Totally Random Lists: Going Places

EDITOR’S NOTE: This year at HPB, we’re celebrating the random. Actually, we’ve been doing that every year since our founding in 1972. And we mean random in a totally good way, as in the random treasures you come across when you’re browsing our stores or website—and the wonderfully random stuff we buy from the public every day. In this series of posts, you’ll find books, movies and music collected in some very random ways. So here’s our list for August 2017!

Aug title

Pack your suitcase, put on your traveling pants and gas up the family truckster. At Half Price Books, we know getting there is half the fun, so we’re going on the road this month with a list of travel and transportation-related books, movies and tunes.

BOOKS
The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, Ian Fleming
The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
The Road, Cormac McCarthy

Aug visualMOVIES & TV
Knight Rider
National Lampoon’s Vacation
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The Polar Express

MUSIC
Blue Train, John Coltrane
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Lucinda Williams
Come Fly With Me, Frank Sinatra
Sonic Highways, Foo Fighters

 

Not ready to come home just yet? Check out our longer list of road trip-inspired titles at HPB.com/going.

Famous First Lines: Emoji Edition

In the 1400s, Johannes Gutenberg developed the printing press bringing forth a new age of literary access to the common man and placing the care and construct of modern language in the hands of all. It was the dawn of Enlightenment.

Fast forward to now, and we’ve got emojis.

Are emojis a language? A few thumb taps and a little picture can communicate a complex idea that leaves little room for interpretation.  With a simple 0-wine, my wife can let me know the kids are being crazy and I should pick up a bottle of wine on my way home.

Emojis are pictures, but can they paint a picture? Would the world’s great authors be able to use emojis to express the subtle nuances of their work? Let’s find out.

Below, to the best of my ability, I have interpreted the first lines from major works of literature into emoji. Is anything lost in translation? Does the beauty of the text remain intact?

1-austen

Original Text: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

2-dickens

Original Text: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859) Continue reading

HPB Geek 101 Class

July 13 is Embrace Your Geekness Day, but you know what I say? Let’s keep the spirit of Geekness alive all year long and make every day Embrace Your Geekness Day.

With that in mind, I’ve created a sort of 101 class for hardcore geeks and those with geek tendencies alike. Keep in mind, this is a survey course – with a focus on science fiction and horror. It was hard narrowing down to ten items, and there are plenty of great things that could’ve made the list. Sorry if your favorite geek obsession didn’t make the cut.

There’s a good chance you’ve read or watched at least some of these recommendations on this list, but here are ten essential books, movies and TV shows to boost your geek knowledge.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
I first read Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the third or fourth grade. To say it changed my life is probably an exaggeration. At the same time, the world made more sense after reading it – which is odd, because little in this series makes sense on the surface.hitch

A hapless every man, Arthur Dent, manages to escape our planet right before it’s blown up to create an intergalactic highway. Things get weirder from there, as Arthur Dent goes on many adventures he’s not suited for, including the successful (and disappointing) search for the meaning of life.

To begin with, stick to the first two books in the series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Together, the two books tell a complete story, and they have the best balance between Adams’ passion for science and his pessimism that we’re often far too dim to appreciate the world around us. Continue reading

Ice Cream & Book Pairings for the Book Loving Foodie

July 16 is National Ice Cream Day, and as far as we’re concerned, every day is National Book-Reading Day. To help you effectively combine these two life-giving pleasures, we’re serving up some recommendations for books and ice cream flavors that pair well together. (If you figure out how to eat ice cream and hold a book at the same time, let us know.)

benjerry
Ben & Jerry’s Bob Marley’s One Love™ and A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
The famous Vermont ice cream kings created this flavor as a tribute to the late, great reggae star Bob Marley. It’s got a banana ice cream base with caramel and graham cracker swirls and fudge peace signs. This ice cream is to die for, so it’s a perfect pairing with A Brief History of Seven Killings, the Man Booker Prize-winning novel from Jamaican writer Marlon James. The centerpiece of this sprawling, music-infused book is the 1976 attempted assassination of none other than Bob Marley. Continue reading

Totally Random Lists: They Say it’s Your Birthday

EDITOR’S NOTE: This year at HPB, we’re celebrating the random. Actually, we’ve been doing that every year since our founding in 1972. And we mean random in a totally good way, as in the random treasures you come across when you’re browsing our stores or website—and the wonderfully random stuff we buy from the public every day. In this series of posts, you’ll find books, movies and music collected in some very random ways. So here’s our list for July 2017!July Title.png

It’s our birthday, too! Half Price Books was born on July 27, 1972, which makes us a sprightly 45 this year—and we’re still growing. Your birthday’s probably on the calendar too, so go ahead and gift yourself with one of the birthday-related titles on the list below.

July VisualBOOKS
The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter
Mr. Birthday, Roger Hargreaves
On the Night You Were Born, Nancy Tillman

MOVIES & TV
13 Going on 30
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sixteen Candles
To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

MUSIC
21, Adele
B’Day, Beyoncé
Birthday, The Association
September of My Years, Frank Sinatra
 

To keep the birthday celebration going, check out our longer list of birthday-related titles at HPB.com/bday.

