy’s final champion? — Kate

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Enter to Win a $100 Gift Card for your School Library!

Attention, parents and educators! HPB wants to help your children’s school libraries! Now through Sunday, February 17, 2013, register at http://www.hpb.com/schools and tell us how your school would use a $100 HPB gift card to enhance your school library. We’ll randomly select one winner from each of our 22 markets on March 4, 2013.

And stay tuned, because all registered schools will be invited to a Half Pint Library giveaway in their area later this spring. Last year, with the help of our generous customers’ donations, HPB gave away more than 340,000 children’s books nationwide to local schools and nonprofit organizations during our 14th annual Half Pint Library Book Drive. Here are just a few ways the donated books helped build Half Pint Libraries across the country in 2012:

–          Summer reading program incentives in Marion, Iowa

–          Reading materials for children’s health clinics in Indianapolis, Indiana

–          Donations for low-income families through food pantry & literacy programs in Naperville, Illinois

–          Books for a children’s reading area for a learning center in Kansas City, Kansas

–          Literacy program rewards in Lexington, Kentucky

–          After school tutoring resources in St. Paul, Minnesota

–          Prizes for a “Book Walk” at a festival in College Station, Texas

–          English Language instruction for Ecuadorian children through Camarones Community Coalition out of Madison, Wisconsin

In 2013, we’re excited to partner with our customers to get even more books into the hands of children who need them the most. This year’s Half Pint Library Book Drive runs February 17-March 31, 2013. During that time, drop off your new or gently used children’s book at any Half Price Books location.

After the drive is complete, Half Price Books will match each book donated as part of our Million Book Donation Project and will distribute the books at special giveaway events in each of our markets in the spring. Stay tuned to hpb.com/hpl for a giveaway event near you!

P.S. Educators, don’t forget to sign-up for our Educator Discount Card at www.hpb.com/educators for 10% off your purchases year-round! — Kate

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

 

Nine Notable Nom de Plumes

In honor of George Eliot’s (Mary Anne Evans) birthday today, let’s take a look at nine noteworthy literary pen names. Did you know these authors had “secret identities”?

           

Row 1: George Eliot – Best known for: Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871), Real name: Mary Anne Evans; Mark Twain – Best known for: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), Real name: Samuel Langhorne Clemens; Currer, Ellis & Acton Bell – Best known for (respectively): Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights & Agnes Grey (1847), Real names: Charlotte, Emily & Anne Bronte; George Orwell – Best known for: Animal Farm (1945), Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Real name: Eric Arthur Blair.

Row 2: Dr. Seuss – Best known for: The Cat in the Hat (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Real name: Theodore Geisel; Voltaire – Best known for: “Plato’s Dream” (1756), Candide (1759), Real name: François-Marie Arouet; O. Henry – Best known for: “The Gift of the Magi” (1906), Real name: William Sydney Porter; Pablo Neruda* – Best known for: Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (1924), Residencia en la tierra (1933), Real name: Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto *Legally adopted his pen name in 1946; Lewis Carroll – Best known for: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Through the Looking-Glass (1871), Real name: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

Most of the authors above chose to write under a pseudonym either because they wanted their work to be taken seriously (especially challenging for women before the 20th century), or because they were hiding from a possibly disapproving family member or society. Would you publish under a pen name (or do you already have one)? Let us know in the comments! – Kate

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Happy Birthday, Cary Elwes! Top Five Quotable Lines from The Princess Bride

Today is actor Cary Elwes 50th birthday, which conveniently coincides with the recent 25th anniversary of the film that made him a star (and the subject of many a teenage crush): The Princess Bride. Often lauded as one of the most quotable movies ever made, The Princess Bride was not an immediate box office hit when it debuted in 1987, but has since become a cult favorite (the book is also wonderful). Here are my picks for the top five most quotable lines from “not just your basic, average, everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, ho-hum fairy tale.”

