Totally Random Lists: Going Places

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 August 2017!

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Pack your suitcase, put on your traveling pants and gas up the family truckster. At Half Price Books, we know getting there is half the fun, so we’re going on the road this month with a list of travel and transportation-related books, movies and tunes.

BOOKS
The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, Ian Fleming
The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
The Road, Cormac McCarthy

Aug visualMOVIES & TV
Knight Rider
National Lampoon’s Vacation
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The Polar Express

MUSIC
Blue Train, John Coltrane
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Lucinda Williams
Come Fly With Me, Frank Sinatra
Sonic Highways, Foo Fighters

 

Not ready to come home just yet? Check out our longer list of road trip-inspired titles at HPB.com/going.

HPB Geek 101 Class

July 13 is Embrace Your Geekness Day, but you know what I say? Let’s keep the spirit of Geekness alive all year long and make every day Embrace Your Geekness Day.

With that in mind, I’ve created a sort of 101 class for hardcore geeks and those with geek tendencies alike. Keep in mind, this is a survey course – with a focus on science fiction and horror. It was hard narrowing down to ten items, and there are plenty of great things that could’ve made the list. Sorry if your favorite geek obsession didn’t make the cut.

There’s a good chance you’ve read or watched at least some of these recommendations on this list, but here are ten essential books, movies and TV shows to boost your geek knowledge.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
I first read Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the third or fourth grade. To say it changed my life is probably an exaggeration. At the same time, the world made more sense after reading it – which is odd, because little in this series makes sense on the surface.hitch

A hapless every man, Arthur Dent, manages to escape our planet right before it’s blown up to create an intergalactic highway. Things get weirder from there, as Arthur Dent goes on many adventures he’s not suited for, including the successful (and disappointing) search for the meaning of life.

To begin with, stick to the first two books in the series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Together, the two books tell a complete story, and they have the best balance between Adams’ passion for science and his pessimism that we’re often far too dim to appreciate the world around us. Continue reading

30 Film Score Favorites

Film score composers are masters of emotion. Movies become extraordinary when the music is not just a bed but most another character unto itself, creating a sometimes-subliminal experience for the audience tailored to the cues of the film. A good film score can resonate with you long after the credits roll.

This list of my favorites isn’t an attempt to be comprehensive, so you can be forewarned that the classically-obvious selections – like Star Wars (1977), brilliantly-composed by John Williams, the epic score for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, composed by Howard Shore and Titanic (1997), the romantic and haunting composition by James Horner – are not included. But I hope to open your eyes (and ears) to some movies you might not have thought of before and to suggest you take a close listen to the beauty of the score entwined with these films. Without further ado, here are my 30 film score favorites (in no particular order).

Casablanca (1942), score composed by Max Steiner, likely ranks on most any “best of” movie list I’ve ever made (like this one, and this one). Its score is ageless. I could listen to it over and over again. And, in fact, I have.

Continue reading

Totally Random Lists: They Say it’s Your Birthday

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 July 2017!July Title.png

It’s our birthday, too! Half Price Books was born on July 27, 1972, which makes us a sprightly 45 this year—and we’re still growing. Your birthday’s probably on the calendar too, so go ahead and gift yourself with one of the birthday-related titles on the list below.

July VisualBOOKS
The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter
Mr. Birthday, Roger Hargreaves
On the Night You Were Born, Nancy Tillman

MOVIES & TV
13 Going on 30
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sixteen Candles
To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

MUSIC
21, Adele
B’Day, Beyoncé
Birthday, The Association
September of My Years, Frank Sinatra
 

To keep the birthday celebration going, check out our longer list of birthday-related titles at HPB.com/bday.

An Affair to Remember + Sleepless in Seattle, Plus Other Classic “Movies Within a Movie”

 “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.” – Terry McKay

An Affair to Remember (1957) celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. It first debuted in theaters July 11, 1957 and has been capturing the hearts of moviegoers and inspiring filmmakers ever since. Back in February of this year, for Valentine’s Day, I was delighted to go see the film again when it was screened in theaters for a special 2-day event. Sure, I could have watched it at home since I own it on DVD, but it was a romantic experience to take it in on the big screen. The cinematography in its original wide aspect ratio, glamorous mid-century sets and beautiful film score were a touch grander in the scale of the theater.

