Totally Random Lists: Guys Named Bob

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!

bob

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

Totally Random Lists: Body Language

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!body-language-type

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.)anatomy-chart

BOOKS
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
Adam’s Rib
Cool Hand Luke
Jaws

MUSIC
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.

HPB’s Top 5 Blogs of 2016

It’s been a busy year, so you may have missed some of our favorite blogs! We put together a list of our top five blogs of 2016 so you can learn a few things about Miles Davis, be entertained by our weirdest buy area finds and more.

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What HPB blog posts did you enjoy reading this year?

Totally Random Lists: What Year Is It?

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!
Jan-Type.png
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.Jan-Baby.png

BOOKS
1776, David McCullough
1919 (Vol. 2 of the U.S.A. Trilogy), John Dos Passos
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

MOVIES & TV
1900
1941
2001: A Space Odyssey

MUSIC
1984, Van Halen
1989, Taylor Swift
1999, Prince

Of course, there are hundreds, even thousands of other years worth celebrating! Check out a longer version of this list at HPB.com/year.

Books Can Take You Places: Texas

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.texas

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

Books Can Take You Places: New York City

Already this year, we’ve taken trips to 13 different cities and our journey around the world is slowly coming to an end.  This month let’s explore all that New York City has to offer.

The author Tom Wolfe said of New York City, “Culture just seems to be in the air, like part of the weather.” Indeed, the list of literary and artistic movements newyorkcitythat were born here is longer than the Empire State Building is tall—the Harlem Renaissance, comic books, modern dance, bebop, abstract expressionism, hip hop, disco, Tin Pan Alley and punk, just to name a few.

It’s only right that this cultural melting pot would be the inspiration for so many books, movies, TV shows and songs. After moving from small town Texas to the Big Apple after graduating from college, I truly got to experience everything the city had to offer for a poor post-college adult. Continue reading

Book Can Take You Places: St. Petersburg

Already this year, we’ve taken trips to 12 different cities and we’ve got a few more stops in our journey around the world.  This month let’s explore all that St. Petersburg, Russia has to offer.

stpetersburgSt. Petersburg is known as the cultural capital of Russia. With a heady mix of striking beauty and turbulent politics, the city looms large in the lives and works of the country’s greatest writers, including Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Nabokov. Russia’s first music conservatories were founded here, and The Mariinsky Theatre and Hermitage Museum are both internationally renowned. Known as “the Venice of the North,” St. Petersburg bears much more in common with western European cities than most other major urban areas in Russia.

In addition to the world-class museums and theaters, visitors to St. Petersburg will not want to miss the magnificent Peterhof Palace, the Peter and Paul Fortress (burial site of many Russian tsars, including Peter I himself), or the incredibly colorful Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood. Continue reading

3 Reasons Bob Dylan Should Be Taught In Schools

It’s been interesting to see how the literary community has responded to Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win. Many authors complained that it should have gone to a more traditional writer. However, acknowledging the power and merit of words in any format is a huge win for language lovers. The argument that writers can only be of value if they stick to prose or poetry on the page seems counterintuitive.

While teaching middle and high school English, I found that using well-written, complex lyrics was an effective way to teach reading skills and literary analysis. Here are three reasons why Bob Dylan’s lyrics make the grade.

1. Bob Dylan’s songs are concentrated literary pieces full of figurative language and poetic devices — skills students are required to master. “Chimes of Freedom” alone contains personification, metaphor, alliteration, imagery, assonance, repetition, rhyme and rhythm. That’s a week’s worth of lessons in one song.

2. The messages in Dylan’s songs are a great thematic companion to novels and poetry. It is common practice in the classroom and on standards-based tests to pair a reading passage with a poem to test higher-level thinking skills.

Continue reading

10 Classic LPs for Your Growing Vinyl Collection

The improbable resurgence of vinyl records began around 2007 and hasn’t slowed yet. In 2015, vinyl sales rose 32% to $416 million, their highest level since 1988, the year the format was overtaken by the compact disc. Why is vinyl being embraced by millennials and revisited by older types who sold their collections 20 years ago?

Sure, vinyl has a warm sound and a retro appeal, but there’s something else that makes it ideal for true music lovers: vinyl is wonderfully inconvenient. It forces you to interact with it—to lovingly take an LP out of its sleeve, put it on the turntable and flip it over 25 minutes later. And since skipping tracks is a pain, you’re more likely to listen to an album straight through, with the songs in the order the artist intended.

There’s also the satisfying physicality of records and sleeves, with big, beautiful artwork, liner notes, lyrics and credits, none of which you get with a digital download.

All of this makes vinyl perfect for those who crave a deeper listening experience and a stronger connection with the artists they enjoy.

If you’re looking to start or add to your vinyl collection, consider giving the ten classic albums below a spin. They’re undeniably great on any format, but they beg to be experienced on vinyl. Note: While lots of new music has been released on vinyl in recent years, for this list I’m focusing on the original era when the vinyl LP ruled.

intheweesmallhours

In the Wee Small Hours, Frank Sinatra (1955)
With a program of thematically connected songs about loneliness and lost romance, this record is often cited as one of the first-ever concept albums. Timeless tunes from the Great American Songbook, sparkling Nelson Riddle arrangements and Sinatra’s inimitable phrasing combine to create an intimacy and atmosphere perfect for late-night listening.

alovesupremeA Love Supreme, John Coltrane (1965)
Kind of Blue by Miles Davis may be “the one jazz album everyone should own,” but Coltrane’s masterwork is a more cohesive and emotional statement. The album is a four-part original suite born of Coltrane’s gratitude to God, but make no mistake—it’s not churchy or prim. On the contrary, this is deeply felt, deeply swinging, powerful music performed by Trane’s classic quartet, arguably the best band in jazz history. Supreme, sublime, essential music. Continue reading

National Grandparents Day

This Sunday is National Grandparents Day. For some, this is a day to visit with family and friends and celebrate the lives of those loving grandfathers and grandmothers who guide us, spoil us and, sometimes, even raise us. For others, this day allows us time to reflect on loved ones who have passed—while their bodies are no longer present, their spirit and wisdom lives on. Let’s take a look at some of the grandparents who have made an impact on all of us over the years through books, movies and television.

GRANDPARENTS IN BOOKS

Abraham Portman (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs)—The grandparent-grandchild bond is one of a kind, and, in this case, deeper than what first appears. Continue reading