Resolve to Read More in the New Year

As we start a new year, we often find ourselves looking to the past. But as the last notes of “Auld Lang Syne” are sung, we look towards to future with hope, optimism and ambition. It’s a new begininng — 2013 is a chance to give up old vices or accomplish a new goal. Perhaps you’ve already made your New Year’s resolutions. But if not, we’ve got a great challenge for you, our fellow booklovers.

Research shows that Half Price Books customers (that’s you!) read more books than the average reader. In fact, HPB customers read an average of 37 books per year, compared to the 12 books by your bookloving-counterparts. (You guys rock!) So, in 2013, we’re kicking it up a notch by challenging you to RESOLVE to READ MORE. Join us! Make the pledge to read more this year and you’ll automatically be entered to win a $100 HPB Gift Card to fuel your year’s worth of reading.

HOW TO ENTER: Go to hpb.com/resolve and complete the entry form, including how many books you resolve to read in 2013. You must provide a valid email address so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. Limit one entry per person. Deadline to enter is Monday, January 14, 2013.*

GET STARTED: Got a stack on your nightstand or bookshelf already? Tell us what books you’ll be reading this year in the comments below. Need some recommendations? Download this list (PDF) of 250 titles suggested by our HPB Bibliomnaniacs or stop in your local store today and ask for help. Happy reading!

*One randomly selected winner will be notifed via email on or after Friday, January 18, 2013.

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

Feed Your Brain Children’s Summer Reading Program is Back, with a Giveaway!

Ready…Set…Read! It’s time to FEED YOUR BRAIN with the HPB Kid’s Summer Reading Program! Children 14 & under can earn HPB Back-to-School Bucks by keeping an appetite for reading this summer. How does it work? Just head to your favorite neighborhood HPB store to pick up a reading log and start keeping track of how many minutes your children read during the summer months of June and July. Every child who reads 300 minutes or more each month is eligible receive $5 in HPB Back-to-School Bucks!

And why not start logging your minutes this Sunday at 2pm at your neighborhood HPB? All stores will be hosting a story time to kick off this year’s program.  Need some tips for fitting in 15 minutes of reading per day? Check out a few of our everyday ideas here – it’s easier than you think! Don’t forget, you can also count school summer reading towards the 300 minute goal (Psst…fill out our Reading Lists 101 form here and let us know your classroom’s required reading list so we can try and keep those titles in stock). Not sure where to begin? Julie’s post on 40 Books Every Child Should Read is a great place to start.

But kids shouldn’t have all the fun, right? Let’s kick off our children’s summer reading program with a little giveaway for our grownup readers.  Leave us a comment and let us know five books on your “must read” list for this summer. One lucky random commenter will win a $10 HPB gift card!

Happy (Summer) Reading!

— Kate (and BW)

Win a $25 HPB gift card for Mother’s Day

We recently posted some great suggestions for Mom’s Day, but if you are like me, you haven’t had time yet to order, shop or browse — and Sunday is fast approaching. Don’t panic; you still have time to get the perfect gift! It’s a gift filled with imagination, possibility and nearly unlimited choices–it’s a Half Price Books gift card, of course! And now through May 13, when you buy a $25 card for her (or anyone else you love…even if it’s yourself!) you can get a $5 HPB card to use in the future!

But you aren’t here for small talk, are you? I bet you’d love to win a $25 HPB gift card? It’s simple; in the comments section below, let us know the best suggestion for what Mom should buy with her HPB gift card.  We’ll draw a winner on Friday, May 11 at Noon CST.

I can’t wait to see what you suggest!

— Becky

Local Store Events Round-Up: April

Hi Gang–

Another month is upon us – Happy April!  If you’re looking for an excuse to visit your favorite bookstore (like you really need one), we’ve got lots of fun events planned at our stores nationwide.

All Markets

Half Pint Library Book Giveaway Events

Thanks for all the books you donated during our Half Pint Library book drive!  Because of your books and Half Price Books’ matching donations, we’ll donate thousands of books to non profits in need during the month of April.  If you’re a non profit or a teacher, check out our calendar of events page to download the proper form and find out when the giveaway event nearest you will take place.  We’ll hold at least one book giveaway in each of our markets.