1. “As you wish” – Westley

2. “Inconceivable!” – Vizzini

3. “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. – Inigo Montoya

4. “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is ‘never get involved in a land war in Asia’ – but only slightly less well-known is this: ‘Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line’!” – Vizzini

5. “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam…” – The impressive Clergyman

Bonus: “Have fun storming the castle!” – Miracle Max

So many of the lines from The Princess Bride are memorable – which are your favorites? If you haven’t seen it, do you know birthday boy Cary Elwes from any of his other roles (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Liar Liar, Twister, Saw)? Mr. Elwes, if you’re reading this, I’d really appreciate if you’d respond to my 1995 request for a signed picture of the Dread Pirate Roberts. Thank you.

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Top 10 Teachers from TV & Film

This weekend, we’re celebrating educators everywhere with Half Price Books’ Educator Appreciation Weekend. Teachers & Librarians save 20% on all their purchases Thursday through Monday when they shop with HPB and renew their Educator Discount Card.

Let’s kick off the appreciation by taking a look at some of our favorite fictional teachers from television and film, yearbook superlative style:

1. Best Substitute – Mr. Bergstrom, The Simpsons

Mr. Bergstrom is everything you’d want in a good substitute: intelligent, inspirational & good-looking with a fresh, unconventional teaching style and the voice of Dustin Hoffman.

2. Best Dressed – Mr. Schuester, Glee

While his main gig teaching Spanish might not be one of his great life passions, Mr. Schuester sure knows how to revitalize a Glee Program. He’s also the one to ask if you ever need to borrow a sweater vest.

3. Most Inspiring Professor Keating, Dead Poets Society

Is there anyone who didn’t take Poetry 101 in college in hopes that the professor would demand that students stand on top of their desks while reading Whitman? Tell me that you didn’t tear up when Professor Keating’s loyal and literarily enlightened students pledged their allegiance in the “O Captain! My Captain!” closing scene.

4. Most likely to fall in love with an undercover reporter posing as a studentMr. Coulson, Never Been Kissed

Another English teacher who made class worth attending, Mr. Coulson lectures on Shakespeare and wins the heart of Josie Gellar, a disguised journalist & former high school nerd trying to atone for her awkward teenage years.

5. Most likely to win on Jeopardy! AND Most likely to save you from a Vampire Apocalypse – Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Giles is the ultimate librarian. He’s a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge (with an emphasis on Dark Magic minutiae), and he teaches high school kids to fight vampires.

6. Most Free-Spirited – Mr. Rosso, Freaks & Geeks

As guidance counselor for a Detroit high school, not-so-former hippie and Alice Cooper enthusiast Mr. Rosso does his best to save high school students from making too many regrettable decisions before they turn eighteen.

7. Most likely to help you on a quest for supernatural relics – Dr. Henry Jones, Indiana Jones series

By day he’s a professor who can teach you everything there is to know about archaeology and ancient civilizations, and by night he’s a fedora-sporting, whip-cracking Nazi fighter.

8. Most likely to be your teacher forever – Mr. Feeny, Boy Meets World

Not only did Mr. Feeny teach Cory Matthews and friends in grade school, but he later became their high school principal and even their college professor later in the series. Oh, and he was the Matthews’ next door neighbor (of course). I suppose that made parent-teacher conferences super convenient?

9. Best Accent – Miss Bliss, Good Morning Miss Bliss (precursor to Saved by the Bell)

Sadly for Miss Bliss and her ultra-posh British accent, her show about a Midwest teacher trying to get through to the likes of Zack Morris and Screech Powers only lasted 13 episodes before being retooled into the much more successful Saved By the Bell.

10. Best role-model: Ms. Norbury, Mean Girls

If only more high school math teachers were as cool as Ms. Norbury. Not only is she the supremely witty supervisor for the Mathletes, she’s also patient and empathetic towards high school girls, who are possibly the least sympathetic creatures on Earth.

There are so many great educators in TV & Film; this list could go on forever. Who are your teacher top picks? And thanks to all the real-life educators who serve as inspiration for our fictional favorites with their year-round dedication and passion for teaching! — Kate

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.