Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20th Anniversary

Editor’s Note: This blog entry is guest authored by Helen W. from the HPB wholesale division, Texas Bookman.  Enjoy!

Buffy Summers saved the world, a lot.  She did it with style and strength, but also with the genuine vulnerability of a teenage girl in an overwhelming situation. 20 years ago this month, Buffy aired its first episode and I was immediately hooked. I was older than the intended audience to be sure, but she spoke to me anyway.  With Joss Whedon at the reins, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has given us some of the best quotes of the 90s. Below are some of my favorites.

Cookies
“OK, I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking. I’m not finished becoming whatever the hell it is I’m gonna turn out to be. I make it through this, and the next thing, and the next thing, and… maybe one day I turn around and realize I’m ready. I’m cookies. And then, you know, if I want someone to eat— or enjoy warm, delicious cookie me, then, that’s fine. That’ll be then. When I’m done.” – Buffy

I love you.gif
“When I say ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman. You’re the one, Buffy.” – Spike Continue reading

Books Authors Read with David Sax

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Editor’s Note: We’re pretty passionate about the topic of David Sax’s latest book, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, where he dives into the truth about how humans shop, interact and think. It’s a blend of culture and psychology, serving up Sax’s observations and research about digital aspects of life and the real world around it. If you missed it, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with David here on the blog and learn about the inspiration behind the book.

We continue our “Books Authors Read” series with culture and business journalist David Sax. When we recently interviewed him, we took the opportunity to ask him about his favorite types of books and gave him a chance to spread a little book karma around for his fellow authors. Here are five books he enjoyed reading (some recently and some not so recently) and why. Thanks for sharing these with us, David! Continue reading

Before They Can Read: 12 Enchanting Picture Books for Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week

If you’re asking yourself, “When should I start reading to my baby?” the answer is today. It’s never too soon. Reading to your infant contributes to early development as they observe your mannerisms, listen to your speech, build motor skills and soak in all the colors and shapes. Trust me – you’ll blink, and your infant will soon be a toddler who can hardly sit still. But if you’ve started the routine of sitting down together to read, you’ll be able to carry this over into the preschool years and get a nice cuddle while you read new books together each day.

For little ones who can’t yet read on their own, illustrations in books are the heart of engaging imagination and captivating attention. Children’s literature is rich with beautiful art that can help a child develop a love of books (just as soon as they pass the stage in infancy where nibbling on the book is the primary intrigue).

As adults who are reading aloud to your kids, I believe it’s important that you enjoy the book, too, if for no other reason than it means you’re more likely to read it over and over again, making story time a cherished ritual with your kiddos. While there are some amazing classic children’s books which classic children’s books which every child should read, here are some children’s picture books you may not have heard of before that will inspire and get you (and your babes and tots) hooked on reading more books. What a perfect way to celebrate Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week. I’ve opened up 12 of my daughter’s recent favorites so you can see a peek at the delicious illustrations inside.

Bunny Roo, I Love You, written by Melissa Marr (@melissa_marr) and illustrated by Teagan White (@teaganwhite), is a playful and sweet book about how parents keep their little ones feeling safe and secure. The enchanting illustrations add to the warmth of the story, perfectly placed with the hand lettered words on each page. I also appreciate the whimsy of the pattern on the flyleaf. And should you ever lose the book jacket, have no fear, because the darling illustrations appear on the hardbound cover, too.

1-bunny-roo-open-book-illustrator-teagan-white.png Continue reading

Exclusive Interview with David Sax, author of The Revenge of Analog

“A funny thing happened on the way to the digital utopia. We’ve begun to fall back in love with the very analog goods and ideas the tech gurus insisted that we no longer needed. Businesses that once looked outdated, from film photography to brick-and-mortar retail, are now springing with new life. Notebooks, records and stationery have become cool again. Behold the Revenge of Analog. David Sax has uncovered story after story of entrepreneurs, small business owners and even big corporations who’ve found a market selling not apps or virtual solutions but real, tangible things. As e-books are supposedly remaking reading, independent bookstores have sprouted up across the country. As music allegedly migrates to the cloud, vinyl record sales have grown more than ten times over the past decade. Even the offices of tech giants like Google and Facebook increasingly rely on pen and paper to drive their brightest ideas.”