Dallas-Area Stores

Northwest Highway – Dallas, Preston – Dallas, Irving, Mesquite, Cedar Hill, Rockwall, Richardson, Garland, Plano, Frisco, McKinney

Easter Coloring Contest

On the hunt for a fun, free Easter activity? Children 10 and under are invited to hop on over to Half Price Books for a chance to win a Golden Egg (aka $10 HPB gift card.) Stop by any Dallas area HPB store, pick up a coloring sheet and return it by Friday, April 6. Winner will be chosen at random. See store for details.

Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt 

Gather up the kids and bring your Easter Baskets.  On Friday, April 6 from 1-3 p.m., we’ll have an Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt at all Dallas-area stores. Each egg will have a surprise inside. See store for details.

Earth Day Coloring Contest

Think green…or a rainbow of colors. Children 10 and under are invited to stop by any Dallas area HPB store, beginning April 6, to pickup an Earth Day coloring sheet. Return it by Friday, April 27 for a chance to win a $10 HPB Gift Card. Winner will be chosen at random. See store for details.

Naperville, Illinois

Easter Coloring Contest

Children 12 and under are invited to hop on over to our Naperville HPB for a chance to win a $5 HPB gift card. Pick up a coloring sheet now and return it by noon on Saturday, April 7. Winner will be chosen at random on April 7 at 1 p.m. See store for details.

Easter Egg Hunt

On the hunt for a fun, free Easter activity? The Naperville store will have an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 7 starting at 9 a.m. until all the eggs are found. Lots of candy-filled eggs to find, and a lucky one will have a $25 HPB gift card inside. Snacks and refreshments will be available. Also that day, buy $15 or more of any merchandise and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a “Best of HPB” prize basket. Need not be present to win. See store for details.

Humble, Texas

Rodeo Coloring Contest

Hey, Buckaroos and Buckarettes! Ride on down to the Humble HPB or Beckwith’s Car Care and pick up a rodeo coloring sheet. Return it by Monday, April 9 for a chance to win a $50 HPB gift card. Six winners will be chosen in each of the following age ranges: 0-3 years, 4-5 years, 6-7 years, 8-9 yrs, 10-12 years, and 13 years – adult. See store for details.

Austin, Texas – Parmer Crossing

Curious George Coloring Contest

Put on your yellow hat and let’s go on a coloring adventure with Curious George. Pick up a coloring sheet at our Parmer Crossing HPB and return it by Wednesday, May 9. Entries will be judged in three age groups: 0-3 years, 4-7 years, and 8-12 years. Prize winners to be announced at our store’s Curious George Birthday party on Saturday, May 19. See store for details.

Mason, OH; Kenwood Galleria- Cincinnati; Hamilton, OH and Florence, KY

Dog Days at Half Price Books

Join us at HPB to take a bite out of reading. Load up the kids and bring them to Half Price Books where they can read a book to a loveable pet.  Presented in partnership with the Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati.

  • Sunday, April 1, 1-2 p.m., Lexi the Collie-Lab, Kenwood Galleria
  • Sunday, April 1, 2-3 p.m., Potter, the Bearded Collie, Hamilton
  • Saturday, April 21, 3-4 p.m., Nico the Great Pyrenees, Florence
  • Sunday, April 22, 3-4 p.m., Bella the Pug, Mason

Seattle

Sakura-Con

Come visit Half Price Books at booth 533 at Sakura-Con at the Washington State Convention Center on Pike Street Friday, April 6 through Sunday, April 8. HPB will sell anime, manga, DVDs and more.

Houston – Clear Lake

Paul H. Yarbrough Book Signing

Join us on Saturday, April 7 from noon to 4 p.m. to meet Texas-native Paul H. Yarbrough.  He will sell and sign copies of his mystery novel, Mississippi Cotton, which takes place in the civil rights era. Mississippi Cotton has been nominated for the Independent Publisher Book Award and The Nautilus Book Award.

Pet Adoption Cat-urdays

Looking for a cuddly kitty? A fancy feline? A companion cat? On the first Saturday of each month from noon to 4 p.m., Bay Area Pet Adoptions will bring lovable cats available for adoption to our Clear Lake HPB store. Come see the kitties looking for a good, forever home.  See you April 7!

Marine Mammal Supply Drive
In honor of Earth Day, our Clear Lake HPB is sponsoring a fundraiser and supply drive for the local nonprofit, Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network throughout the month of April. Please contact store for list of requested donations.

Meet Gulfy the Dolphin
Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 21 from 11am to 3 pm when Gulfy the bootlenose dolphin — theTexas Marine Mammal Stranding Network’s mascot — will be at our Clear Lake HPB to educate the audience about stranded marine mammals. Copies of the book Stranded, Stormy’s Adventure will be available for $10, cash or check only.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Lincoln Square – Arlington, Texas 

Book Signing with Dianna Brown Funches

Join us on Saturday, April 21 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Lincoln Square HPB in Arlington where local Dallas author Dianna Brown Funches will sell and sign copies of her inspirational book entitled Destined for Greatness

A Visit From the Poky Little Puppy 

Now, where in the world is that poky little puppy? Could he be at HPB? The Poky Little Puppy will visit our Corpus Christi HPB on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21 in honor of the “Golden Legacy: 65 Years of Golden Books” exhibition at the Art Museum of South Texas. 

Free Family Day at the Art Museum of South Texas

Celebrating 65 Years of Golden Books! Join HPB at the Art Museum of South Texas for Family Day. Lots of free activities including bookmaking, writing, illustrating, and visits from the Poky Little Puppy and our very own HPB bookworm, BW. See you on Sunday, April 22 from 1-4 p.m. Visit the Art Museum of South Texas’ website for details.

Edmond, Oklahoma

Local Authors Weekend 

Come to the University Village HPB in Edmond for our Local Authors Weekend. On Saturday, April 21 from 1-3 p.m., meet Warren Schulman and get an autographed copy of his political thriller The Lushan Addiction. Then come back on Sunday, April 22 from 1-3 p.m. to meet local author and active-duty OKC police officer Kevin Barnes and get a signed copy of his inspirational book The Gift: A Faith Journey of a Street Cop 

Crystal, Minnesota

Celebrating 5 Years in Crystal

How time flies! We’ve been here in Crystal, Minnesota for 5 years. Join us for our 5th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. BW, the Half Price Books Bookworm, will be here to greet you. Bring the whole family to join our wonderful employees for the free festivities – cake, drinks, music, balloons and more. Thanks for shopping at Half Price Books in Crystal!

 Monroeville, PA

 Photography Contest Winners on Display

Come see the winning photographs from the Murrysville Parks & Recreation Commissions Photography Contest. A display of the winners will be available in the Art & Photography section of the Monroeville HPB Monday, April 23 through Monday, April 30.   

Spot the Easter Bunny
There’s a furry, little Easter Bunny that’s inhabiting our Monroeville store. He likes to hide in all sorts of places high and low. If you spot him in store, let the cashier know his location and you’ll be entered to a raffle for a chance to win a $25 HPB Gift Card! Look carefully, he’s hoppin’ all around. Winner will be selected at the end of April. Need not be present to win.

Pittsburgh, PA

Record Store Day

Do vinyl grooves make you move? Come visit our Ross Township HPB on Record Store Day – Saturday, April 21. From 6 to 11 pm, all our $1.00 clearance records will be marked down to 50¢ each. See store for detailshardcovers. You won’t know what’s on sale until you visit. Tuesday Night Specials valid at this location only. Ask in store for details.

Pittsburgh Comic Convention
Hey all you wall crawlers, before you go meet Stan Lee, swing across the street from the convention center to the Holiday Center HPB Friday, April 20-Sunday, April 22, and check out our display of Stan Lee merchandise. Show your convention badge or wristband and get a free comic (pre-selected by management).

Burleson, Texas

Vinyl Sunday

Get your groove on and enter for a chance to win a USB turntable! On Sunday, April 1 the McAlister Square HPB in Burleson will have all $1vinyl LPs marked down to 25¢, with all other LPs at 20% off the sticker price. See store for details.

Tuesday Night Specials
Stop by our Burleson location each Tuesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. for discount specials. Great savings may include 20% off DVDs or 30% off fiction

Mansfield, Texas

20% Off “Hump Day” Sale
Join us in Mansfield every Wednesday from 7-10 p.m. for a special 20% Off “Hump Day” Sale. Each week, we’ll feature a 20% discount on different categories of merchandise. Stop by today or call 682-518-7302 to find out what’s on sale this week! Hump Day Sale at Mansfield, Texas location only.

20% Off Vinyl on Record Store Day
We’re not just a place to buy books. We sell records, too! So, we’re joining the fun of Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21. Swing by the Mansfield HPB to save an extra 20% off all vinyl in store! Plus, for each $10 you spend on LPs, you’ll be entered to win a USB Turntable. Discount at this location only. See store for details.

