If you ask me what my favorite musical is, my answer will be the 1952 MGM musical comedy Singin’ in the Rain. In 2007 the American Film Institute ranked this movie #5 in AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time, so I know I’m not alone. I don’t know if it’s Gene Kelly spinning in circles with an umbrella, Donald O’Connor flipping off walls, or Debbie Reynolds doing the hula during the “Good Morning” dance routine, but there is something about Singing in the Rain that captivates us and keeps us singing 65 years after its release. Here are some facts you may not know about one of America’s favorite musicals:
March 14 is the day everyone in the world, or at least everyone here in the U.S. (where we put the month before the day), pauses to celebrate that most constant of mathematical constants, that most transcendental of transcendental numbers. Of course, I’m talking about Pi, also known as “π,” also known as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, also known as 3.14 (give or take a trillion digits). 3.14…3/14…March 14. Get it? Yeah, me neither. Never had much of a head for math.
Nevertheless, this Pi Day thing seems to be real. They even have a website where you can buy a t-shirt and watch a rap video.
All this hubbub got me thinking about my favorite books, movies and even songs that feature a heavy dose of math. You can look for these at your local HPB and do some math when you calculate how much money you’re saving.
Life of Pi
This 2001 novel by Yann Martel and its 2012 film adaptation tell the story of Piscine “Pi” Patel, an Indian boy who adopts the nickname Pi after kids make fun of his real name. That’s a pretty great story right there, but things get more interesting when Pi is stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger, a hyena and a zebra. Okay, there’s actually not too much math in this story, but it’s a great read, the movie has amazing animation and the kid’s name is Pi.
This is a book about human computers. No, it’s not sci-fi; it’s the non-fiction bestseller by Margot Lee Shetterly that inspired the acclaimed movie about female African-American mathematicians at NASA. They were called human computers because, like, they did computations. Set during World War II, the Space Race and the Civil Rights Movement, the book profiles four ladies who were among the space program’s unsung heroes. Continue reading
EDITOR’S NOTE: This year at HPB, we’re celebrating the random. Actually, we’ve been doing that every year since our founding in 1972. And we mean random in a totally good way, as in the random treasures you come across when you’re browsing our stores or website—and the wonderfully random stuff we buy from the public every day. In this series of posts, you’ll find books, movies and music collected in some very random ways. So here’s our list for March 2017!
Why Bob? Because it’s the best nickname ever invented, that’s why. It’s short. It’s punchy. It’s a palindrome. You can even play it in Scrabble.™ This month we celebrate some of the famous Bobs & Roberts who you can find at Half Price Books. Continue reading
Anyone who knows me at all understands that I am a movie junkie. So when thinking about Black History Month, I can’t help but think one of the best ways to celebrate is to go down to your local cinema and check out some of the great films that are out about black-American culture and black-American history.
The first movie you should check out is Hidden Figures. This is the true story of mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who were all employed by NASA and were the masterminds of calculating trajectories and orbits to get the first American, astronaut John Glenn, in to space. Katherine Johnson was also given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November of 2015 by President Barack Obama for her work with the space program.
I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Unfortunately, some of my favorite literary characters don’t get that happy ending, whether it’s because they themselves are heartbreakers or because the story they have been written into is literally heartbreaking (sometimes, it’s a little bit of both). But whether it’s the character or the author that breaks our heart, we have to admit they are impossible to forget.
Here are five heartbreakers and five heartbreaking stories that we can’t seem to quit.
George Wickham from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—He may have all the appearance of goodness, but looks can be deceiving.
Rhett Butler from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind—Heartbreaker or heartbroken? He may be a little of both, but he don’t give a damn.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This year at HPB, we’re celebrating the random. Actually, we’ve been doing that every year since our founding in 1972. And we mean random in a totally good way, as in the random treasures you come across when you’re browsing our stores or website—and the wonderfully random stuff we buy from the public every day. In this series of posts, you’ll find books, movies and music collected in some very random ways. So here’s our list for February 2017!
Face it. Everybody has a body. So it’s no wonder anatomical words can be eyeballed on the spines of so many hip books, movies & records. HPB is a great place to get your hands on them without spending an arm and a leg. (We should have quit while we were a head.)
Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
MOVIES & TV
Cool Hand Luke
Cheek to Cheek, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
Every Open Eye, CHVRCHES
Hair: Original Broadway Cast Recording
Speaking in Tongues, Talking Heads
But everyone nose that’s only part of the list. Thumb through dozens of other body-related titles at HPB.com/body.
Take a look at the rest of our Totally Random Lists series.
Hooray for Hollywood! The 89th Academy Awards will be giving out their most coveted statue, the Oscar, in about a month. The best race this year is between Emma Stone and Natalie Portman, but we want to make a case for — you guessed it — Kevin Bacon. Here is a fun graphic taking all the lead actors and actresses and connecting them to Kevin Bacon. Maybe you can do one using all Oscar winners! For instance, Natalie Portman who is nominated for Jackie and won Best Actress for Black Swan was in Closer with Julia Roberts (Best Actress in Erin Brockovich) who was in Flatliners with…Kevin Bacon. Who are you predicting to win? Enjoy the Oscars on Sunday, February 26 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on ABC.
Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate
EDITOR’S NOTE: This year at HPB, we’re celebrating the random. Actually, we’ve been doing that every year since our founding in 1972. And we mean random in a totally good way, as in the random treasures you come across when you’re browsing our stores or website—and the wonderfully random stuff we buy from the public every day. In this series of posts, you’ll find books, movies and music collected in some very random ways. So let’s get started with our first list for January 2017!
Authors have been using years in their book titles, for, well, years and years. To kick off the year called 2017, here’s a list of some notable books, movies & music named after a particular 12-month period.
1776, David McCullough
1919 (Vol. 2 of the U.S.A. Trilogy), John Dos Passos
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
MOVIES & TV
2001: A Space Odyssey
1984, Van Halen
1989, Taylor Swift
Of course, there are hundreds, even thousands of other years worth celebrating! Check out a longer version of this list at HPB.com/year.
In 2016, we encouraged our booklovers to travel more. Not the kind of travel that involves airplanes, passports and hotels, but the kind where you open a great book and let it take you somewhere. We’ve taken trips to 14 different cities this year and it has been an amazing journey around the world filled with books, music and movies. To wrap up our year of travel, let’s explore all that Texas a.k.a The Lone Star State has to offer.
Half Price Books was born in Texas in 1972. And we native Texans take comfort in knowing that no matter where we travel in the world, the place we get to come home to is pretty darn interesting in its own right.
From colonial and cowboy days right up to the mostly urban present, the unique character of the Lone Star State has long fascinated storytellers of all kinds.
But don’t take our word for it. Stop by your local HPB and find out what Larry McMurtry has to say. Or Lyle Lovett. Or Richard Linklater. (Okay, now it just seems like we’re bragging. Sorry. Guess we come by it naturally.) Continue reading