Have Books, Will Travel: To Hell & Back

Halloween is upon us, and we’ve got just the thing for those of you who love books that have a little tingle in the spine. Ah, yes. If you love a good ghoulish read, then this list is right up your dark alley. Should you be brave enough to embrace the terror, take a look as we guide you through our great, ghastly list of horror books perfect for reading in the dead of night with a flashlight held to your chin just so. This edition of Have Books, Will Travel? To Hell & Back. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA…ahem. Let’s get started!

 

Arthur's Halloween

Arthur’s Halloween by Marc Brown
We get it. Not everyone takes an interest in terror. Some of you enjoy an adorable dose of silly spookiness and that’s all you can handle. As an honorable mention, we look no further than our favorite nearsighted aardvark, Arthur. In the Halloween installment of Marc Brown’s beloved children’s series, Arthur must face his fears (and he has a lot of them) and find the courage to save his little sister after she wanders aimlessly into the scariest house on the block. Is D.W. doomed to spend the rest of her days in Elwood City’s most haunted house? Something tells us her brother has what it takes to set the scary things aside and save the day.

Number of lights you’ll need to leave on: A single night light if you must, but you should sleep just fine.lightbulb1 Continue reading

13 Book-Inspired Pumpkins

Fall has arrived, booklovers! As we bask in all things pumpkin spiced, let us not forget that the actual pumpkin still deserves our attention. That’s right, it’s pumpkin carving season and what better way to get your gourds in ghoulish order than to use themes based on iconic literary characters and books? No better way, we say. Need inspiration? Check out some of our favorite Instagram-worthy ideas below and break out the seed scooper. We’re willing to bet you’ll have the best pumpkin on the block.

1. Harry Potter

Dobby


View this post on Instagram

Happy (Godric) Holloween! I asked #TheSPEWCrew to pick a pumpkin design, so today involved socking it to self-doubt and setting the WitchCrafter FREE ♥️ In the end, I’m proud of the result and am also amazed my fingers lived to tell the tale… albeit two plasters later! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but all I cared about was The SPEW Crew seal of approval. As you can see in the second photo, my CEO Sir Bumble (Chief Elf Operator) can definitely see a likeness, so I’m calling it #magicmanaged 🌟 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Have you made any potterhead pumpkins? 🎃 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #daretocreate #harrypotter #bibliophile #autumn #daysofsmallthings #potterhead #houself #dobby #halloween2018 #bookpumpkin #dobbyisfree #pumpkindecorating #hogwartshalloween #wizardingworld #afreeelf #myeverydaymagic

A post shared by Mother of Crochet Beasties (@beeing_sophie) on

Continue reading

Candy & Books: A Sweet Pairing

There’s nothing I like better than a good book. Well, except a good book and some chocolate. Or something a little tart. Okay fine, I love candy, and I love books. Since it is October, I have plenty of each! What better way to celebrate this fun month than pairing candy and books?

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Candy Pairing: Payday

Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Pairing 1Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job—any job—could be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. She worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly “unskilled,” that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety and surprising generosity. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich’s perspective and for a rare view of how “prosperity” looks from the bottom.

Pair this critical book that is still relevant today with a Payday to appreciate the fact that millions of Americans have to work full-time, year-round from payday to payday just to survive.

Bossypants by Tina Fey
Candy Pairing: Snickers

Pairing 2Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning paragraph to the final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

Pair with a Snickers bar because you will not be able to contain your laughter while reading this classic, humorous account of Tina Fey’s life, as well as behind-the-scenes stories from her hit shows! Continue reading

Books Read the Movie: Horror Edition

BRTM_Horror.pngHalloween is quickly approaching, and everyone is out looking for a good scare. In celebration of Halloween, here is Books, Read the Movie Horror edition. First off, let me  say Jaws and Silence of the Lambs are two great movies, but I consider them more thrillers rather than  true horror movies. Also, the classic monster movies such as Dracula and Frankenstein are just that, classics and to me don’t fit in with modern horror films. That being said, lets get on with the list.

Continue reading

H.P. Lovecraft: Rarest of Rare Collectibles

We’re getting ready for Halloween, and that doesn’t just mean putting the final touches on our zombie and Princess Leia costumes, it also means getting out our favorite creepy stories to set the mood. In our stores all around the country, books by Ray Bradbury, Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe are popping up on displays. Some of those displays include collectible books, and there are none finer than the two classic collections of H. P. Lovecraft works we’re featuring here.