Avon, Indiana

Retro Thursdays

Think it’s still cool to be old school? Stop by the HPB in Avon every Thursday from 5-9 p.m. and get 20% off all vinyl, cassettes, comics, graphic novels and manga. Offer good at this location only.

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Comic Books Sale
Whamo! That’s right! Stop by the Fort Wayne location every Thursday and save an additional 20% off all comic books in store. Sale at the Fort Wayne HPB location only. 

LP Day – Fridays
Join us each Friday for LP Day. All LPs will be 20% off, with some of your favorite songs being played on the turn-table.

Castleton Commons – Indianapolis, Indiana

Vinyl Fridays
Join us for a LP shopping spree! Get 20% off all vinyl on Fridays at our Castleton Commons HPB.  Come back each week for new discoveries and savings! No exclusions. All LPs discounted each Friday at this location until further notice.

Greenwood Shoppes – Greenwood, Indiana

Music Fridays
Looking for some soothing grooves or pounding beats to start your weekend? Stop by the Greenwood HPB every Friday to get 20% off all CDs, LPs, cassettes and 8-track tapes. Offer good at this location only.

South Arlington – Arlington, Texas

Retro Media Fridays

Get ready for a throwback! Join us at the Four Corners HPB in South Arlington every Friday night from 7-10 p.m. All retro media is 20% off – including LPs, cassette tapes, 8 tracks, VHS tapes and LaserDiscs.

Beavercreek, OH; Kenwood Galleria – Cincinnati; Hamilton, OH, Northgate – Cincinnati and Florence, KY

Vinyl Fridays
Join us for a LP shopping spree! Get 20% off all vinyl on Friday, April 27 from 7 to 9 p.m.  Come back the last Friday of each month for new discoveries and savings! All LPs discounted at Beavercreek, Kenwood Galleria, Hamilton, Mason and Florence, Kentucky locations until further notice.

Brice Park – Reynoldsburg, OH

Crafternoon at HPB
Do you like a good DIY craft? Want to celebrate Earth Day? Then join our Brice Park HPB on Sundays, April 15 and 22 from 1-3 pm for an afternoon of crafts using recycled materials. See store for details.

Lexington, KY

Vinyl Fridays
Move to the groove while you shop! Join us on the last Friday of each month from 6pm to 10pm and listen to classic tunes on vinyl and get 20% off all vinyl LPs at our Sir Barton Place HPB in Lexington. Discount at this location only.

Mansfield, Texas

20% Off Vinyl on Record Store Day

We’re not just place to buy books. We sell records, too! So, we’re joining the fun of Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21. Swing by the Mansfield HPB to save an extra 20% off all vinyl in store! Plus, for each $10 you spend on LPs, you’ll be entered to win a USB Turntable. Discount at this location only. See store for details. 

Storytime – Multiple Locations

Many of our stores have weekly or monthly storytimes.  Check out this month’s listings:

Huebner Road – San AntonioVisit Huebner Road the first Sunday of every month for Storytime Sunday at 2 p.m. Join our staff for a reading of one of our favorite children’s books, geared toward booklovers ages 2-8. See you April 1!

Mesquite, TX Pack up your kiddos and visit our store in Mesquite every Sunday for Storytime and Crafts. Sit down and enjoy a good tale and free activity with us from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Readers and arts-and-crafts lovers of all ages are welcome. Recurring each Sunday until further notice.

Rockwall, TX Visit us in Rockwall each Sunday at 3 p.m. for a fun story.  Stick around and get crafty with us with a new activity for kids each week. Storytime recommended for kids ranging from pre-schoolers to 5th graders.

Lincoln Square – Arlington, TX Join us at Lincoln Square every Sunday at 2 p.m. for a fun tale.  Recommended for kids ranging from infants to 6 years of age. Refreshments will be provided.

Four Corners — Arlington, TX – Pack up your half-pint readers and come to Four Corners HPB in South Arlington for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 3pm every Sunday afternoon. Recommended for kids ranging from 2 to 8 years of age.

Burleson, TXPack up your little readers and join us at our Burleson location for a preschool storytime being held in conjunction with the Burleson Library. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 11 a.m. April 2 and April 16. See store for details.

Humble, TX – 

Bring the kids for a children’s storytime every Wednesday from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Join us for “Penny and Pup” by Linda Jennings on April 4; “Bye-Bye, Crib” by Alison McGhee on April 11; “Night of the Veggie Monster” by George McClements on April 18; and “Wiggens Learns His Manners” by Leslie McGuirk and Alex Von Bidder on April 25. Snacks will be provided. Recommended for kids ages 1 to 6.

Corpus Christi, TX Pack up your half-pint readers and come to Moore Plaza for Storytime Sundays. We’ll share a tale from 2 to 3 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month.  Recommended for kids ranging from pre-school to 4th grade.  See you April 8!

San Marcos, TX – Pack up your half-pint readers and come to our San Marcos HPB for Storytime Saturdays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale and a special activity with us each Saturday at 1:30 pm. Refreshments will be provided.

Hurstbourne – Louisville, KY Bring the kids the third Saturday of every month from 2 to 4 p.m. for story time. Join us for sing-alongs, coloring contests, story-telling and more.  See you April 21!

Parmer Crossing – Austin, Texas – Join us each Saturday, in April for a special storytime and craft hour.  Here’s the schedule of books:

As always, be sure to check your local store’s webpage to see if anything has been added throughout the month.

Happy reading!

-Emily

Donate a children’s book today! (Half Pint Library kicks off)

Have you heard that Half Price Books has committed to donating one million books to the community in 2012? One of the major ways we give the gift of reading each and every year is through our Half Pint Library Book Drive, and it’s that time again! 

The Half Price Books’ 2012 Half Pint Library Book Drive runs February 20-March 31, 2012. Drop off your new or gently used children’s books at any Half Price Books location. For every book donated, HPB will match it. Donations will benefit local nonprofit organizations in your community. For more information about how the book drive works, make sure to check out our FAQs.

2012 marks the 13th year of Half Pint Library program. With your help, we have provided more than two and a half million books and created hundreds of Half Pint Libraries across the nation. In 2011 alone, 313,840 books were donated to hundreds of nonprofit groups and schools in 16 states. Thank you for helping to share the love of reading with deserving children and their families. 

Hey, Teachers and Librarians! Interested in hosting your own Half Pint Library Drive at your school? Your school could win a $200 HPB Gift Card!

Enroll your school to host a Half Pint Library Book Drive March 19-23 for a chance to win an HPB Gift Card for your school or library. Registration is open now and closes March 9th.

Ready, set, go! 

 — Kate (and BW) 

HPB Reading Challenge: Lit Classics

Did you know that the weather powers-that-be predicted an exceptionally cold winter this year? When we first heard that, Jenni and I headed to Half Price Books to stock up on some great “cozy up to the fire” reads — so even though Old Man Winter is later than normal this season, we’ll be ready for him when he arrives!

Cozying up to the fire always makes us think of returning to the classics — Dickens, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Whitman. Then the blog team at Half Price Books mentioned that other customers wanted to do a “Reading Challenge,” where everybody pledges to read a certain genre of books together– and Jenni and I thought, “We should do a Literature Classics Challenge!”

The idea is this: if you have always thought to yourself, “Ah, I always meant to read Fountainhead, or Catch 22, or War and Peace, but never had the time,” now’s our chance to shake on it and do this thing together.

The goal is to read:

  1. A Children’s/Young Adult Classic
  2. 19th Century Classic
  3. 20th Century Classic
  4. A Classic Play

You can sign up for the challenge in the comments section of this post (be sure to indicate WHICH books you’ll be reading!) by Friday, January 27th. The challenge will end March 31, 2012 (at which point we’ll move onto another Reading Challenge!) Everyone who signs up for the challenge & completes it will be entered into a drawing for a $50 HPB gift card.

Have any questions? Enter in the comments or drop me a line here.

Reporting from the store floor,

Jim Swayze

Happy 40th Anniversary, HPB!

CHEERS and Happy 40th Anniversary year, Half Price Books! (and Happy New Year, Booklovers!)

In 1972, a small dream was realized in a converted Dallas Laundromat. Born out of a love for reading and recycling, that one little used bookstore grew into the (soon to be) 115 new and used bookstores you and I know and love today. Can you believe it? Forty years of Half Price Books!

HPB’s endured a lot of change over the first forty. Truly, we’ve had to make the rules up as we go along to accommodate our shoppers’ needs and changes in the world. For 2012, Half Price Books’ New Year’s resolution is the same as it’s been since 1972: “Be fair to customers and employees, promote literacy, be kind to the environment and remain financially viable so we may continue…” and perhaps we can uphold this mission for at least 40 more!

We have a lot planned this year. Care to join in the celebration? We’ll still have great savings every day and we’ll continue to let you know when we have special events like our sales and awesome coupons. PLUS there will be some surprises along the way! We’ve promised to donate 1 Million Books this year; we’re continuing our committment to the environment by striving to recycle what we can’t sell, and we’ll even have a special 40th Anniversary Earth Day project in April.  Most of all—we have YOU! Without our customers, these past forty years would have meant nothing. Come in any day so we can thank you. Talk to us on our blog or Facebook or Twitter and let us know how we’re doing and how you would like to celebrate with us this year. Let’s just make this year one big party, eh?

How about we kick it off with a little contest? Want to win a special 40th Anniversary gift pack? In the comment box below, tell us the first store you ever visited and what year! Think you have visited the most? Let us know HOW MANY! We’ll pick one winner at random by 3pm CST Friday, January 6th. 

We can’t wait to see you in the stores soon! Thank YOU for your loyalty all this time!

— Becky

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who entered! Our randomly selected winner is Matt Rackar, who has visited nearly 80 stores, but his very first was in 1995 in Houston, Texas! Matt, please email besocial@hpb.com with your contact information so we can give you details on your 40th anniversary prize pack! Be sure to check back on the blog often for our next giveaway.

Holiday Entertaining Recipes & Cookbook Giveaway

Throw open your doors to family and friends for gatherings and feasts filled with holiday cheer. To help inspire you, here are some sweet and savory recipes for your holiday entertaining. Find these featured cookbooks in your neighborhood HPB store or online at HPB Marketplace. Be sure to read through to the end for details how you can win a cookbook!

As my family gathers around at grandmother’s house on Christmas morning, the first thing to disappear are the Piglets in Blankets. Here’s how to make them. Unroll an 8 oz package of crescent roll dough. Cut into four strips about 1/8 inch wide. Wrap one strip of dough tightly around each mini sausage. You can also cut the dough into triangles and roll them croissant-style, if you wish. Place wrapped piggies on baking sheet or pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Just before baking, whisk 1 large egg with 2 tsp water. Brush the dough with egg wash. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot out of the oven.  Makes about 4 dozen.

– Recipe from Parties and Projects for the Holidays by Martha Stewart

Whip up a batch of crisp and flaky Rugelach cookies for your Chanukkah party. Start by mixing in a bowl 4 oz unsalted butter and 4 oz white cheese (none of that low-fat business, full-fat farmer’s cheese). Beat in 1 tbsp sugar, 1 egg, and 1/2 tsp salt. Fold 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour into the creamy mixture until the dough can be worked with the hands. Knead and shape the dough into a ball, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each piece until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Then brush with a little melted butter. Sprinkle golden raisins and chopped walnuts (or substitute raisins for chocolate chips, if you prefer). Sprinkle dough with a touch of sugar and cinnamon. Cut the rounds into 8 to 10 wedges. Roll the triangle from the large end towards the tip (resembling a croissant). Place on baking sheet. Brush the tops with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool before serving. Makes 48 to 60 cookies.

– Recipe from Jewish Food for Festivals and Special Occasions by Marlena Spieler

After an evening out singing Christmas carols, warm up with this treat – Spiced Hot Chocolate. Mix together in a saucepan 3-3/4 cups of mil, 7 oz of dark chocolate (at least 70% solid cocoa) broken into pieces, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp allspice. On medium heat, whisk until it’s simmering. Remove from heat and pour into heatproof glasses or mugs. Garnish with a whole cinnamon stick and a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 3 to 4.

For a beverage suitable for your holiday cocktail party or for ringing in the new year, try a Gumdrop Martini. First, rub the rim of a chilled martini glass with the wedge of a lemon, then dip the glass edge in a saucer of superfine sugar. Shake over ice cubes 2 measures of lemon rum, 1 measure of vodka, 1/2 measure of Southern Comfort whiskey, 1/2 measure of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp dry vermouth. Strain into prepared glass and serve with a toast!
– Drink recipes from The Bartender’s Guide by Parragon Books

In the family-tradition of Half Price Books, we love have a good time — especially so around the holiday season. In the words of founder Ken Gjemre: “We’re going to eat and drink some. We’re going to party more. We’re going to shop more. We’re going to remember friends, family and children. And we’re going to be nice to one another. Now what’s wrong with that?”

Tell us about your favorite holiday tradition or family recipe! Enter yours in a comment below and you’ll be automatically entered to win a FREE cookbook. Three lucky winners will receive a selected cookbook from Half Price Books. Winners will be randomly selected at 3pm CST on Friday, December 9. Don’t forget to share this with your friends so they can enter to win a free cookbook too!

Eat, drink and be merry.

— Meredith

 

UPDATE: Congratulations to our winners – Laura Olson who shared her “Holly” cornflakes recipie; Daria Schaffnit who told us about grandma’s cookie factory; and Megan Miller who shared about her tradition to make gingerbread men. You’ve each won a free cookbook! To claim your prize, drop us a note at besocial@hpb.com with “Cookbook Giveaway” in the subject and include your mailing address in the body. This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Enter to Win an HPB Gift Card on Dictionary Day

Did you know this Sunday, October 16, is Dictionary Day? Dictionary Day honors Noah Webster, considered by many to be the Father of the American Dictionary. Born on October 16, 1758, Webster began to write his dictionary at the age of 43, and after 27 years, the dictionary was complete! In addition to traditional English vocabulary, it contains uniquely American words.

Aren’t dictionaries helpful? Such a wonderful resource, right? In honor of Dictionary Day, HPB has developed a brand-new term for customers’ ultimate resource, whether they’re seeking a new author, a new genre to get into, or a certain hard-to-find book: The HPB Bibliomaniac.

Don’t know what an HPB Bibliomaniac is? Here’s a handy definition for you:

Our knowledgeable booklovers are unique, interesting people who wait in anticipation to talk books with any curious customer out there. Whether it’s a certain title you can’t quite remember, an author whose name you forgot, or a textbook needed for class, our Bibliomaniacs are happy to help you find what you need!

Check out the great things our customers have to say about our Bibliomaniacs:

 

To take part in Dictionary Day (which all Bibliomaniacs celebrate with great enthusiasm and verve), take time to peruse your dictionary and brush up on some vocab (just in case there’s a spelling bee around the corner).

Enter to win an HPB Gift Card by making a comment here telling us about your best customer service experience at Half Price Books. We’d love to hear how our Bibliomaniacs helped you. Winner will be randomly selected on Monday, October 17.

— Jessica W.

Can you spell G-R-A-N-D O-P-E-N-I-NG?

To celebrate the Grand Opening of our newest store in Edmond, Oklahoma, Half Price Books hosted its first ever kids’ spelling bee Wednesday evening before the store officially opened its doors on Thursday morning. We had a great turnout with participation from 27 4th-8th grade kids throughout the Edmond and OKC area.      

As the Bee began, contestants bravely approached the microphone to spell such stumpers as “lackadaisical,” “yeoman,” and “isosceles.” Many successfully spelled their tricky words round after round, and after gauging the audience’s reactions, it seemed that quite a few of the adults (including the judges) felt that they themselves could use a spelling refresher to perform as well as these kids. 

Despite the pressure, we kept the Bee as lighthearted as possible and rewarded our fearless spellers and their parents with fun door prizes between the rounds. All contestants received a spelling bee goodie bag with an HPB gift card for some sneak preview shopping. As the rounds progressed and the spellers began to dwindle, it was clear the competition was going to be a battle to the very end.

The final threeBy Round 9, we were down to our final three. Eighth grader Natasha walked away with our 3rd place prize as her sister Angela battled it out for first place with tough-as-nails competitor Ethan. After a couple of close calls (“rhinoceros” and “dermatophyte” are much trickier to spell than you might think), Angela correctly spelled “cardiomegaly” to win the Bee. She left with a $100 HPB gift card and her school received a $200 gift card to stock up on books for their library.

Cheyenne Middle School Media Director Julie Richards, Spelling Bee winner Angela, and Principal Susie Schinnerer accept the $200 HPB gift card for their school library. Beyond having fun and welcoming our new store to Edmond, HPB had a very important mission in organizing the Spelling Bee. For every correctly spelled word during the evening, HPB has pledged to donate $1 to the OKC Metro Literacy Coalition to increase literacy education for young adults throughout Central Oklahoma. Future spelling bees, here we come!

Congratulations to all of our Spelling Bee contestants (you’re all w-i-n-n-e-r-s!) and to our newest store in Edmond, Oklahoma

Did you ever participate in a spelling bee growing up? What is your favorite tricky word?

— Kate (and BW, of course)