Meet the Bibliomaniacs: The HPB Wichita Team

Hey Booklovers! We’re beyond excited for the opening of our new store in Wichita, KS. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniacs, we would like to introduce you to the HPB Wichita team. Take it away, guys!

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What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
Charity: The other employees have been fantastic.
Kathleen: I get to be surrounded by the things I love with people who also love books and media, too. Seeing people come in with things to sell is an adventure. You never know what will be there!
Jonathan: The atmosphere.
Matt: Seeing and buying so many books.
Sarah: The people I work with and the customers.
Morgana: I enjoy how patient and reassuring all of my superiors have been. It creates a comfortable work environment.
Thomas: The work environment, working with people who like books. Customers and employees alike.
Lisa: Exposure to new subjects and expanding my knowledge of books.
Hunter: Seeing all the new products and interesting things come through.
Anissa: Being around books and learning about new subjects.
Caleb: Interacting with people who have the same passions I do.
Tim: Being exposed to rare and exciting collectibles and learning something new every day.
Kristal: Working with a company that has such diverse interests and really values both customers and employees. Also, my favorite part about buying books is that they can tell you a story about the people selling them to you, and you never know what that story will be. 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

Meet the Teachers: Highlighting Educators in the Community

Educators hold a special place in our hearts at Half Price Books. Earlier this year, we introduced you to a pair of teachers who are true HPB booklovers. Adriana and Jeffery Sifford visited every HPB in the Houston, TX area (there are nine for anyone who’s counting) in a single day and tweeted about their adventure along the way. In this Q&A, we get to know Adriana and Jeff, and discover more about their choice to pursue a career in education.

Why did you become an educator?
Adriana – When I was a reporter, I covered education and I loved going to teachers’ classrooms and watching them teach. Students were engaged, teachers were having fun. I watched how students were learning from the teachers, and I always wanted to be a part of that.
Jeffrey – This may sound so cliché, but to make a difference. I always enjoyed learning and that’s something I wanted to pass on.

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What do teachers do when their kids are at lunch? Take selfies in the classroom! Looking good, Adriana.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Adriana – My favorite teacher was Ms. Martinez. She was my 9th grade English teacher. She was nice, patient and was there for us when we needed her. She was also my debate coach. She made learning fun!
Jeffrey – My favorite teacher was my 4th grade English teacher, Mrs. Zaskoda. She made reading come alive and I looked forward to going to her class every day. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Literacy

September is National Literacy Month and a great time to think about the importance of reading in our lives.

Sadly, there are more than 36 million adults in this country that cannot read, write or do basic math above a third-grade level. And this affects almost every aspect of their lives – they can’t read to their children (which makes their kids more likely to have low literacy skills), job prospects are slim and they can’t read prescriptions or other healthcare information, which makes them more likely to have health problems. The list goes on and on.

Luckily, there are many wonderful organizations across the country working to make sure this won’t always be the case!

One of the organizations we support here in our hometown of Dallas is Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT). I’m a proud member of their board of directors – it’s wonderful to see the work they do with the community each day!

To support organizations like this, Half Price Books will host Literacy Benefit Day on Saturday, Sept. 8. We’ll donate 5% of our sales that day to literacy partners across the country – up to $20,000.

We’ve also designed some buttons with a purpose so you can show your support for literacy.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of these buttons will benefit our local literacy partners – available while supplies last.

So we hope you’ll stop by stores in September to help support these great organizations that are boosting the literacy skills of both kids and adults alike.

To find the literacy partner near you, check out our Literacy Month page.

This Husband and Wife Teacher Duo Spent Their Summer Vacation Touring HPB Stores and It’s the Cutest Thing EVER!

On Monday, July 2, 7th grade reading teacher Adriana Sifford and her husband 12th grade English teacher Jeff of Houston, TX set out to complete the ultimate booklover’s challenge…to visit every Half Price Books location in their area!

The idea was born when the couple decided to stop by HPB Rice Village after attending a summer workshop at a nearby university. Both had never been to the location and were eager to check it out.

“While there, Jeff turned to me and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do all nine locations in one day?’ And I said, ‘Challenge accepted!'” Adriana explained.

Challenge Accepted

The couple went home that night, laid out a list of requirements for each store visit, planned their route and set off for a day of bookish adventure. #TeachersOnSummerVacation

The first stop was HPB Clearlake.

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: Greg Lamer

For most HPB Bibliomaniacs, books are a way of life. And for Greg, that extends to printing, publishing and promoting the literacy scene in Lexington, KY. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac, Greg shares more about his non-profit work, engaging with the community and some of his bookish favorites.

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When did you join the team?
October of 2002 at HPB Olathe, Kansas

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
I like the “what’s next” philosophy of our bookstores. There is always something new to try or old to change. I like seeing how different people and personalities approach the same problem and manage to come out with often very different, but sufficient results. If you want something to change, or if you want to try something new, it has been my experience that the opportunity is there as long as you do your homework.

What are you reading right now?
On and off I am reading like 10 books… the one I have committed the most time to is City Poet by Brad Gooch. It’s about Frank O’Hara’s life.

