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.

11 Writers the Beatles Thought Were Fab

This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most important rock albums ever made, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. As every rock snob knows, Sgt. Pepper is widely hailed as one of the first concept albums (although, as some critics have pointed out, the songs don’t have all that much to do with each other). For the Fab Four and producer George Martin, the record represented new heights of creativity and experimentation in the studio.

sgtpepper-main

Then there’s the iconic cover, which features the band members along with dozens of celebrities and public figures chosen by the Beatles and represented in cardboard cutouts and wax figures. There are actors, comedians, musicians, artists and philosophers, but here at HPB we couldn’t help but notice that authors make up one of the largest contingents. Here’s a look at the literary types on the most famous album cover in history.

huxleyAldous Huxley
The British author famous for Brave New World relocated to California in 1937 and became involved with mysticism and other spiritual subjects. His 1954 book Doors of Perception, which detailed his experiences with psychedelic drugs, was influenced on Timothy Leary and others in the hippie generation. Some have suggested a connection between this book and the Beatles song “Help,” in which John Lennon sings, “Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors.”

thomasDylan Thomas
The Welsh writer behind poems like “Do not go gentle into that good night” had a reputation that rock stars would appreciate—that of an erratic, drunken poet. Paul McCartney said: “I’m sure that the main influence on both [Bob] Dylan and John [Lennon] was Dylan Thomas. We all used to like Dylan Thomas. I read him a lot. I think that John started writing because of him.”

carrollLewis Carroll
Carroll’s surreal literary nonsense and wordplay was a big influence on John Lennon. The Beatles song, “I Am the Walrus,” written the same year as Sgt. Pepper, was a reference to “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” a poem by Carroll that appeared in Through the Looking-Glass. In a 1965 interview, Lennon said he read that book and Alice in Wonderland “about once a year.” 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.

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.