Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Reading Tolkien

March 25 is Tolkien Reading Day, a day dedicated to reading the works of the genius that is J.R.R. Tolkien. As I thought back on my previous readings of the epic adventure Lord of the Rings and, of course, my favorite Tolkien book, The Hobbit, I realized that everything I need to know in life, I learned from reading Tolkien.

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It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door…You step into the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. (The Fellowship of the Ring)—Any day can become an adventure. Continue reading

Have Books, Will Travel: To The Emerald Isle

With a spring thaw on the horizon and holidays out of the way, it’s time to start holding ourselves accountable for all of those 2020 travel plans we pinned to our vision boards back in January. That’s right, readers. It’s time to pack your suitcases and, with any luck, make it to the airport in time to grab an overpriced coffee and get a head start on a good book. But where to, you ask? Ireland, of course. It is March, after all. In this month’s edition of Have Books, Will Travel, we take you to the Emerald Isle with novels that feature the historic country’s lush setting and plots that are sure to keep your interest until the next pint arrives.

9780143113492_18b4aIn The Woods by Tana French
The Land of Saints and Scholars has mystical wonders galore…or so we’ve heard. In any case, what better way to enjoy a view of the mist rising from the sea among moss-covered stones than with a cup of Irish breakfast tea and a good mystery? Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Santa

Name: Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Papa Noel, etc.
Job Title: CEO
Office Location: North Pole

The big guy in the red suit is a booklover, too! Who knew? (We did.) From films to cookies, we got the scoop on a few of Santa’s favorite things as he took a little time away from the workshop to have a fireside chat. Enjoy!

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What’s your favorite part of the job, you know, being the world’s best gift giver?

Spreading joy. They say it’s better to give than to receive and, you know, it really is true! Knowing that I can help add a bit of cheer to someone’s day, even if just for a moment, even if it’s just once a year, that makes the frequent flyer miles worth it.

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12 Humbugs for the Holidays

9781509825448_4c379As someone who loves to celebrate strange, but wonderful holidays, I was excited to come across a “holiday” dedicated to making you feel better by allowing you to voice your frustrations about the Holiday season. That’s right. December 21st is Humbug Day, when you can have 12 humbugs to vent your holiday frustrations.

The creators of this holiday also encourage the reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to learn more about the man that inspired this day, Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge. Of course, Scrooge only says “Humbug” nine times in the book, and only two of them include the interjection “Bah!” Still, if we’re given 12 humbugs on Humbug Day, I say we take them. So here are my 12 Humbugs for the Holidays.

Humbug 1—The décor that goes on sale before Halloween.

Humbug 2—The lights on your neighbor’s house that seem a bit extreme.

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Have Books, Will Travel: To The North Pole, With Love

‘Tis the season of cheesy Christmas romance movies! You know the ones.

A strictly business New Yorker type gets an assignment to go shut down a small town, family-owned bakery to make way for a big box store and finds herself unexpectedly charmed by Chris K., the gorgeous local bank owner who never reveals what his last initial stands for. He eats breakfast at the bakery every morning and allows it to continue to operate in spite of the fact that the rent has been late for the past 15 years because he knows the family and they’re good people. There’s at least one puppy with a red bow and there’s always a shot of someone’s grandma clasping her hands while watching snow fall from the front window of her home. Good stuff.

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Anyway, in honor of all films that mention “The Christmas Spirit” 42 times, we bring you a holly jolly list of romance novels set in the season of joy and peace; perfect for reading while curled up in front of a fully trimmed tree with a cup of hot cocoa.

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Books That Help You Escape from Family This Holiday Season

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

Book Snatch

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?”

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Have Books, Will Travel: From Fable to Table

Booklovers, rejoice! The holidays are just around the bend, which means meals. Plain and simple. Family and friends will gather around tables far and wide to partake in all manner of meats, potatoes, peas and pies. Nanas, grannies and great aunts will break out the recipes that have no exact measurements whatsoever and we’ll all salivate at the mere thought of seconds…okay, thirds…and an extra slice of cake. That’s right, as much as the holidays remind us of what it means to take a moment to be thankful for those near and dear, they also allow us to pig out. And in honor of that tradition, we bring you a list of Aesop’s fables made famous for their mention of food. Also, foxes. Aesop had a thing for foxes. Let’s dig in!

The Fox and the Crow

The Fox and The Crow

Our first mention of the fox finds the mischievous creature creeping up on a crow who had the good fortune of finding a piece of cheese. Never one to let a delectable morsel get away, the fox resorts to flattery as a means of coaxing the crow out of its snack. Sure enough, the shenanigans work, and the crow ends up dropping the cheese smack-dab into the snout of the enemy. Tsk tsk tsk. Keep a keen eye on those who shower you with empty acclaim.

Moral of the story:The flatterer lives at the expense of those who will listen to him.”

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Have Books, Will Travel – Summer Edition

Can you feel it? Spring allergies are practically a thing of the past and summer allergies are well on their way, school days are done and children are spending long evenings poolside, summer vacations are booked and seaside travel abounds. If you’re headed to the beach this season, why not let a few good books tag along?

Introducing our new series, Have Books, Will Travel, where we’ll give you suggestions about the best books to have by your side as you trot the globe. Let’s start seaside, shall we? It is summer, after all. Continue reading

100 LGBTQ+ Books Every Teen Should Read

Let’s be honest, finding inclusive books can be tough, especially if you’re a young adult. Growing up is already difficult, but not seeing yourself or someone you care about represented in media or literature is bound to make matters worse. Fortunately, there’s been an increase in options for LGBTQ+ booklovers over the past few years. In honor of Pride Month, we’ve crafted a list of 100 books that feature LGBTQ+ characters living their lives in the supernatural, in love and out loud. Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniac: The HPB Woodshoppe

It’s simple; you can’t sell books without something to put them on. That’s where the Half Price Books Woodshoppe comes in. With a staff of 11 employees, our Woodshoppe provides shelves and materials for all 125 HPB stores.

Established in 1984, the Woodshoppe’s work goes beyond a bookshelf that holds your next read. Shelves, counters and chairs are just a small portion of what is handmade at our 50,000 sq. ft. work space in Dallas, Texas. The Woodshoppe strives to stay true to our company mission. Be kind to the environment. Continue reading