What is your all-time favorite book, movie or album? 
For me, this question is really hard. I don’t think I have settled on my “all-time favorite” anything because there are always new things to read, watch or listen to. If we freeze time and I had to pick right this instant, I would say my favorite book is City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City by Greg Girard. My favorite movie is The Normal Heart and my favorite album is No Shape by Perfume Genius. But these will change by the time you publish this.

 

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: Tony Warmus

June is Great Outdoors Month, which made us think of HPB Regional Manager, Tony Warmus. When he’s not overseeing stores in Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Missouri, Tony is outside hiking, skiing the Canadian Rockies or tending to his bee apiary. In this edition of Meet the Bibilomaniac, Tony shares his favorite books, movies, outdoor adventures and more. Take it away, Tony! 

hiking

When did you start working at HPB?
1991

What is your favorite part about working here?
The people I work with, some of whom I’ve known for over 20 years. That and the fact that I can always discover something new to read when I visit each of my stores.

What are you reading right now?
Well, I’m reading more than one book. It’s hard to have only one going at a time! For fiction, I’m currently reading a collection of short stories by Ottessa Moshfegh called Homesick for Another World. She was recommended by David Sedaris when we saw him give a reading at Butler University here in Indianapolis. To say her humor is obtuse is putting it mildly! I love the voice of her characters and the odd details she describes. I haven’t laughed out loud while reading a book in a quite a while. I’d highly recommend her book.

For nonfiction, I just picked up The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms by Amy Stewart. It’s basically about what the title says, and it’s full of so many interesting facts about earthworms that I can’t put it down. For example, did you know that after the glaciers retreated after the last ice age, the exposed ground would have remained free of earthworms for nearly 1.5 million years if it hadn’t been for the spread of agrarian culture around the world? I just think that’s incredible! It’s a very readable book. Amy Stewart also wrote The Drunken Botanist, another one of my favorites.

 

If you could write a book about yourself, what would the title be?
It would be one of those long titles, probably something like Pour Me Some Wine and I’ll Tell You My Tale. As that title may suggest, I’m fond of a good glass of wine, particularly during what I like to call my “attitude adjustment” hour between 5-6 p.m. every day.

What is your all-time favorite book, movie or album?
My all-time favorite book is The Direction of Time by physicist Hans Reichenbach. I guess that gives me away as being a bit of a nerd. That book is the classic work on the underlying nature of time, part philosophy and part advanced physics. Hans Reichenbach was the first scientist to help really clarify the notion that entropy ensures time moves in one direction, what we perceive as forward.

My all-time favorite movie would be Aliens, at least judging by the number of times I’ve re-watched it. That movie is good on so many levels, but I really love watching the transition of Ripley from meek, science consultant to confident leader of the surviving group of soldiers.

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: Renee Hodge and Martin Reiss

HPB North Oaks in Houston, TX, recently received a makeover, with the construction of an all-new “Staff Picks” section at the front of the store! As a family-owned, community-oriented bookstore, Half Price Books hires employees that reflect the neighborhoods in which we do business. The beauty of a neighborhood bookstore is in the sharing of ideas, so the new Staff Picks section at HPB North Oaks was designed to celebrate that connection between community and store by starting a conversation about what the HPB North Oaks team is reading. Let’s meet some of those team members in this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniac–Renee Hodge and Martin Reiss, Store Manager and Assistant Store Manager.

Martin and Renee

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
MR: I’m interested in every type of product we carry from books, movies, music and games. I love that I’m able to buy/sell what I am interested in.
RH: My favorite part of my job is the fact that each day is different. I have friends that go in to work and do the same thing each day in a cubicle and they are not enthusiastic about their jobs.

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: April Wakeman

We’re beyond excited that our new store in the Beechmont area of Cincinnati is joining the HPB family! In this edition of meet the bibliomaniac, we introduce you to April Wakeman, Assistant Store Manager. She joins the team all the way from HPB in Washington. Take it away, April!

April Hammer - Copy

When did you join the team?
I began my HPB career at the Concord, California store in November of 2008. Since then, I’ve worked in Bellevue and Redmond Washington, and I’m currently helping install the Beechmont store in Cincinnati, Ohio.

What is your favorite part about working at HPB?
I love the variety of work and experiences that are part of daily life at HPB. No two days are quite the same, and something new happens every single day!

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Meet the Bibliomaniac: The HPB Vernon Hills Team

Shopping for books, music and movies in the Windy City is about to get a whole lot breezier. In this edition of Meet the Bibliomaniacs, you’ll get to know the management team at HPB Vernon Hills, IL. Kelly, Tom, Tim, Jade and Allie are ready to help you with all your bookish needs. Take it away, guys!

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What is your favorite part about working at HPB?

Kelly:    I love the product and the company, but my favorite part is the people I’ve met!
Tom:      The company culture and the friends I’ve made at all the stores in the district.
Tim:       Cool people galore; surrounded by books.
Jade:     Being surrounded by books and people with such unique, varying interests.
Allie:     I find something that fascinates me every day.

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