Now that there seems to be a bit more space on everyone’s schedule, there’s no better time to read a good book. Check out these great reads based on recommendations from the Half Price Books Bestseller Buyer! They run the gamut from creepy and mysterious to outright heart stopping, and you can get all of them online at HPB.com or via curbside pickup at your local HPB store*!
*Curbside pickup locations vary.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
From the author of the bestselling phenomenon, Station Eleven, comes a new novel, The Glass Hotel, which features such drama-heavy twists as the fallout of the demise of a Ponzi scheme and the disappearance of a woman on a ship at sea. The one thing that is certainly true of both novels is that author Emily St. John Mandel’s writing evokes such an eerily beautiful atmosphere – more than in any other book I’ve ever read. It’s like the settings of the stories are vivid characters themselves. The writing is hauntingly beautiful and the story is chilling. I’d highly recommend this book to fellow lovers of Station Eleven or literary fiction.
For a copy of The Glass Hotel or Station Eleven, please call your local store and one of our booksellers can either ship it to your house or have it ready for curbside pickup. You can also find it online HERE! Continue reading
Our May/June 2020 HPB Book Club Pick is Ask Again, Yes, by New York Times bestselling author Mary Beth Keane. Ask Again, Yes is a profoundly moving story about two neighboring families, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades and the power of forgiveness. Mary Beth Keane provides us with a closer look at the inspiration behind her latest novel below!
What made you want to write about these two families and the far-reaching consequences of shared trauma?
I didn’t know it would be about two families, or really anything at all about the shape of the book or the themes it would bring in until I was well into a draft. I usually start with a character, usually in motion, and I saw Peter pretty fully before I started writing. Continue reading
For our first Book Club pick of 2020, Half Price Books has selected Finding Dorothy, the fictional retelling of the true life of Maud Baum, wife to L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz. This a perfect read for lovers of all things Oz and historical fiction. We had the wonderful opportunity ask author Elizabeth Letts some in-depth questions regarding her inspirations, discoveries and insights into this wonderful book!
Can you tell us more about Maud Baum, the voice and inspiration behind Finding Dorothy? What made you decide to write a story inspired by her and from her point of view?
Frank Baum died in 1919, twenty years before his book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was turned into the classic MGM film. The only living link between the book and the movie was his widow, Maud, who was seventy-seven years old. Maud’s mother was one of the most radical advocates for the rights of women—she grew up with Susan B. Anthony hanging around her house. Her mother was constantly in the newspapers for organizing protests, and she got laws changed so that Maud could be one of the first young women to attend an Ivy League school. So what did she do with all that opportunity? Did she become a lawyer for the cause, as her mother had hoped? No. She dropped out of school to marry a very handsome but not too impressive young theater man named L. Frank Baum. To me, this was fascinating. Maud was clearly a powerhouse, strong enough to defy her overbearing mother. But I think it’s easy to overlook the incredible influence of women like Maud, who make their mark behind-the-scenes. We may not remember her, but every time we quote The Wizard of Oz, we are paying homage to her legacy. Continue reading
As 2019 comes to an end, “Best Books of the Decade” lists are bound to start popping up everywhere. This is ours; along with a list of the best books I’ve read this decade. Of course, as a used book store we also want to remind you that every book is new if you haven’t read it yet!
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot—A nonfiction book and winner of the National Academies Communication Award (published 2/2/2010)
- Honorary mention: Room, by Emma Donahue (published 8/6/2010)
- Best book I read in 2010: Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammett (published in 1929)
Editor’s Note: Our buyers hand select new bestsellers that are sold in our stores. It is our pleasure to present a closer look at our favorite Buyer’s Picks from 2019!
This book is set in future America where lies are criminalized. The main character is a detective whose job it is to seek out lies being told within his community. Through an investigation of a woman’s death, he uncovers a separate conspiracy within the government. It’s fast paced, well written and I couldn’t put it down – especially through the second half. I highly recommend it for fellow lovers of thrillers – especially those of us who are growing a bit tired of the wife/husband theme that is popular right now. You’re really going to love this book! Continue reading
It’s the holidays, and we all know what that means—lots of fun, quality family time that you’ve been craving! Just kidding; it’s the worst. If, like me, you’re also looking to hide from Uncle Joe’s long, boring rants about how he used to walk up hill both ways to school (“IN A BLIZZARD”) or Aunt Margery’s alcohol-fueled desire to know the intimate details of your family planning (“WHEN ARE YOU HAVING KIDS?!”), I have just the thing for you. Books! Glorious books! The rather annoying aspects of family obligations absolutely disappear as I stick my nose into a book. Read on to discover which books are sure to help you escape from family this holiday season. Best of luck, and God speed.
Books That People Claim to Have Read, But Are Afraid to Discuss
These kinds of books are the ones that people like to have claimed to have read to appear intelligent. Books under this category include Crime and Punishment, Dune, Lord of the Rings, War and Peace, Outliers, A Brief History of Time, The Da Vinci Code and Ulysses. These are the tried and true, a mix of non-fiction and fiction, just to give you a variety to choose from. These are the books that help you grow, are highly entertaining or educational and, as an added bonus, they are great to tick off that must-read list.
Pros: Your obnoxious cousin who is always trying to seem better than you will not want to talk about any of these books if they haven’t read them or have lied about having read them and will leave you alone. Also, you could be expanding your mind and exploring a masterpiece of literature that takes time and BOY— do you have time to waste this holiday by not talking to family!
Cons: Your obnoxious cousin who is always trying to seem better than you might have actually picked up one of these thicc books and will proceed to talk at you about how quickly they read it and how slow you are at reading, “right Grandma?”
Our Book Club selection for October and November is Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. This heart-breaking true story centers on a young woman who endures horrific hardships and unimaginable conditions. Her story of survival is a powerful testament to the triumph of human will. Half Price Books was thrilled to be able to discuss this powerful novel with Heather Morris. Read on to discover her answers to our questions below.
Can you tell us more about Cilka Klein, the inspiration behind Cilka’s Journey? What made you decide to write a story inspired by her?
Cilka Klein was a Jewish girl from Bardejov, a small town in what is now Slovakia. She celebrated her 16th birthday in March 1942; a month later she was transported, along with her father and two sisters, to Auschwitz. A few weeks later she was transferred to Birkenau where she caught the eye of two senior SS officers and was singled out to be kept as their sex slave. Placed in a special block, No. 25, she survived until the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Red Army. Her nightmare continued when she was condemned for ‘sleeping with the enemy’ and sent to a Siberian gulag.
It was Lale Sokolov who told me about Cilka – “she was the bravest person I ever met”, he told me, “she was a tiny young girl. And she saved my life”. Among all the wonderful letters, emails and questions I get from readers, it is the question I am asked over and over again – “what happened to Cilka?”.
And after having written about Lale, I wanted to write about women’s experience of Auschwitz, and of war – including the often untold stories of sexual abuse and violence. As for Cilka herself, the more I found out about her, I realized just how extraordinary she must have been, to survive all that she did, and find life and love after her time in two of the most brutal places on Earth. Continue reading
Mary Kay is known for cutting-edge beauty innovations, entrepreneurship opportunities and female empowerment across the world. However, Mary Kay Ash’s pink road to success wasn’t always so rosy. When Ash founded her namesake company, Mary Kay Cosmetics, in 1963, it was in response to years of seeing the men she trained receive promotions over her. In fact, on more than one occasion, after taking a male recruit on the road with her for six months, she returned with him to Texas only to see him promoted above her at twice her salary. Frustrated and disheartened, Mary Kay Ash set out to create a company where “thinking like a woman” was an asset, not an insult. Continue reading
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.
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!