How I Came to Love the Audiobook

As a lifelong booklover and someone with a lit degree, I’d always thought of audiobooks as “not real books”. When my commute went from seven minutes to an hour and a half each way, I found myself bitter about the loss of free time to get in some reading. I got my first audiobook a few years back, Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I rationalized in my mind “It’s a one-time thing. I just like her. It’s different because it’s her book she’s reading.” I couldn’t get over the “it’s not really reading” mentality. Then, keep the long commute and add a baby to the mix and watch the reading time dwindle even more. I got another audiobook… and then another.

Two years ago, I just embraced it. In the car is my go-to, but occasionally I’ll listen to a story while I’m working out or doing dishes – something where reading a “real” book isn’t an option. Audiobooks have helped me stay on top of – no that’s not right. I’ll NEVER be “on top” of my reading list; as is the case for most booklovers, my list grows faster than I can read or listen. Let’s go with, I’ve fallen less behind on my list of books to read. On top of my paper books, I’ve “read” about 50 audiobooks in the last couple of years, including entire series like The Dark Tower (and standalone novels that tie in to the series like Insomnia and The Stand), A Song of Ice and Fire (aka A Game of Thrones), and Outlander – all of which are fabulous and I would highly recommend.

Some of my favorites (in no order at all):

Ready Player One
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline; read by Wil Wheaton
This was so good, when it was over I put the first disc in again and started over. I wasn’t yet ready to leave the word of Parzival, Aech and Art3mis. Side note: Spielberg’s movie adaptation is due out early 2018. Continue reading

Let’s Get Binge Reading!: #SummerBookBinge

At Half Price Books, true booklovers never take a break, even in the summer. While all the kids are feeding their brains, we’re sending teens on a  #SUMMERBOOKBINGE!

“What’s a book binge,” you ask?!

It’s only the most exciting summer teen reading program around!  Join HPB and our friends at Penguin Teen on our Feed Your Brain Summer #SUMMERBOOKBINGE. Read a favorite! Start a series! Write a review! Let’s make binge-reading a THING! One book is a success, but read two and we are officially making you part of this summer’s #SUMMERBOOKBINGE.

The Penguin Teen selections for the summer reading #SUMMERBOOKBINGE this year are from some of our favorite authors. So will you read just two? Or are you going to binge-read like the rest of us?

THE SELECTIONS

JOHN GREEN
Srsly, everything he writes is pure gold, am I right? He rips into our hearts and has us feeling REAL feels. Have you read them all? Grab your sunshades, your beach towel and a tissue or two and read them again!

 

Continue reading

Who Am I? 12 Literary Character Riddles

Challenge yourself to correctly guess these riddles without looking below at the answers. Can you name them all?

Think

1. I am clever and engaging, but also rather shallow. To insure my inheritance, I pretend to court one girl while I’m secretly engaged to another. Who am I?

2.  I don’t get out much, but I watch everything, especially the two children that live down the street. I left gifts for them in an old tree and kill a man to save their lives. Who am I?

3. I will never back down from a fight, unless forced to in the home of my uncle. I killed a man in a street brawl. Later, I was killed by his best friend, who also happened to be my cousin’s secret husband. Who am I? Continue reading

Totally Random Lists: All the Colors of the Rainbow

EDITOR’S NOTE: This year at HPB, we’re celebrating the random. Actually, we’ve been doing that every year since our founding in 1972. And we mean random in a totally good way, as in the random treasures you come across when you’re browsing our stores or website—and the wonderfully random stuff we buy from the public every day. In this series of posts, you’ll find books, movies and music collected in some very random ways. So here’s our list for June 2017!
June TypeWhen you’re painting your bedroom or dying your hair (for fashion reasons, of course, not vanity — you wouldn’t be that way), finding the exact right color is hard. With the list of colorful titles below, finding the right book, movie or music is easy.

BOOKS
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

June Visual crayonsMOVIES & TV
The Gold Rush
Orange is the New Black
The Red Balloon

MUSIC
Back to Black, Amy Winehouse
Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls
Kind of Blue, Miles Davis
Yellow Submarine, The Beatles

For more hues, shades and tints, check out our longer list of colorful titles at HPB.com/colors.

Do You Know Where Your Towel Is? May 25 is Towel Day.

If you know the answer to life, the universe and everything, if you learned to fly by aiming for the ground and missing and if you ever speculated why a bowl of petunias would think, “Oh no, not again…” while hurtling toward a planet, then you should celebrate Towel Day. Towel Day is an annual tribute to Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. On Towel Day, Adams’ fans are encouraged to carry a towel with them for the day. The more conspicuous the towel, the better.

If you have never read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you might ask, “Why a towel?”  Well, Adams explains the importance of towels in chapter 3 of the aforementioned book.

HitchikersGuide“A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. Continue reading