“Space Oddity” and Other Oddities: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Moonwalk

This July will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, when a transfixed world watched American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first people to walk on the moon—that we know of.

To celebrate, we’re offering up this brief and non-comprehensive round-up of some interesting pop culture bits and pieces related to that “giant leap for mankind.” Continue reading

Droppin’ Some Science, Son: Big Bang Coined 70 Years Ago

On March 28, 1949, the term “Big Bang” originated when British astronomer Fred Hoyle tried to describe a theory of how the universe came to be to the audience of BBC Radio’s “Third Programme.” The Big Bang theory states that the universe originated at a single point and expanded outward, and is the most popular theory of how the universe came to be. It’s so popular that it even had its own sitcom named after it (You didn’t think this blog was all about science did you?).

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Behind the Book: Maid by Stephanie Land

Written in raw, masterful, heart-rending prose, Maid is the story of one woman’s tenacity to survive and break free of the grips of the welfare system to give her child a better life. Stephanie Land’s work gives voice to the working poor. Her compassionate, unflinching writing is fueled by her own struggle as a low-income single mother who aspired to use her stories to expose the reality of pursuing the American Dream while being held below the poverty line. We had a chance to catch up with Stephanie Land and ask her some questions for our Behind the Book series

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What inspired you to put pen to paper and actually write down your experiences? Was there a certain catalyst that made you want to write this book?
I’ve been writing about my experiences since I was 10 years old, but it was almost entirely in a private way by journaling and not allowing anyone to read it. By the time I decided to take writing (and consequentially publishing) seriously, I’d been a daily writer for over 25 years. Maid came from an essay I’d published in Vox that went incredibly viral. I guess from all the interest it was clear that a book was bound to happen! Continue reading

Behind the Book: The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker

Editor’s Note: Popular minimalist blogger and author Joshua Becker provides methodical instruction on how to turn your home from a storage unit into a place of peace, contentment and purposeful living. His new book, The Minimalist Home, helps you to declutter your home and learn how to address the underlying issues that contribute to over-accumulation in the first place. We are delighted he provided us with more insight below! Minimalist Home Book Jacket

Why did you write The Minimalist Home?
I’ve been writing my blog (Becoming Minimalist), teaching minimalism, and speaking about the joys of owning less at conferences around the world for a decade now. And I’ve seen repeatedly, more times than I can recall, that there is an almost magical effect when people right-size the quantity of their possessions—in the process, the people themselves are changed in positive ways. Owning less creates opportunity to live more. I wrote The Minimalist Home to give people a practical guide to help them experience that. At its best, minimalism is about transforming your home so you can transform your life. Continue reading

Cozy Up with These New Books

Cooler weather, big comfy sweaters and blankets, mugs of hot tea or chocolate and the scent of apples drifting in the air—yes, it’s time for fall! There are many ways to celebrate the arrival of fall, but our favorite is to curl up with a good book. Thankfully, there are plenty of new releases for you to cozy up with this season. Read on to discover our top picks for fall reading, and why they make the perfect read!

This list got pretty long, so if you want to skip ahead you can click for Fiction, or for Nonfiction or for Teen!

Fiction

Let’s start with some fantastic fiction reads—books that will make you light a candle and drink some cider.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter – Kate Morton
Kate Morton is the master of historical fiction, and this book proves her exceptional skills. Grab your blanket and descend into the summer of 1862. Discover a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe as they descend upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared, a priceless heirloom is missing and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins. There’s nothing better than a thrilling historical mystery to put you in the fall mood! This book will be on shelves October 9.

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What Reader Type Are You? New Spring Reading Recs Matchmaker!

At Half Price Books, we know that all readers are different. Some scale the top of the bestseller list; others gravitate to rare tomes no one else has heard of (the dustier, the better). But what all readers share is a passion for books that isn’t easily satisfied. To discover which archetype, you are — and get some expert recs on the books you should read this Spring — take a look at our bookish guide to the best in bibliophiles!

