The Kids are Alright: Teen Picks for Teen Read Week

As part of our Feed Your Brain summer reading program this year, a group of book loving teens read books, wrote a short review and earned a reward to use at their local Half Price Books! Are you looking for a new read? Check out what our teen booklovers nationwide had to say about the best books they read this summer!

Harry Potter

This book is a must read for all teens. It was so whimsical and adventurous. I could not put it down. J.K Rowling is a literary genius. – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Riley H.) Continue reading

#HPBUniversity: Customer College Stories

Let’s face it. College can be tough. Those four years—or more—teach us just as many lessons about survival as they do about our major, and whether it’s late nights at the library or being down to that last pack of ramen, we all come out a little stronger in the end. In the spirit of reminiscing about our days in the dorms, we’ve taken to Facebook to ask about some of your favorite college memories. Check out our favorite responses below!

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  • “Don’t sign up for that credit card just to get a free t-shirt.” — Eric B.
  • “You’re going to want to quit a few times. Don’t!” — Anita C. 
  • “Get involved in the clubs for your major/minor. Go to office hours, even if you don’t have a horrible problem. Build a relationship with your professors – you’re going to know them for four or more years and they are generally good people. Plus, they can be super helpful professionally.” — Ken O.
  • “Go to tutor sessions.” — Christopher D. 
  • “You need to do some cardio in the summer beforehand. I was dying walking across campus in the 15 mins I had.” — Myshell R.
  • “Stop trying to make Mom happy. It wont happen.” — Michelle S.
  • “Beware of the freshman 15! Those pounds are a real thing and hard to get rid of!” — Janet K.
  • “Branch out and meet more people in the dorm.” — Shalei B.
  • “You’re going to go through some hard time, but you’ll come through stronger and braver.” — Cassandra S.
  • “Take an intramural sport that you wouldn’t have done otherwise. I had a lot of fun doing sports I wanted to try in high school but just never felt good enough to do.” — Alanna L.

Continue reading

The Christmas Song: A Deep Dive into a Holiday Chestnut

This year our holiday theme at Half Price Books is “Make the Season Bright.” Those four words appear in one of the most ubiquitous and aptly-named Christmas songs ever written, “The Christmas Song.” You might know it better by its opening lyrics: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

Our line comes in the second section of the song: “Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make the season bright.” We’d argue that books, music and movies also do the trick.

Here’s a closer look at the history of this holiday classic. Continue reading

A Bestseller Flashback- 2018 in Books

Editor’s Note: Throughout the year, our buyers curate a selection of new, bestselling books to offer in our stores at 20% off the cover price. Here’s a closer look at some of 2018’s standouts!

melmoth
Melmoth (Sarah Perry)
Melmoth is a full-on gothic horror novel from the author of The Essex Serpent. The story crosses many different time periods and focuses on people who are in the midst of difficult situations. It is primarily centered on Helen Franklin, an English translator working in Prague, who disregards an obscure local monster legend before a friend’s disappearance reveals that Helen is being watched. This particular book asks the question, “What’s the difference between someone who orders a horrific act be done and the person who turns a blind eye towards it?” It’s a very chilling, and at times horrific, book that stays with you. Continue reading

Fall Storytime Favorite: Toto’s Apple

We do a lot of reading in our house, which means I’m always on the hunt for our new favorite book. I recently discovered Toto’s Apple by Mathieu Lavoie at our local Half Price Books and instantly fell in love with Toto, a delightful little worm who devises a series of inventive problem solving measures to reach an apple high in a tree. Every time we read it I admire his tenaciousness, especially because he uses arts and crafts to overcome each of his obstacles — you’re a worm after our own hearts, Toto.

Every now and then we do a special storytime party, and I knew Toto would be the perfect book to kick off the first day of fall. It has it all – apples, trees, leaves, squirrels, birds – it’s basically fall bingo in picture book form. So I invited my daughters Jane (four) and Rose (two) to help me bake mini apple pies (with leaf crusts, their favorite part) which we devoured while we read the book, and afterward we made simple popsicle butterflies, just like Toto makes for himself in the book. It was fun and simple and made storytime just a little more magical. 

What’s your family’s favorite storytime book? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Kristen Dickson from @tojaneandrose, a girl mom in Texas looking for that everyday magic.

HPB Staff Picks: Best Books of 2016

With so many amazing books published each year, it’s easy to overlook some of the notable must-reads. We’ve put together a list of our favorite fiction and nonfiction of 2016 — including intriguing mysteries, imaginative tales, biographies and culture studies. There’s just enough time to check another book off your 2016 reading list, so choose a title and start reading!

gentlemaninmoscow
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Reviewed by HPB Staff Member: Kristen B.

Truly a Gentleman
The year is 1922. Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to live out the rest of his life under house arrest in a hotel in Moscow. Throughout the novel, we see different snippets of the Count’s life as he lives out his sentence. It is the story of a true gentleman. So often we read stories about heroes or really messed up people that do really messed up things. A Gentleman in Moscow is just about a regular guy doing regular things, holding to his principles and always treating others with respect. It was so refreshing. Continue reading

Fiction Review: The Third Gate

These days it seems you can’t walk into a bookstore without seeing a book that was authored or co-authored by Lincoln Child. His newest, The Third Gate, was released today and the publisher, Doubleday, was kind of enough to send over a copy in exchange for an honest review.

After a terrible car accident, Jennifer Rush was dead for 14 minutes before she made a miraculous recovery and came back to life. After her near death experience, she became psychic… to the next level. She knew what you were going to do before you even did. She also started making crossovers and channeling the dead. After Porter Stone, a very rich and famous man, discovered her talents, he decided that he wanted her to help him figure out exactly where the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, Narmer, was buried with many treasures in The Sudd, a vast swamp in Africa. Unfortunately, all didn’t go as planned and inexplicable strange accidents, such as electrocutions and power surges, began occurring. So, Stone also hired Jeremy Logan, a history professor by day and an enigmalogist by night, to help ease the minds of the other workers and figure out what exactly is happening. Logan has worked all over the world discovering explaining strange phenomena, but this case this has him stumped. Nothing seems to add up and Logan is determined to figure out why before it’s too late.

Child’s newest work is an interesting cross between science fiction and thriller. And although there’s not a ton of action in this book, it has just enough intrigue to keep one reading late into the night.

What paranormal/sci-fi thrillers would you recommend? 

— Kristen B.  

June’s New Releases on DVD & Blu-Ray

I know the summer movie season has officially kicked off, but I didn’t want you to forget about some of the great titles hitting the stores this month.

The Color of Money (June 5 release) This is the 1986 sequel to the 1961 film about pool sharks, The Hustler, starring Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman. Newman reprises his role as “Fast” Eddie Felson, still believing a dollar won is better than a dollar earned. This time he takes flamboyant Vincent, played by Tom Cruise, under his wing to teach him how to be a hustler. Directed by legendary director Martin Scorsese, this movie finally won Newman his elusive Best Actor Oscar and his performance is worthy of it. This film is in great need of a new transfer, as the DVD version of this movie was not even widescreen enhanced.  This is an easy choice for an upgrade. Also look for A Perfect World, Ransom, Scent of a Woman, Erin Brockovich and John Carter on June 5.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (June 12 release) A very exciting film to finally make it to Blu-Ray, Game of Shadows (2011) reunites Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in this action-packed follow up to Sherlock Holmes (2009). This movie really takes the Holmes/Watson relationship to another level, and along with a clever plot and the Downey Jr. humor we are all growing to love, this is a film everyone will enjoy. Also look for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance on June 12.

Empire of the Sun (June 19 release) When you think Steven Spielberg you think Jurassic Park, The Indiana Jones movies, Jaws and Schindler’s List. Yes, all great films, but I think this 1987 film has been grossly underrated. After watching it I hope you agree. The movie is about Jim, a boy whose privileged life is turned upside down during the Japanese invasion of Shanghai. Jim is played by none-other than Batman himself, Christian Bale. Also cast in the movie are John Malkovich and Ben Stiller, who were both pretty much unknown at the time. I encourage you to see this film at least once in your life.  Also look for Big Miracle and Evita on June 19.

The Artist (June 26 release) Finally the Best Picture winner from 2011 gets released. One of only two silent movies to win Best Picture, the other being Wings back in 1927. Shot in glorious black and white, this film is a true movie experience. It is about a silent film actor who is getting left behind as sound is coming to movies and the “Talkies” are born. Jean Dujardin gives the performance of his career, as it brought him the Best Actor Oscar last year. A must see for sure! Also look for Wrath of the Titans, 21 Jump Street, Mirror Mirror and the Criterion release of Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps on June 26.

Enjoy the movies!

Jim