Meet the Bibliomaniac: Kiki Baughman

We’re so lucky to have bibliomaniacs of many talents throughout the company. If you’ve ever had the chance to visit the Half Price Books Flagship in Dallas, you’ve probably seen some of the fun and unique displays around the store. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac, we’re pleased to introduce you to Kiki Baughman, Display Specialist at our Flagship and the mastermind behind all those awesome creations.


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Name: Kiki Baughman
Job Title: Display Specialist
Store Location: 001 Flagship

When did you join the HPB Team?
August 1 will be 11 years at HPB. 10 years and 9 months of that I have been a part of the Store Inventory Merchandiser team at 001 Flagship.

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
My favorite part would be that I get to be creative every day. Second favorite thing would be my co-workers. They are the best.

As a Display Specialist, what’s an average day like for you?
As the Display Specialist for 001 my days are very diverse. One day I may spend all day working on a custom display for a book signing. Another day might consist of planning the holiday decor for the store and ordering product. Another day is spent displaying merchandise and helping with a book signing. Continue reading

Why I Teach: 5 Books and Movies with Inspiring Educators

I’d like to introduce you all to Caitlyn! She’s a middle school teacher in North Texas (an amazing one at that) and a wonderful friend of mine. Check out her picks of books and movies that help her along her teaching journey.  Enjoy!  -Sam


I’m one of those brave individuals that has chosen [been called to] a career as a teacher. I didn’t sign on because I wanted to have my summers free (although it is a beautiful perk) and I certainly didn’t embark on this journey because I thought it’d be easy (because in fact, nothing could be further from the truth). But it is my joy and my privilege to impart some small bit of knowledge on a set of middle school students every year.

I find inspiration in almost everything, even this Starbucks I’m sitting in. I really like the seating arrangements in this space and I’m making notes – ha! The greatest source of inspiration for me comes from books and movies. They are my love language. After a difficult day, I know I can read a chapter or watch a few minutes of a favorite story and it’ll fill my sails for the next day.

These are five movies and books that have been a source of motivation and encouragement at some point in my career.

Dead Poets Society (starring Robin Williams)
O Captain! My Captain! If you’ve ever seen this gem, then you’re probably nodding your head in a very, Ahh…of course kind of way. Mr. Keating is one of the reasons I love poetry and why I find it essential to teach in a free kind of way – no right or wrong, but interpretation and feeling. This movie reminds me that each person has the right to explore their own identity – what brings them joy, inspires them and fulfills them. I teach Walt Whitman’s poem O Captain! My Captain to my 8th graders and I love showing them the clip from this movie with that iconic line. Mr. Keating encourages me to be a source of inspiration to my kiddos, showing them that they can make their lives extraordinary.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” Continue reading

You Know You’re a Booklover When…

A true booklover knows that National Book Lovers Day is every day, but to the rest of the world, it’s celebrated on August 9.  Now, we booklovers are guilty of doing things that might seem pretty strange to others, but we’re too busy with our nose between the pages to care.

We asked you guys (the HPB booklovers) on Facebook what your bookish quirks are. Here are some of the top answers and our favorite responses.

YOU KNOW YOU’RE A BOOKLOVER WHEN….

You spend your lunch break reading instead of eating.
You don’t need no stinking food! Well…maybe a little bit, but at least you’re feeding your brain with the sweet, sweet nectar of the newest bestseller.

Booklovers 1

Spreadsheets and lists are your new BFF.
It ain’t easy keeping all your book business in order. Books you’ve read, books you want to read, books you own…you know, so you don’t buy To Kill a Mockingbird for the millionth time. In the words of DJ Khaled…

booklovers 11 Continue reading

Books Can Take You Places: Seattle

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to Paris, France, San Francisco, California, with a detour to New Orleans, Louisiana then back across the pond to Rome, Italy. We’ve even been to  Chicago, Illinois, Tokyo, Japan and made a pit stop in Atlanta, Georgia. This month let’s explore all that Seattle, Washington has to offer.

SeattleNothing’s better on a rainy day than hanging out in a coffee shop reading, and Seattle has plenty of rain and coffee shops. Maybe that’s why it’s always near the top in rankings of America’s most literate cities. Lots of writers live in the area, from Tom Robbins to Erik Larsen and Maria Semple. Seattle’s music history includes Jimi Hendrix, who was born here, and Quincy Jones, who spent his teen years here, but it is best known for 90s alternative bands like Nirvana.

I visited Seattle for the first time last year and it was amazing! Of course, it rained but that didn’t stop me from checking out all the city had to offer. I saw the entire city from the top of the Space Needle. (Although I REALLY wanted to see the snow cap of Mount Rainer but it was too cloudy.) I also got to walk through Pike Place, which was bustling with people and entertainment all around. To top everything off, we took a pit stop at Kerry Park at sunset, which was worth the drive…what a view!

kerry park

HOW TO GET THERE

book The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein • music-note-21 Badmotorfinger, Soundgarden • book Black Hole, Charles Burns • book The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke music-note-21 Dirt, Alice in Chains • slate_film-512 The Fabulous Baker Boys slate_film-512 It Happened at the World’s Fair music-note-21 The Moon & Antarctica, Modest Mouse •  music-note-21 Nevermind, Nirvana • slate_film-512 The Parallax Viewslate_film-512 Say Anythingbook Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle, Murray Morgan • slate_film-512 Sleepless in Seattlebook Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson • music-note-21 Ten, Pearl Jam • book Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple

 DID YOU KNOW?

  • The Blue Moon is a legendary watering hole favored by Seattle writers like the poet Theodore Roethke, who celebrated winning the Pulitzer Prize there in 1953. The adjacent alley was named Roethke Mews in honor of Roethke, who taught nearby at the University of Washington.
  • Seattle-based record label Sub Pop, founded in 1988, helped popularize grunge music by being the first to sign area bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney.
  • In the early 1950s, Quincy Jones and Clint Eastwood were both music students at Seattle University.
  • Seattle’s EMP Museum, formerly known as the Experience Music Project, is a nonprofit museum devoted to popular culture, and is also home to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

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.

Until next time!

Sam is Public Relations Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

 

Give the Gift of Reading: 7 Books for Your Middle Grade Reader

Author Kate Hannigan and some of her awesome author friends stopped by our Dallas Flagship store in September as part of a Middle Grade Mania author panel. We asked Kate to share with us her gift recommendations for the holidays.

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Though I write for children, I do actually take a break and read grownup books: Girl Waits With Gun and Boy, Snow, Bird, to name a few recent titles. But I always find myself drawn back to the  middle-grade section at the bookstore. That’s because, of all genres, I believe middle-grade is where the heart is. It’s where young readers discover life’s truths for the first time: courage, loyalty, honesty. Here are some recommendations for great middle-grade reads to keep in mind this holiday season: Continue reading

Different Stores. Different Stories. #HPBturns43

Today, Half Price Books turns 43 years old! On July 27, 1972, we opened our first store in a converted laundromat in Dallas, Texas. Co-founders Ken Gjemre and Pat Anderson stocked the shelves with more than 2,000 books from their personal libraries. Today, Half Price Books is America’s favorite family-owned new and used bookstore chain, with 122 stores in 16 states.

This year has been a busy one, no doubt. We opened our new Las Colinas store in Irving, TX, relocated our much-loved Richardson, TX, store to a revitalized shopping center and ventured into a new market with our latest store in Citrus Heights, California! Things are about to get even more exciting on August 6 in the Columbus, OH area, as we welcome HPB NorthPointe Plaza to the neighborhood.

Just like our booklovers, every store is different and has its own set of unique stories and quirks. To celebrate our birthday, I thought it would be nice to share some of my favorite HPB stories.

Did you know our President and CEO Sharon Anderson Wright was the first employee at Half Price Books? She is the daughter of co-founder Pat Anderson. Sharon managed the Richardson store location and would take her dog Dylan to work with her each day. Even today, many of our store locations are dog-friendly. If you ever visit our corporate offices in Dallas, Texas, you’ll be greeted by Vader at the reception desk.

While most booklovers come through our doors looking for the perfect read, some have been lucky enough to find the perfect love here as well!

Our Flagship store was the backdrop for Brady and Nichole’s grand proposal during Valentine’s Day weekend. We’ve also been a special once-in-a-lifetime wedding venue for booklover Jenny and her handsome groom.

Last, one of my favorite HPB stories of all! Jammie, (my “cube”-mate….our offices share a wall), began her Half Price Books story working at the Lincoln Square store in Arlington. Aaron, her now husband, had just started working there, as well. The two became fast friends, and, a year later began dating. Below is their first photo together as a new couple, ironically at a Half Price Books holiday gathering! The happy couple has added a new chapter to their HPB story…an adorable son named Malcolm.

What are some of your favorite Half Price Books stories or memories? Tell us your story by mentioning @halfpricebooks and using #HPBturns43 on Twitter. You can also jump over to Facebook and leave a comment on our birthday post.

Sam is Public Relations Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

A Booklover’s Guide to Reading Resolutions

Happy New Year! Put your best book forward and make yourself a better bibliomaniac with our Booklover’s Guide to Reading Resolutions.

Resolution 1: Read More

Make a pledge to read more this year. Now, this resolution may seem like a gimme, but it’s a great place to start. We’re challenging you to Resolve to Read More. Head over to hpb.com/resolve and tell us how many books you plan to read this year. Plus, you’ll be automatically entered to win a $100 HPB Gift Card. The deadline to enter is January 31.

Need a few recommendations? Here’s what some of your fellow HPB booklovers have already picked as their first reads of the year:

A Song of Ice and Fire Series (Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Yes, Please  by Amy Poehler, Gray Mountain by John Grisham, Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Burn/Hope to Die by James Patterson, Gone Girl/Dark Places/Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett, I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, If I Stay by Gayle Foreman, Mr. Mercedes/Revival by Stephen King, Prince Lestat by Anne Rice, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Escape by David Baldacci, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

Resolution 2: Join a Book Club

Experience the same book with fellow readers. Book clubs are a great place to share your thoughts, plus you might learn something you wouldn’t catch by just reading alone. Start your own or feel free to join us over at the bi-monthly HPB Book Club.

Resolution 3: Meet an Author

Why not meet the author behind your favorite story? It makes for a great memory and a great way to see another side of the book. Plus, get those burning questions answered straight from the source. Half Price Books hosts author events throughout the year at stores around the nation. Be sure to check out the HPB Local Store Events Round-Up to find out which authors are coming to your area.

Resolution 4: Improve Your Shelf

Grab those books that have been piled on the nightstand for months or sprawled around the house and take the time to organize your bookshelf. Display them proudly and add your own personal touches with bookends, keepsakes and other collectibles. These shelves below belong to actual HPB booklovers! Pretty cool, huh!? Check out our Pinterest board for more shelf and storage ideas.

Resolution 5: Find a new Reading Retreat

Some like to read at home in bed or on the couch, but wherever you’re reading, venture out and find some place new. Reading is a real treat, so why not enhance the experience with a special place to do it? Find a local coffee shop, a cozy bench at the park or create a reading nook of your very own at home. You’ll be surprised at how a change in scenery opens up the mind. These reading retreats make us want to curl up with a good book right away!

Hope these resolutions inspire you. Happy reading!

What reading resolutions are you making this year?

Sam is Public Relations Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

The Holly Jolly HPB Holiday Playlist

Our halls are decked and the fa-la-la’s have commenced here at the HPB Corporate Office. Whether it’s a classic tune, an original song or a twist on a traditional hit, there’s nothing like hearing your favorite holiday music to really make the season bright. I thought it would be fun to survey the office on some of their top picks. Enjoy!

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love

“I always look forward to seeing Darlene Love perform this holiday classic on The Late Show with David Letterman. She has a great voice, plus the saxophone player is full of surprises every year! This was her last year to perform this song on TV due to David Letterman’s upcoming retirement”

 

Christmas Forever by Freddie Jackson

“Who wouldn’t want to have Christmas forever!? The words remind me of my childhood and are exactly how my family spends the holidays. I especially love the New Jack Swing sound which was popular in the early 1990’s. Sidenote: I play this song all year long…thankfully, my family hasn’t disowned me yet.”

 

White Christmas by Michael Bublé and Shania Twain

“I’ve always loved White Christmas, likely because I grew up in Texas and never had one until just a couple of years ago. This version, inspiried by The Drifters’ original take on the Bing Crosby classic, is so stylistically unique and interesting—it’s a song I look forward to hearing every year.”

 

Put a Little Love in Your Heart by The Cast of Scrooged

“It’s included in probably one of the best closing scenes from one of my favorite Christmas movies, Scrooged. Originally sung by Jackie DeShannon, you just can’t go wrong when you add Bill Murray to the mix.”

 

Snow by Bing Crosby

“It’s on my holiday-must playlist for a couple reasons. First, it sounds great on my gramophone (yep, I have a gramophone). And second, because it’s a family tradition to watch the movie White Christmas each year and dream about snow falling on Christmas Day (which it most likely won’t in Texas).

 

These are just a few of our holiday favorites. take a listen to all of them with this handy playlist.:

What are some of your favorite holiday songs?

Sam is Public Relations Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Put the BOO in Books: Spooky Reads for Halloween

It’s that time of year again! Halloween is this Friday. What better way to get into the spooky spirit than reading a good book. Not every spooky story is filled with ghosts, ghouls or goblins. Sometimes just the build up of suspense and the fear of the unknown is enough to get the hair on the back of your neck standing straight up.

If you’re looking for a good mix of spine-tingling page turners, check out these titles at your local Half Price Books.

Classic Chills:

The Shining by Stephen King; Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk; Amityville Horror by Jay Anson; Coraline by Neil Gaiman; American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Newest Thrills:

Prince Lestat by Anne Rice; Gray Mountain by John Grisham; Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron; Dark Places by Gillian Flynn; Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

What reads put you in the Halloween spirit?

Sam is Public Relations Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

Celebrating National Literacy Month, One Pledge at a Time.

Happy International Literacy Day!

We at Half Price Books believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy a book or share a story with their family. During National Literacy Month, we encourage people to incorporate reading into their everyday lives by pledging to read more throughout the month of September with our LitFitness Reading Challenge. With every pledge Half Price Books donates $1 to literacy organizations throughout the country.

Join us by visiting www.hpb.com/litfit to take the pledge and help make an impact on literacy in your community.