06booksax-blog427David Sax, business and culture writer and author of The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, just released his book November 2016. And in a fitting nod to the whole notion behind the book, nearly all the 20,000 first-run printed copies have sold out in the first month and it’s difficult to find the few that remain on bookstore shelves. Pop in your local HPB and grab a copy before they all disappear!

When I heard David speak on KERA’s Think with Krys Boyd, there was no mistaking his passion for the printed word. And I knew right away I needed to reach out to him firsthand. David is a champion of analog and an advocate for local bookstores. His love for tangible things is palpable. Things like 35mm film, old-fashioned bookbindery, vinyl records and brick-and-mortar shopping. I had the pleasure of getting to know David and learn more about the inspiration behind his latest book.

Q: What drew you to write about this topic?

A: Two things that sort of happened at the same time, a decade back.  1. Everyone I knew started getting smartphones (Blackberries…remember those?), and suddenly people’s behavior changed overnight.  2. I got back into records again, and those two things sparked a conversation about the nature of analog v. digital that eventually led to the book as the market caught up with it, too. Continue reading

Better Year, Better You: 24 Books for Your 2017 New Year’s Resolution

With the start of a new year, one can feel renewed with hope. Or, perhaps motivation. It’s a chance to better yourself, to start new habits or quit old ones. To pick up a new hobby or challenge yourself to face your fears. There’s a wealth of inspiration in store for you at Half Price Books. Whatever quest you’re on in 2017, books can help you reach your goal. Check out some of these nonfiction titles to help you with your New Year’s resolutions.

Are you determined to shed a few pounds? Eat a little healthier? Eat a lot healthier? Or find new ways to cope with the pain of a chronic illness? Here are some new books our buyers recommend to guide you on your quest to better health and fitness.1-better-year-better-you-books-for-health-fitness

1) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, 2) The Whole30 Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Totally Compliant Recipes to Help You Succeed with The Whole30 and Beyond by Melissa Hartwig, 3) Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Blood Type Diet Solution by Peter J. D’Adamo and Catherine Whitney, 4) The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole Body Wellness by Frank Lipman and Danielle Claro, 5) The Melt Method: A Breakthrough Self-Treatment System to Eliminate Chronic Pain, Erase the Signs of Aging, and Feel Fantastic in Just 10 Minutes a Day! by Sue Hitzmann and Debbie Karch, 6) Eat Clean Stay Lean: The Diet: Real Foods for Real Weight Loss by Wendy Bazilian. Continue reading

Stuff Your Stockings like Ol’ St. Nick

Could you imagine if your entire Christmas bounty fit into a wooden shoe? Americans tend to view stockings as a fun appetizer to the feast of Christmas presents that follow. But in some countries, the Christmas stocking or clog itself is the main event, staying true to the tradition’s origin.

This ritual is believed to trace back to the German legend of a rich man named Nicholas and a poor widower who couldn’t afford dowries for his three unwed daughters. Wanting to help, Nicholas tossed three bags of gold through an open window at night, which landed in the stockings drying on the fireplace. As the story spread, children began putting out their own stockings or clogs, filled with carrots and hay for Nicholas’ reindeer, waiting for him to replace their bribes with small gifts. Today in America, stockings have become bigger and the contents vary by family tradition — some stuffing them with whimsical toys, while others prefer practical gifts like tube socks.

This year my family will celebrate the season with our first-ever fireplace. And our new mantel is just begging for a row of cheerfully-knit stockings. So naturally, I’m on the prowl for excellent stocking stuffer gift ideas. If you’re on the hunt like me, you’ll appreciate this round up of pocket-sized gift ideas, perfectly suited for stockings for all ages. Best of all, you can find them all at Half Price Books and it won’t break the bank since there are countless gifts under $10. From always-in-style traditional gifts like journals, planners and stationery, to pop-culture hits like comic book figures, keychains, magnets and collectibles.

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What will you fill your stockings with this year?

Celebrating 65 Years of “I Love Lucy” with 10 Iconic On-Screen Lucy Moments

65 years ago today “I Love Lucy” aired it’s first episode.

If you’ve never seen an episode of “I Love Lucy” …then you’ve got some ‘splaying to do! But here are the basics – Starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley, the show followed the antics of a mischievous, red-headed housewife who wanted so desperately to be in show business like her husband, Cuban musician Ricky Ricardo.

What you may not know is that “I Love Lucy” was actually based on a radio program from 1948 called “My Favorite Husband” which starred Lucille Ball with actor Dick Denning playing the role of her husband. But when CBS bought the rights to the show, Lucille insisted on recasting her real-life husband Desi in the TV show.

“I Love Lucy” was a pioneer of television sitcoms for many reasons. Lucille Ball paved the way for strong-female leads, producers and comedians for decades that followed her – stars like Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and many more. In it’s day, “I Love Lucy” was also a ground-breaking on social norms, portraying an on-screen interracial marriage, and later an on-screen pregnancy. In fact, the network prohibited the use of the word “pregnant” so the show’s writers used the French word “enceinte.” Continue reading

The Best of Film Legend Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn was a movie star unlike any other, starring in 50 films across seven decades, earning herself 12 Oscar nominations and four wins. You can tell by her portrayal of characters on screen that she herself had a sort of fierceness about her – an undeniable spirit, spunk and wit, an eccentric charm and an air of defiance. She was talented and edgy, playing a range of genres from screwball comedies like Bringing Up Baby (1938) to powerful dramas like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). Katharine starred opposite some of the great leading men of the Hollywood’s Golden Age (1930s to 1960s), like Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and Jimmy Stewart. She pioneered a path of independence and opportunity for women in Hollywood. In 1991, she released her successful autobiography, simply entitled Me. When she died in 2003 at the age of 96, Katharine left some very large shoes to fill. Katharine remains a hallmark of classic Hollywood cinema.

In celebration of her film legacy (and just in time for the anniversary of her birth on May 12th), here is a must-watch list of Katharine’s finest appearances on the silver screen.

  1. Desk Set (1957)

Desk Set Continue reading

10 Things We Can Learn From Fred Rogers to Celebrate Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day

In honor of Fred Rogers’ birth, March 20 is Be My Neighbor Day.

Generations of children – anyone growing up in the 70s, 80s or 90s – likely watched the public television children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood or was influenced by Fred Rogers work. Through his soft-spoken words, delightful songs and whimsical puppets, he imparted countless life lessons.

Here’s my simple roundup of 10 things we can all learn from Mister Rogers, regardless of our age.

1. We should feel all the feelings.
Our feelings – happiness, sadness, anger and frustration – are all part of who we are. By acknowledging our feelings, it’s easier “…to make constructive choices about what to do with those feelings.” Be honest with yourself and how you feel about a situation or problem. Mister Rogers also said, “It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.”

2. We should surround ourselves with people who appreciate us just as we are.
Mister Rogers’ uplifting song lyrics said it so simply, “It’s not the things you wear. It’s not the way you do your hair. But it’s you I like, the way you are right now, the way down deep inside you […] I hope you’ll remember even when you’re feeling blue that it’s you I like…”

 3. We should not let any person demean us or those around us.
Part of the reason Fred Rogers chose to get into television was to change what was on the air for the greater good. He said, “I saw people throwing pies in each other’s faces, and that’s such demeaning behavior. And if there’s anything that bothers me, it’s one person demeaning another.”

 4. We find success through kindness.
It’s a simple philosophy for life that Fred Rogers shared with all of us. He believed, “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

5. We find success by doing what we love.
Find the work that you love, in a place that brings you joy, and then do that work to the best of your abilities. In a commencement address, Mister Rogers once said, “The thing I remember best about the truly successful people I’ve met is their obvious delight in what they do. Such honest, enthusiastic living of their lives.”

 6. We possess such power with imagination.
Have you ever grown anything in the garden of your mind? Enjoy this brilliant Mister Rogers remix of “Garden of Your Mind” – video courtesy of PBS Digital Studios.

7. We can always find help.
Mister Rogers firmly believed that we should reach out to others when we needed help. He reassured us that we were not alone and there was someone there to talk to about our feelings. He once shared, “When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

 8. We are all a product of those who have loved us.
The nurturing encouragement and support of those around us shapes our view of the world and our view of ourselves. Those people “loved us into being.” As Fred Rogers said, “Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”

 9. We all may have regrets, but you just have to move forward.
Even Fred Rogers had regrets. When talking about his show, he said, “I awoke one morning around 1981 and was struct with the sudden realization that it had been a terrible idea to name the mailman ‘Mr. McFeely.’ By then, though, it was far too late. Far too late.”

 10. We should make the most of the present.
In Fred’s own way, he espoused Carpe Diem. From the familiar theme song of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” come these lyrics – “…Let’s make the most of this beautiful day…”

The legacy of Fred Rogers lives on for another generation to enjoy with the PBS show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood which is geared towards preschoolers. Just as Fred Rogers did, the new animated cast of Daniel Tiger in his land of make believe are teaching young children life lessons through catchy tunes and catch phrases. The engaging episodes teach great early lessons for toddlers about safety, emotions, sharing and more. Just watch a few episodes and before long you and your tots will be able to sing along – “stop and listen to stay safe,” “grown ups come back,” “try new foods ‘cause they might taste good,” and “keep trying, you’ll get better.”

Have a beautiful day, neighbors!

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

Books Can Take You Places: Paris, France

Half Price Books encourages you to travel more in 2016. Not the kind of travel that involves airplanes, passports and hotels, but the easier, more affordable kind — where you open a great book and let it take you somewhere.Paris-Travel-Sticker

Throughout 2016 we’ll share about the world’s great destinations, along with our recommendations for the books, movies and music that will help you get there. This month’s stop is Paris, France.

For centuries, the city of Paris has been a mecca for artists. Writers, painters and musicians from all over the world have spent time here, perhaps most notably during the first half of the 20th century. The lingering presence of these giants, including the American expatriates of the so-called Lost Generation, can be felt in the cafes and bars where they wined, dined and worked.

HOW TO GET THERE

Amélie An American in Paris • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein • The Best of Erik Satie Breathless Charade Histoire de Melody Nelson, Serge Gainsbourg • La Vie En Rose: The Very Best of Edith Piaf • Les Misérables, Victor Hugo • Midnight in Paris A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway • Paris to the Moon, Adam Gopnik • The Paris Wife, Paula McLain • The Quintessential Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Gertrude Stein’s home at 27 rue de Fleurus was a gathering spot for the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Picasso.
  • The popularity of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame effectively shamed the City of Paris into restoring the neglected Notre-Dame Cathedral.
  • Left Bank café Les Deux Magots was a favorite hangout of the city’s literary and intellectual elite, including surrealist artists and existentialist philosophers.
  • In 1928, Ernest Hemingway stashed two trunks of notebooks in the Ritz Hotel basement. They remained there until 1956, when he retrieved them and used them as the basis for A Moveable Feast, a memoir of his Paris years.
  • American expatriate writers met and sometimes crashed at Shakespeare & Company, a bookstore owned by Sylvia Beach, who also published James Joyce’s Ulysses when no other publisher would.

If you don’t want to miss a stop on this journey, join the Half Price Books Booklovers Survey Club and we’ll send you an email each month with a new city alongside a quick survey. Plus, you’ll receive coupons to save throughout the year when you travel to your favorite Half Price Books.

Bon voyage!

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