50 Years of R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means…

Fifty years ago, on April 29, 1967, the world first heard the horn blasts and guitar twangs that mark the opening of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” What follows are two and a half remarkable minutes of pop music that would capture an era and define one of the preeminent voices of our time. What makes it so great? We’ll take a cue from the Queen of Soul and spell it out for you.

R – Re-Invention. While it became Aretha’s signature song, her recording of “Respect” was actually a cover. Otis Redding wrote and recorded it a couple of years earlier, and it was a decent-sized hit for him, especially on the R&B charts. But calling Franklin’s version a mere cover or remake is ridiculous. Aretha (whose nickname was “Re”) re-invented the song, re-imagined it, re-everythinged it and made it her own. aretha-franklin-respect-1967-3

E – Essential. “Respect” is in the Grammy Hall of Fame and the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. Rolling Stone put it at number five on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, saying, “Franklin wasn’t asking for anything. She sang from higher ground: a woman calling an end to the exhaustion and sacrifice of a raw deal with scorching sexual authority. In short, if you want some, you will earn it.” Continue reading

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.

Variety Is the Spice of Vinyl (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

Records are a great entertainment value. Most of Half Price Books used LPs are priced between $3 and $8, and we have thousands at $1-2 clearance prices. We also have great prices on our new vinyl.

But enough about great prices. Let’s talk variety: The wonders and oddities in every genre that a music-lover like me can find in a record bin are endlessly alluring. From R&B to C&W, from techno to disco, from doo-wop to bop, there’s a great world of music to be discovered and uncovered on vinyl, and all in endlessly fascinating packaging.

My vinyl playground is the Dallas Flagship store, and here’s a potpourri of records that recently captured my attention there. They’re all above our average LP price, but they’re all above-average records.

Prince

Prince – Fury
2006, Universal Records MCST 40462 (UK) picture disc
As we approach the anniversary of his untimely death, let’s start with the consummate genre transcender, Prince, who bridged R&B, pop, rock, funk, soul, dance and psychedelia to become one of the most influential (and enjoyable) artists in popular music history. “Fury” is a cut from Prince’s 3121 album, his comeback to the top ten of Billboard’s Albums chart.
Near Mint—$30

HomerJethro

Homer and Jethro Fracture Frank Loesser
1953, RCA Victor LPM 3112, 10”
You may well expect the show-tunes of Broadway songwriter Frank Loesser to be uncomfortable on the playlist of a comedy-bluegrass duo. Loesser himself wrote in the liner notes, “They have shot at my eight little targets with great humor and characteristic skill. I guess the joke’s on me but I love it.” This unlikely mash-up doesn’t disappoint. Homer & Jethro do their thing on “Once in Love with Amy,” “On a Slow Boat to China” and other Broadway classics. The songs seem quite at home in the novel setting.
The record and cover (and the music) have held up very well over the past 64 years—$20 Continue reading

Totally Random Lists: Rabbits!

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 April 2017!

Rabbits-Title

These mammals (family: Leporidae, order: Lagomorpha) make their habitats in meadows, forests, grasslands, novels, fables, movies and even the surnames of bearded country singers. From Roger Rabbit to Eddie Rabbitt, HPB has all your furry favorites.

Continue reading

Celebrate Pi Day with these Math-ical Books, Movies and Music

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 bookLife 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.

Hidden FiguresHidden Figures
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

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.

bestblogs2016_01bestblogs2016_02bestblogs2016_03bestblogs2016_04bestblogs2016_05

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