THE HUNGRY, HUNGRY BOOKWORM

You’ve got at least five volumes on your bedside table and a mile-long literary wish list. Able to balance three (or more) reads at once, you never discriminate between fiction, non-fiction or biography—it’s all good. Their only quandary is, what to devour next? Our suggestions for the next page-turner await!

Circe by Madeline Miller – A modern twist on Greek mythology, the story of the goddess of magic is one of the most anticipated books of 2018.

Calypso by David Sedaris – The notable humorist delivers again with a beach read about a beach house, plus essays on middle age and mortality. On sale May 29, 2018.

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THE SLOW-SIMMER & SAVORER

You’re not afraid to pick up a book that’s 500 pages (or more). You gravitate to doorstop-sized nonfiction you’ll ponder and pour over for months and months. Never in a real hurry to finish – your motto is “quality, not quantity,” and a long, slow read satisfies you like no other. If this sounds familiar, check out these substantial histories and lofty fiction and nonfiction:

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker – Bill Gates’ “new favorite book,” this assessment of the modern human condition helps illustrate how humans can flourish with the help of reason and science.

The Overstory by Richard Powers – This magnificent literary fiction from a National Book Award-winning author tops out at 512 pages. It’s a passionate novel about activism and nature.

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THE BOOK COVER CRITIC

You’re distracted by bright and shiny graphics and curious titles. Elegant books are stylishly stacked on your coffee table, and great novels with eye-catching covers sit on your color-coded bookshelves. You know that style often leads to substance, and you’ll take a chance on an unknown author because “the cover is just so cool.” Discover some vibrant volumes ready to pop off the shelves and into your cart this spring!

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer – A striking, colorful cover might catch your eye. But inside you’ll find a charming novel about ambition, power and mentorship.

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman – Another piece of fiction that’s riding the trend of vibrant type-driven cover designs – This heartbreaking novel about family and loyalty just hit shelves.

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THE WATERCOOLER READER

If it’s the next [insert bestseller name], then you’re already three chapters in. You may not go for an obscure novella, but if the film rights were sold it’s on your shelf and your TBR list. Most likely to join a book club, you hate to miss on the next big thing, which is why these blockbuster bestsellers are what you’ve got your eye on this season:

Tangerine by Christine Mangan – Described by author Joyce Carol Oates, “As if Donna Tartt, Gillian Flynn, and Patricia Highsmith had collaborated on a screenplay to be filmed by Hitchcock.” This tightly-wound debut is already slated to be a movie with Scarlett Johannson.

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy – A book about a group of Brooklyn moms going to desperate lengths to find a missing child, this novel will soon be a major motion picture starring “Scandal” lead Kerry Washington.

tangerine perfect-mother

THE BOOK BINGER

Books are a little bit like potato chips — you can’t stop at just one! You love to explore alternate universes, and there’s no better way to do that than with a series. If it isn’t a trilogy, it isn’t worth starting, and you’ll often go right back to the beginning of a series for a full re-read before signing on to something new. If you haven’t yet discovered these classics, get ready to dive in!

The 17th Suspect (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson – Let the suspense continue with this 17th in the Women’s Murder Club series. With bestselling author James Patterson, these are always riveting and binge-worthy.

Dark in Death (Book 46) by J.D. Robb – If you’re not already hooked, you’ve got 45 books to read first to get caught up on this series. This suspenseful, crime fiction novel and the entire In Death series is sure to please your ravenous appetite.

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THE ARMCHAIR PHILOSOPHER

First to get into a debate, you like to know about the issues and headline news of the day. Political and social nonfiction are your favorite food for thought, and you’re likely to loan your copies out afterwards to friends and family so they stay informed, too. Here’s what’s worth talking about for spring:

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership by James Comey – Seventh director of the FBI, James Comey, shares his never-before-told stories about his career in American government, covering topics of leadership and ethics.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil de Grasse Tyson – Arm yourself for cocktail parties with these witty, digestible bits about cosmology, the big bang and black holes. This book has remained on the bestseller list since its release – and for good reason.

