Behind the Book: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

We are thrilled to introduce our August/September 2019 HPB Book Club Selection, Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center. This book addresses the struggles of Cassie Hanwell, a woman born for emergencies who uproots her life to move from Texas to Boston, where she struggles to find her place as one of the only female firefighters in the state. This heartfelt, stirring novel touches on two of the most important things in life— love and the meaning of courage. In this installment of our Behind the Book blog series, Katherine Center gives us insight into her inspiration and decision to tell Cassie’s story.

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#HPBUniversity: Customer College Stories

Let’s face it. College can be tough. Those four years—or more—teach us just as many lessons about survival as they do about our major, and whether it’s late nights at the library or being down to that last pack of ramen, we all come out a little stronger in the end. In the spirit of reminiscing about our days in the dorms, we’ve taken to Facebook to ask about some of your favorite college memories. Check out our favorite responses below!

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  • “Don’t sign up for that credit card just to get a free t-shirt.” — Eric B.
  • “You’re going to want to quit a few times. Don’t!” — Anita C. 
  • “Get involved in the clubs for your major/minor. Go to office hours, even if you don’t have a horrible problem. Build a relationship with your professors – you’re going to know them for four or more years and they are generally good people. Plus, they can be super helpful professionally.” — Ken O.
  • “Go to tutor sessions.” — Christopher D. 
  • “You need to do some cardio in the summer beforehand. I was dying walking across campus in the 15 mins I had.” — Myshell R.
  • “Stop trying to make Mom happy. It wont happen.” — Michelle S.
  • “Beware of the freshman 15! Those pounds are a real thing and hard to get rid of!” — Janet K.
  • “Branch out and meet more people in the dorm.” — Shalei B.
  • “You’re going to go through some hard time, but you’ll come through stronger and braver.” — Cassandra S.
  • “Take an intramural sport that you wouldn’t have done otherwise. I had a lot of fun doing sports I wanted to try in high school but just never felt good enough to do.” — Alanna L.

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Behind the Book: The Middle Matters by Lisa-Jo Baker

Editor’s Note: Lisa-Jo Baker’s newest book, The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You invites us to get a good look at our middles and gives us permission to embrace them — because Lisa-Jo knows that the middle might be the best part of the love story of life, kids, faith, doubt, marriage, failure, wonder and the muffin top—and that these are all good things. Read on to get a glimpse Behind the Book with Lisa-Jo Baker.


I like to think of my latest book, The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good On You, as a love letter to ordinary life.

Because if we’re not careful, I think midlife will actually run right over us. Like a runaway hamster wheel. There’s so much carpool and extracurriculars and work and before we know it we will have missed the chance to relish the very stories that will line our empty nests one day.

Between meeting thousands of women at speaking events and hearing from podcast listeners, I’ve learned that we all keep waiting to feel like grown-ups while going through all the grown-up motions. It’s weird to have all the responsibilities of a grown-up and look like a grown-up and have a grown-up job and a grown-up mortgage and still not be sure how or when to change the air filters.

It’s a shock to most of us to find ourselves here at the midpoint of our lives and still be figuring so much of it out. Normal feels all stretched out and squidgy around the edges when you’re splitting time and to-dos, and yet it’s the stuff of life and marriage and kids and work that everyone lives. The intimidation of financial planning and the reality of retirement as more than just that infomercial you used to fast forward through but also something you will actually need in the no-longer distant future.

And the just-as-crucial fighting for time to keep dating the man you’re raising kids with so you feel like a couple and not just a couple of people running a summer camp together. Turns out we’re all trying to make sense of this season we’re in. And it helps to talk about it. How exhausting it is to constantly feel pressured to seize every minute of every day. How lots of days just feel like figuring out new ways to make chicken.

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Behind the Book: Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler

Inspired by historical events and a follow-up to the bestselling Calling Me Home, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls follows the deep friendship between two women at an early 20th-century rehabilitation home for cast-out single mothers and the reclusive librarian who discovers their story a century later. Read on to discover author Julie Kibler’s recommendations, inspirations and influences as we go Behind the Book. Continue reading

Totally Random Lists 2019: Twinsies!

Editor’s Note: This year our Half Price Books calendar once again features books, movies and music grouped together in weird, unexpected ways. You might even call them Totally Random Lists, which is what we did because, well, we had to put something on the front cover. We like the lists so much, we’ll be sharing them on this blog throughout the year.


When you’re born with an identical partner in crime, there’s plenty of drama and comedy ahead. But the truth is two are often better than one—for double the fun or double the trouble. Check out our list of twin-centric titles, including albums by bands with twins in their lineups. Continue reading

Behind the Book: Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Editor’s note: We are thrilled to feature this wonderful letter from author Chandler Baker. Her latest novel, Whisper Network, is her first adult fiction release and was just selected as Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club pick for July! It follows four women who speak out when their ill-reputed boss is slated to become CEO, which triggers catastrophic shifts throughout their company. This is a fantastic summer release, and Chandler Baker gives us a sneak peek into her inspiration for the novel below!

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Behind the Book: Hope Rides Again by Andrew Shaffer

Editor’s Note: Do you ever read a book and think- there’s no way this could get better? And then the author comes out with a sequel?! Well, we are thrilled to tell you that Andrew Shaffer, author of Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery, has come out with its sequel Hope Rides Again. The New York Times bestselling author answers our burning questions as part of our Behind the Book series. Continue reading

Totally Random Lists 2019: State Your Name

Editor’s Note: This year our Half Price Books calendar once again features books, movies and music grouped together in weird, unexpected ways. You might even call them Totally Random Lists, which is what we did because, well, we had to put something on the front cover. We like the lists so much, we’ll be sharing them on this blog throughout the year.


 You could be living in your own private Idaho, or in a New York state of mind. Either way, the states in the U.S. of A. have inspired a lot of unforgettable entertainment. No need to break out an atlas—these state-named works will let you explore the country without leaving your armchair.  Continue reading

Behind the Book: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Our current Half Price Books Book Club pick for June/July is Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. This bestselling book (over a million copies sold!) is based on the true story of one of America’s most notorious adoption agency scandal

Lisa stopped by our Dallas Flagship on May 21 to celebrate the paperback release of Before We Were Yours. While she was here, she took a few minutes to discuss the book. Take a look!

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Behind the Book: The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan

From bestselling author Jennifer Ryan comes The Spies of Shilling Lane, a thrilling new WWII story about a village busybody determined to find and rescue her missing daughter, discovering both herself and a second chance at love along the way. We are delighted that Jennifer Ryan has given us a inside look into her process and the inspiration behind this wonderful novel . Read on to discover more!

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