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Named the fifth most romantic movie ever by the American Film Institute, An Affair to Remember was actually a remake of  an earlier film success by director Leo McCarey called Love Affair (1939). The rights to the title Love Affair were still owned by Columbia Pictures at the time, so 20th Century Fox changed the name to the one we all know and love. Continue reading

My Best Friend’s Wedding Turns 20: The Top 10 Must-See Julia Roberts Movies

Twenty years ago today (June 20), America’s Sweetheart, Julia Roberts, graced the theaters with what some would say is her finest work: My Best Friend’s Wedding. The Julia-ness of Julianne “Jules” Potter, from her one-in-a-million smile to her sassy, spunky charm and, of course, that hair, made America fall in love with Julia Roberts all over again. A stellar supporting cast that includes Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett and Cameron Diaz, plus an incredible soundtrack featuring Burt Bacharach’s greatest hits, make this a can’t-miss romantic comedy classic. By God, there will be dancing!
my best friends wedding

But My Best Friend’s Wedding is not the only time Julia shined on screen. Let’s take a look at some of her other great roles. And trust me, it was hard to pick only 10!

Mystic Pizza (1988)—Interested in seeing Julia’s first feature film? Then check out this classic coming-of-age story featuring Julia at just 20 years old! Her signature sass is still present, along with a hint of youthful innocence.

mystic pizza Continue reading

Totally Random Lists: All the Colors of the Rainbow

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 June 2017!
June TypeWhen you’re painting your bedroom or dying your hair (for fashion reasons, of course, not vanity — you wouldn’t be that way), finding the exact right color is hard. With the list of colorful titles below, finding the right book, movie or music is easy.

BOOKS
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

June Visual crayonsMOVIES & TV
The Gold Rush
Orange is the New Black
The Red Balloon

MUSIC
Back to Black, Amy Winehouse
Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls
Kind of Blue, Miles Davis
Yellow Submarine, The Beatles

For more hues, shades and tints, check out our longer list of colorful titles at HPB.com/colors.

O Captain! My Captain!

It’s May, and all movie fans know what that means…Summer Movie Blockbusters are on the way! There are so many films to look forward to. Spider-Man: Homecoming, War for the Planet of the Apes, Alien: Covenant and of course Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk are all on my list to see, but one of the most anticipated is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. This will mark the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, a role that earned him an Oscar nomination in The Curse of the Black Pearl. This made me think of all the famous captains out there.

Keeping with HPB’s celebration of totally random lists, I have put together my Captain’s Log (Star Trek pun intended). Can you name everyone that made my Best Captains List?

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The Captain and Tennille
The Captain, Daryl Dragon, was a hit recording artist in the ‘70s with Cathryn Tennille. You might remember Love Will Keep Us Together.

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Captain Morgan
Sir Henry Morgan, a Welsh privateer of the Caribbean, is the mascot for Captain Morgan Rum. Their motto is “To life, love and loot.”

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Totally Random Lists: Shakespeare in Name Only

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 May 2017!

Shakespeare_Banner

Stuck on what to call your freshly-minted novel, song or screenplay? Want to give it instant gravitas? Do what countless creators have done: use a phrase from Shakespeare. Think about it — even Shakespeare’s titles came from Shakespeare.

Shakespeare_IllustrationBOOKS
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
Into Thin Air, John Krakauer
On Such a Full Sea, Chang-Rae Lee
The Winter of Our Discontent, John Steinbeck

MOVIES & TV
North By Northwest
The Quick and the Dead
The Sound and the Fury

MUSIC
…Nothing Like the Sun, Sting
Salad Days, Mac DeMarco
Sea Change, Beck
Sigh No More, Mumford and Sons

But that’s just the first act. Get thee to HPB.com/shakespeare for a much longer list.

Administrative Professionals’ Day: Our Favorites from the Big and Small Screen

This Wednesday, April 26, is Administrative Professionals’ Day. Dating all the way back to the 1950s, the last week of April is a time to acknowledge the significant contributions of executive assistants, secretaries and other administrative roles. Anyone who has worked in an office, school or large organization knows that someone has to be the glue that holds all the moving parts together! So here are some of our favorite administrative professionals:

The Fearless Trailblazers

DoraleeRhodes_Half Price Books
Doralee Rhodes (9 to 5)—In this classic comedy from 1980, Doralee isn’t afraid to stand up to her “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss. Attagirl, Doralee!

JoanHolloway_Half Price BooksJoan Holloway (Mad Men)—Don’t mess with Joan. She runs a tight ship, managing her team of secretaries while advancing her career in a climate that’s less than conducive to women in power.
TessMcGill_Half Price BooksTess McGill (Working Girl)—Tess proves that, sometimes in life, you have to visualize what you want and then take it. She’s never afraid to step up and make the most of an opportunity. Continue reading