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Kendall Morgan is a freelance copywriter at HPB Corporate. You can follow her on Twitter at @kinklek.

Herstory: 50 Inspiring Kids’ Books for Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is not only a time to reflect on the past – the accomplishments of the brilliant women who have come before us to forge new paths – but also a time to assess where we are today and inspire future generations to dream big and dare even bigger.

I want to empower my daughter using stories of fierce and persistent ladies. I’ve been on the prowl for books that provide positive role models for my daughter – books that tell the less-often told stories about women in history who have made a difference. In recent years, publishers have been filling bookshelves with some remarkable stories in children’s picture books for young readers and young adult nonfiction for tweens and teens. These women are brave pioneers. They launched rockets, flew planes, programmed computers, broke world records, stood up for injustice, played sports, solved crimes and invented gadgets.

Reap the reward of my hours of hunting with this mega list of book recommendations. Here’s my round-up of 50 books about girls and women who excel in science, math, design, athletics and business many other fields. These are ideal picks for teachers looking to build a library with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) educational topics. And parents: You’re sure to find something on this list to add to your child’s library to celebrate women’s history not just in March, but all year-round.

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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley – This is the first picture book about the life of Justice Ginsburg. It’s elegantly simple prose, and tells the tales of her dissents from childhood to the Supreme Court. Recommended for ages 4-8.

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger – This lovely piece of children’s literature, recommended for ages 4-8, covers a diverse group of women who were fearless and bold.

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall, Emily Winfield Martin and more – This inspirational picture book for kids ages 4-8 is filled with 14 profiles of amazing young women, each with their own poem and illustration. Continue reading

Exclusive Interview with David Sax, author of The Revenge of Analog

“A funny thing happened on the way to the digital utopia. We’ve begun to fall back in love with the very analog goods and ideas the tech gurus insisted that we no longer needed. Businesses that once looked outdated, from film photography to brick-and-mortar retail, are now springing with new life. Notebooks, records and stationery have become cool again. Behold the Revenge of Analog. David Sax has uncovered story after story of entrepreneurs, small business owners and even big corporations who’ve found a market selling not apps or virtual solutions but real, tangible things. As e-books are supposedly remaking reading, independent bookstores have sprouted up across the country. As music allegedly migrates to the cloud, vinyl record sales have grown more than ten times over the past decade. Even the offices of tech giants like Google and Facebook increasingly rely on pen and paper to drive their brightest ideas.”

06booksax-blog427David Sax, business and culture writer and author of The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, just released his book November 2016. And in a fitting nod to the whole notion behind the book, nearly all the 20,000 first-run printed copies have sold out in the first month and it’s difficult to find the few that remain on bookstore shelves. Pop in your local HPB and grab a copy before they all disappear!

When I heard David speak on KERA’s Think with Krys Boyd, there was no mistaking his passion for the printed word. And I knew right away I needed to reach out to him firsthand. David is a champion of analog and an advocate for local bookstores. His love for tangible things is palpable. Things like 35mm film, old-fashioned bookbindery, vinyl records and brick-and-mortar shopping. I had the pleasure of getting to know David and learn more about the inspiration behind his latest book.

Q: What drew you to write about this topic?

A: Two things that sort of happened at the same time, a decade back.  1. Everyone I knew started getting smartphones (Blackberries…remember those?), and suddenly people’s behavior changed overnight.  2. I got back into records again, and those two things sparked a conversation about the nature of analog v. digital that eventually led to the book as the market caught up with it, too. Continue reading

What’s Your Story?: Rarest of Rare Collectibles

May 16 is National Biographer’s Day. I’ll bet you didn’t know that! We see a lot of biographies and memoirs come into HPB: life stories of the rich and famous, plus memoirs of the poor and infamous.

But it’s also wonderful to learn more about some of the offbeat, footnote characters in history, and I was delighted to hear about some life-story gems our stores have acquired lately. Continue reading