Totally Random Lists 2019: Double Whammy

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.


No man (or woman) is an island. Sometimes we need a partner to bounce ideas off of or butt heads with—in a productive way, of course. Grab your favorite plus-one and check out some of our favorite co-authored books, co-directed movies and cool musical collaborations. Continue reading

If you Liked Maid, You May Also Like…

If you are part of the HPB Book Club, you are currently reading (or perhaps just finished) Maid, by Stephanie Land, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Putting her dreams of college on hold to have a child, Land finds herself homeless and alone. Navigating government assistance and trying to find a way to provide for her daughter, she starts working for a cleaning service. As a maid, Land witnesses the lives of others while feeling invisible herself. This autobiography of Land’s struggle to provide a better life for her daughter, exposes the struggle of the working poor who long to find the American dream while living below the poverty line.

maid

If you (like me) liked Maid, here are a few other books you may like: Continue reading

50 years of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather

 The landmark crime novel (or is it a family novel?) was a smash hit in its own right and spawned an even more acclaimed and influential movie series. It changed the way America thought about organized crime, birthed some memorable quotes and entered our consciousness like few other works of modern fiction. Here are 50 bullet points to celebrate 50 years of the Godfather phenomenon.

        The Godfather was published on March 10, 1969.

Godfather Original Book Continue reading

Behind the Book: Maid by Stephanie Land

Written in raw, masterful, heart-rending prose, Maid is the story of one woman’s tenacity to survive and break free of the grips of the welfare system to give her child a better life. Stephanie Land’s work gives voice to the working poor. Her compassionate, unflinching writing is fueled by her own struggle as a low-income single mother who aspired to use her stories to expose the reality of pursuing the American Dream while being held below the poverty line. We had a chance to catch up with Stephanie Land and ask her some questions for our Behind the Book series

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What inspired you to put pen to paper and actually write down your experiences? Was there a certain catalyst that made you want to write this book?
I’ve been writing about my experiences since I was 10 years old, but it was almost entirely in a private way by journaling and not allowing anyone to read it. By the time I decided to take writing (and consequentially publishing) seriously, I’d been a daily writer for over 25 years. Maid came from an essay I’d published in Vox that went incredibly viral. I guess from all the interest it was clear that a book was bound to happen! Continue reading

Totally Random Lists 2019: How ‘Bout Them Apples?

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.


Symbolizing knowledge, immortality and temptation, the apple is no ordinary fruit. More likely to star in media than a second banana, apples are a juicy subject for any author or auteur. Here’s a bushel of titles to keep the doctor away. Continue reading

We Buy Everything Printed and Recorded—and More!

At HPB, one of our primary missions is to provide the biggest variety of printed and recorded merchandise you’ve ever seen. But we can’t do that without YOU! Of course we buy and sell a huge variety of books, but we offer so much more, based on what customers like you sell to us each and every day. As our co-founder Ken Gjemre used to say, “We buy everything printed and recorded, except yesterday’s newspaper.”

Whether Marie Kondo has convinced you to “tidy up” those closets and bookshelves or you’ve been bitten by the Spring Cleaning bug, we’re happy to help. Let’s take a closer look at the many kinds of things you can bring us for cold, hard cash! Continue reading

The Revolution Will Be Written: A New Class of Contemporary African-American Authors

From medicine to the arts and all areas in between, African Americans have contributed to the distinct fabric of the United States of America. The culture’s significance has been nationally celebrated during the month of February since its inception in 1970, however, its impact on literature alone could easily span a complete calendar year.

Frederick Douglass overcame the decree that it be illegal for slaves to read, penning his best-known work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. W.E.B. Dubois overcame segregated academia to become the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard and produce his acclaimed essay collection, The Souls of Black Folks. Zora Neale Hurston burst onto the scene of the Harlem Renaissance with the classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Nikki Giovanni amplified the frustration felt during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements with the eloquent prose of her collections, Black Judgement and Re:creation…and current African American authors continue to carry the torch, using literature as an expansive tool to express social commentary, celebrate shared experiences, grieve lives assaulted and lost due to ignorance and injustice and inspire new generations to continue to push forward with pride.

 

Below is a mere fraction of our favorite contemporary African-American authors, each of whom are doing their part in securing a place for people of color in the “Best of” literary lists for this era.

Continue reading

Perfect Reads for Your Relationship Status

Ah, love. Whether you’re hopelessly in it with your partner, showing it and sharing it with your friends or, you know, just waiting around for something to happen, we’ve got books for you! To be clear, we always have books for you, but Valentine’s Day is this month and we love (pun totally intended) a theme. Read on for our favorite couple (we’ll be here all night, folks) of books to suit your relationship status. Continue reading

Totally Random Lists 2019: Word on the Street

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.


What do a road and a story have in common? They both take you on a trip with an uncertain (but intriguing) ending. Because we all know it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters, here are some street-smart picks you won’t need a GPS to explore.

2019 rl blog feb productsBOOKS
Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon
If Beale Street Could Talk,  James Baldwin
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
84 Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff
The Street, Ann Petry

MOVIES
Road to Perdition
21 Jump Street
Miracle on 34th Street
The Road to Morocco
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sunset Boulevard
It Happened on 5th Avenue

MUSIC
Mermaid Avenue, Billy Bragg & Wilco
Stones in the Road, Mary Chapin Carpenter
Avenue Q, Original Broadway Cast
Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
3614 Jackson Highway, Cher

See our longer list of road-tested titles at HPB.com/street.

 

The 7 Step Shelf Detox

The start of the year is the perfect time to take on a fresh perspective. Sure, you could follow the fitness crowd or go the way of inner peace and wellness or whatever, but have you seen your book shelves lately? Honestly, when was the last time you broke the spine of Calculus of Variations? When, exactly, are you going to get around to Mastering the Art of French Cooking…or any cooking for that matter?

Sounds like it’s time for a shelf detox. We’ve outlined some practices to help you successfully declutter, then restock, your book shelves.

Step 1: Survey the books you own.
Take a long hard look at what you claim to have been reading.

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Step 2: Keep your favorites.
Let me be perfectly clear: All of them are not your favorite. You are going to have to get rid of some books. Just accept that now. I know we tend to get attached but relax, you’re clearing out your book shelves so that you can replenish them. You’re going to get more. Breathe through this. Take this time to bask in the nostalgia of your favorite reads as you add them to a separate pile and schedule some future time to revisit them. Try to focus on books you find yourself reading several times. Continue reading