Candy & Books: A Sweet Pairing

There’s nothing I like better than a good book. Well, except a good book and some chocolate. Or something a little tart. Okay fine, I love candy, and I love books. Since it is October, I have plenty of each! What better way to celebrate this fun month than pairing candy and books?

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Candy Pairing: Payday

Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Pairing 1Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job—any job—could be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. She worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly “unskilled,” that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety and surprising generosity. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich’s perspective and for a rare view of how “prosperity” looks from the bottom.

Pair this critical book that is still relevant today with a Payday to appreciate the fact that millions of Americans have to work full-time, year-round from payday to payday just to survive.

Bossypants by Tina Fey
Candy Pairing: Snickers

Pairing 2Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning paragraph to the final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

Pair with a Snickers bar because you will not be able to contain your laughter while reading this classic, humorous account of Tina Fey’s life, as well as behind-the-scenes stories from her hit shows! Continue reading

Cozy Up with These New Books

Cooler weather, big comfy sweaters and blankets, mugs of hot tea or chocolate and the scent of apples drifting in the air—yes, it’s time for fall! There are many ways to celebrate the arrival of fall, but our favorite is to curl up with a good book. Thankfully, there are plenty of new releases for you to cozy up with this season. Read on to discover our top picks for fall reading, and why they make the perfect read!

This list got pretty long, so if you want to skip ahead you can click for Fiction, or for Nonfiction or for Teen!

Fiction

Let’s start with some fantastic fiction reads—books that will make you light a candle and drink some cider.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter – Kate Morton
Kate Morton is the master of historical fiction, and this book proves her exceptional skills. Grab your blanket and descend into the summer of 1862. Discover a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe as they descend upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared, a priceless heirloom is missing and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins. There’s nothing better than a thrilling historical mystery to put you in the fall mood! This book will be on shelves October 9.

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Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program Check-In

fyb-thumbnailWe’re about halfway through our summer reading program, Feed Your Brain®! Summer is an important time for your little ones to keep reading and improving their language skills. Children who don’t read regularly during the summer may be in danger of the “summer slide,” a decline in their reading ability. This decline can have major repercussions as students get older and advance through the school system. But don’t fret! Avoiding the “summer slide” is easy. Just Feed Your Brain all summer long with fun and interesting books from Half Price Books!

Kids 14 & Under
Kids 14 and under can participate in the Feed Your Brain® program by picking up a reading log at your local Half Price Books or downloading a copy online. Children are encouraged to read at least 15 minutes each day. A parent reading to young children does count as part of reading at least 15 minutes each day. Once your child has read 300 minutes, stop by your local Half Price Books to turn in your completed log and earn $5 Bookworm Bucks in both June and July. You can then use these Bookworm Bucks to purchase even more books! We love seeing children reading and hope that this incentive program not only encourages them to read in the summer but also helps you create your own little library full of purchases from your local Half Price Books.

Teens
In recent years, we have expanded the Feed Your Brain® program to include teens (after all, why should kids have all the fun?)! For this portion of the program, we challenge teens to write and submit a review online about one of the books they read this summer. We’ll then email you a barcode to show at your local Half Price Books, which will earn you $5 Bookworm Bucks!

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A Celebration of the Quiet Beatle

The extremely talented lead guitarist of the Beatles, George Harrison, would have turned 75 this year on February 25. Although he passed away in 2001, Harrison’s legacy continues to thrive. George was the youngest of the Beatles, and was often referred to as “the quiet Beatle” since he wasn’t as boisterous as Paul or John. His talent for playing guitar, singing and composing music made him a legendary contributor to the music scene and how “classic rock” is viewed today. His appreciation of the Indian classic style and focus on universal love would stay with him throughout his lifetime. In honor of this rock god’s (and my personal favorite Beatle) birthday, here are some of the more well-known songs he composed.

“Don’t Bother Me”
This song was featured on the second Beatles album, With the Beatles. It was released in the U.K. on November 22, 1963 and a year later in the states. It was George’s first official Beatles song. He wrote it while he was sick in bed at a hotel room. He considered it an exercise in whether or not he could actually write a song.  The Beatles never performed the song live or at any of their BBC sessions, but it sparked Harrison’s desire to compose future songs.  The melancholy lyrics weren’t standard Beatles style, but they would eventually became a characteristic of a George Harrison song.

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Books and Beverages to Cozy Up With

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is from one of our special HPB contributors, Shelbi from The Nobby Life. Take it away, Shelbi! 


One of my favorite things about autumn (only one, mind you, because I have many favorite things about this season!) is the pairing of books and cozy beverages on crisp autumnal days. Whether the sun is out or it’s raining, I love finding a good spot by a big window and watching the vast sky meets the tops of the low Texas trees. With a warm beverage in one hand and a book in the other, I can’t think of anything that symbolizes autumn for me more than steaming cups and warming stories. I’ve paired a few of my favorites and I hope you will enjoy them!

Chai + a Good Mystery
Spicy & mellow, mysterious and engrossing, a steaming chai latte and Sherlock Holmes are a perfect pairing. In A Study in Scarlet, the first mystery in the detective series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes meets his faithful sidekick, Dr. Watson, and the two are called upon to investigate a mystery in a south London house revolving around a dead man whose contorted face is a twisted mask of horror. If you want some good, old-fashioned thrills relating to a tragic tale, this book is for you.

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The Completely Normal List of Absurd Books

Embrace the ridiculous and absurd today because on November 20th, it’s National Absurdity Day! On this holiday, we should rejoice in the illogical, unreasonable or nonsensical. Life has absurd moments, why shouldn’t we celebrate them? A wonderful way to do so is to incorporate the absurd in your literature collection. Read on to discover a completely normal list of definitively absurd books!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
charlieandthechocfactoryBoth this book and its sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, are rich in humor and the absurd. Dahl’s imagination runs wild as the story unfurls in a strange chocolate factory owned by an eccentric. These oddball fantasy novels include such strange events as a girl blowing up into a blueberry from sneaking forbidden chewing gum, children being carried away on rivers of chocolate, a group being launched into space in a great glass elevator and other bouts of madness. This story has a sweet lesson to get across, which is that children who try their hardest to be good and to avoid those common temptations (gluttony, greed, envy, etc.) will be rewarded.

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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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A Working List of Labor Day Books

Labor Day is the day we celebrate and honor the contributions of the American Labor Movement but for many of us, Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer. We often celebrate Labor Day by grilling, swimming and relaxing with friends and family. Did you know, however,  that this holiday weekend has only been an official U.S. holiday since 1894? So while you enjoy your day off, check out these books about why this glorious Monday is a national holiday!

The Jungle_Upton SinclairThe Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Part of the labor movement’s biggest improvements came from the response to the writings of investigative journalists. Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle to expose the harsh working conditions for American factory workers, particularly women and children. The book did more than just that, however. It also revealed the horrific condition of American slaughterhouses. Meat production facilities had severe issues that could easily lead to contamination. The public’s outrage led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act 1907 and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. While Sinclair unintentionally helped current Americans feel assured of the safe conditions of their foods, he was disappointed by the public’s response to his book. He had originally wanted to highlight the poor conditions of the workers, not the poor conditions of the food in the factories.

Death in Haymarket_James GreenDeath in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America by James Green
This book is a fascinating read! It is a study of the 1886 Haymarket bombing at a Chicago labor rally that killed several police officers. Occurring in the midst of the largest national strike Americans had ever seen, the bombing created mass hysteria and led to a sensational trial, which culminated in four controversial executions. The trial seized headlines across the country, created the nation’s first Red Scare and dealt a blow to the labor movement from which it would take decades to recover. In this book, James Green recounts the rise of the first great labor movement in the wake of the Civil War and brings to life the epic twenty-year battle for the eight-hour workday. He shows how the movement overcame numerous setbacks to orchestrate a series of strikes that swept the country in 1886, positioning the unions for a hard-won victory on the eve of the Haymarket tragedy. Blending a gripping narrative, outsized characters and a panoramic portrait of a major social movement, Death in the Haymarket is an important addition to the history of American capitalism and a moving story about the class tensions at the heart of Gilded Age America. Continue reading

Stuck in the Middle: Celebrating the Best Middle Children in Books, Movies and TV

Hey there middle children of the world! August 12th is Middle Child Day, and we want to celebrate with you by listing some of our favorite middle children from books, movies and TV shows! That’s right middle siblings, you haven’t been forgotten. Read on to discover some of the funniest, strongest and sweetest middle children you’ll have the pleasure of getting to know!

Fred & George Weasley from the Harry Potter series
Of course we have to start the list with these two. Everyone’s favorite set of twins (and overall favorite Weasleys) are middle children who show us all how to rock the middle child role. Between stressing their mother out, playing pranks on their other siblings and bringing laughter into an occasionally-dark series, Fred and George are a perfect example of why middle children rock. As middle children, they are definitely scene stealers. Remember their final prank at Hogwarts? Yes, it fills us with fondness too.

weasley twins

Dawn Weiner from Welcome to the Dollhouse
The entire movie Welcome to the Dollhouse is based around that stereotypical middle child syndrome. But we appreciate what an awesome middle child Dawn Weiner is! This low budget, independently produced film speaks to the feelings of being a pre-teen outcast and is unfortunately relatable for many middle children. Dealing with issues with a wry humor, Dawn has become a cult favorite middle child who represents all of us exasperated with life in general.

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Books Authors Read with Ian Harding

HPB-BAR-IanHarding

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to welcome Ian to our Flagship location in Dallas on Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. for a meet & greet in honor of his new book, Odd Birds. We hope to see you there! In the meantime, we asked Ian to share some of his favorite books with us as part of our Books Authors Read blog series – enjoy!


h is for hawk
H Is for Hawk
by Helen MacDonald

I blazed through this book, which is shocking considering it chronicles one woman’s attempt at overcoming grief by learning falconry with a goshawk. In some way it encouraged me to write Odd Birds, since Helen MacDonald uses the bird as a lens through which to view her life.


the tigers wife

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht
I canceled a very important audition so that I could finish this book. Obrecht is a mystery master in that she managed to weave personal history and folklore into the same tale, showing that the questions asked by an entire culture are often the same as the deep questions we ask ourselves.

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