Our Greenfield, Wisconsin, store was fortunate enough to have received a visit from the nephew of a very early Lovecraft enthusiast, Paul Klingbiel. Two Arkham House Lovecraft books were among the many books Uncle Paul had years ago, over many weeks, shipped to his science-loving nephew Robert. Now those two Arkham House treasures are being offered to our customers.

The Outsider and Others, by H. P. Lovecraft
Arkham House, 1939. First Printing.
The book is in Very Good Plus condition. The dust jacket, which is price-clipped, is in VG condition; there are several closed tears and paper loss to top and bottom of spine. $3,600

outsiders Continue reading

Put the BOO in Books: Spooky Reads for Halloween

It’s that time of year again! Halloween is this Friday. What better way to get into the spooky spirit than reading a good book. Not every spooky story is filled with ghosts, ghouls or goblins. Sometimes just the build up of suspense and the fear of the unknown is enough to get the hair on the back of your neck standing straight up.

If you’re looking for a good mix of spine-tingling page turners, check out these titles at your local Half Price Books.

Classic Chills:

The Shining by Stephen King; Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk; Amityville Horror by Jay Anson; Coraline by Neil Gaiman; American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Newest Thrills:

Prince Lestat by Anne Rice; Gray Mountain by John Grisham; Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron; Dark Places by Gillian Flynn; Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

What reads put you in the Halloween spirit?

Sam is Public Relations Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

13 Flicks for a Halloween-ish Movie Marathon

Happy Halloween! Hope your holiday is festive and cheerful (or creepy and scary, if that’s more your style). The tradition at my house is to enjoy the cool night air, listen to children scurry and giggle on the streets, curl up on the couch with popcorn and candy, and watch a movie. And since I’m not a big fan of zombies or give-you-nightmares type of movies, I steer towards not-too-spooky selections. So (if you’re a scary-movie-wimp like me), here are some suggestions for your family’s Halloween-ish Movie Marathon.

1. It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966). How can you get into the Halloween spirit without watching this?! It’s a definite classic for young and old. Linus is waiting for the Great Pumpkin while those around him trick or treat. Will he be rewarded for his vigilance or left out in the cold once? Starring the Peanuts gang – Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Snoopy.

2. Hocus Pocus (1993). “I’m gonna put a spell on you…!” A Halloween tale in the bewitching town of Salem, Massachusetts. Three sisters who happen to be witches return to Salem after 300 years to wreak havoc on the town that hanged them. Starring: Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker; Director: Kenny Ortega.

3. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Make sure to have some Reese’s Pieces candy on-hand for this Oscar-winning family-friendly classic. A group of aliens visit earth and one of them is lost and left behind, and then found by a 10 year old boy, Elliot. Soon the two begin to communicate and start a different kind of friendship. Starring: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Drew Barrymore; Director: Steven Spielberg.

4. King Kong (1933). Classic thriller about a very large, monstrous ape running amok after being brought to New York City. Its groundbreaking effects and still-powerful, beauty-and-the-beast drama are considered required viewing for horror genre fans and cinema buffs alike. Starring: Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot. While you’re at it, watch the modern remake by Director Peter Jackson, King Kong (2005).

5. Edward Scissorhands (1990). This romance-fantasy movie directed by Tim Burton features an enchanting original film score by composer Danny Elfman. This is a Frankenstein meets Beauty and the Beast fairy tale about a man created by an inventor. But the inventor dies of a heart attack, leaving Edward unfinished with scissors for hands, living in solitude in a Gothic castle – until he’s discovered by an unsuspecting, friendly neighbor. It all starts with two words: “Avon calling!” Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder and Dianne Wiest.

6. The Sixth Sense (1999). Academy Award-nominated psychological thriller written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan tells the story of Cole, a troubled, isolated boy who claims to be able to see and talk to the dead. The famed line “I see dead people.” Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment and Toni Collette; Director: M. Night Shyamalan. For a good mind-bending thriller, watch some of Shyamalan‘s other films – including Signs (2002), The Village (2004), Lady in the Water (2006) and The Happening (2008).

7. Frankenstein (1931). Timeless tragedy about mad scientist creating murderous-yet-childlike creature. This founding example of the monster movie still fascinates horror fans and film history buffs with its still-chilling suspense and sterling performances. Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive; Director: James Whale.

8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Break out the pumpkin juice! Wands at the ready! Any Harry Potter film could suit your Halloween holiday film fix – or perhaps a Potter marathon, starting with the first movie in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001). But if you just want to watch one, choose Prisoner of Azkaban because it features the Halloween feast in Hogwarts’ Great Hall.

9. Casper (1995). This comedy-fantasy film, starring Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci, is based on the “Casper the Friendly Ghost” animated cartoons and comic books. At the time of its release, the computer-generated graphics rendering of America’s favorite ghost were considered cutting-edge technology.

10. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). This Walt Disney musical, starring Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson, combines live action and animation. The story is based on the books The Magic Bed Knob; or How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1945) by Mary Norton.

11. Coraline (2009). This stop-motion fantasy film, based on the novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman, taught us all to be careful what we wish for. Voiceover talent includes Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher. Now you can watch this spooky flick at home on Blu-Ray, DVD and even 3D.

12. Monsters, Inc. (2001). What’s not to love about this Pixar movie?! This animated film tells the previously-untold story about the monsters who’ve been scaring children for centuries, popping out of closets and roaring with all their might. Loveable voiceover talent includes John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Mary Gibbs (as Boo). Two words for you: “Mike Wazowski!”

13. Practical Magic (1998). Chocolate cake for breakfast, margaritas at midnight, and chanting spells in the kitchen – there are a lot of unconventional rituals in this house. Sally and Gillian, raised by their aunts, learn first-hand about the curse of Owens women. Based on the novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman. Starring: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest.

Magic. Witches. Monsters. Aliens. Ghosts. Goblins. There’s something spooky for everyone. Want more thrilling movie recommendations? Check out my round-up of The Best of Alfred Hitchcock, Jim’s Halloween Movie Favorites from the 80s and 90s and Top Five Horror Movies.

What is your favorite Halloween-ish flick?

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

Top 11 Family-Friendly Aliens

Regarding alien invasions . . . not every alien probes your eyeball or pops through your intestines in a gory mess! I find it deplorable to assume that those from another universe are just up to no good. As a matter of fact, once I started to think about it, we’ve grown up with a lot of pretty funny and friendly aliens in our time here on this planet. Here is a “nice list” of intergalactic beings that have made us smile, hoot and holler — and some we have even bought the stuffed toy to hug on forever and ever. Do you remember all of these?

                

The Aliens from Toy Story (1995, 1999, 2010); The Ewok and Chewbacca from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983); E.T. and Gertie from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982); Sparks from Aliens in the Attic (2009); Lilo & Stitch (2002); Fred, Barney and The Great Gazoo from The Flintstones (1965); Alf and the Tanner family from ALF (1986-90); Evie from Out Of This World (1987-91); Mork & Mindy (1978-82); The Yip Yips from Sesame Street (first appeared, 1971); Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes (1948).

Which kid-friendly aliens did we miss? And who do you think are the best and funniest aliens in the universe?

Hugging my stuffed E.T. a little tighter tonight, Becky

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.

Pumpkin Carving Step-by-Step DIY Guide

It is that time of year again where everyone is preparing for Halloween. Whether it be picking out costumes, buying candy or watching scary movies, October is a fun time of year. A Halloween tradition at Half Price Books corporate headquarters: pumpkin carving competion. And some departments take it pretty seriously. So, as we get in gear for our rivalry, I thought I’d share some tips on how to carve a design into the exterior of a pumpkin. This means foregoing the messy gut-removal of jack-o-latern style pumpkin carving. Instead of a self-portrait, I decided on someone a little more attractive than myself – a flesh eating zombie!


Find a picture you want to carve, your favorite monster, super-hero or even your kids. Print out the face so it fits on an 8.5 x 11 sheet. You may want it larger or smaller depending in the size of the pumpkin you have. Get your tools ready. You will need tape, a push pin or small nail, and a cutting tool. (I chose a linoleum cutter)
 
Take the print of your character and tape it the best you can to the pumpkin. It may be necessary to fold some corners and improvise since the pumpkin is a curved surface.
 
Once the face is taped down, begin punching small holes around all the edges you wish to cut. You might think it would be easier to take a razor blade and just cut along the edge. If you do this, the paper will be shredded before long and very hard to deal with.
 
After punching along the lines of your image, remove the paper and begin cutting away. Be carful when you are cutting, the pumpkins can be hard to handle and a slip of the knife or cutting tool can easily cause a bad injury.

And now you have your favorite (or creepy) face on a pumpkin.

Have a spooky and safe Halloween! – Jim

Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate.