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

Literary Heartbreakers…or Literally Heartbreaking?

I’m a sucker for a happy ending.  Unfortunately, some of my favorite literary characters don’t get that happy ending, whether it’s because they themselves are heartbreakers or because the story they have been written into is literally heartbreaking (sometimes, it’s a little bit of both).  But whether it’s the character or the author that breaks our heart, we have to admit they are impossible to forget.

Here are five heartbreakers and five heartbreaking stories that we can’t seem to quit.

Heartbreakers

prideandprejudice_19George Wickham from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—He may have all the appearance of goodness, but looks can be deceiving.

giphyRhett Butler from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind—Heartbreaker or heartbroken? He may be a little of both, but he don’t give a damn.

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And the Oscar goes to…Kevin Bacon!

Hooray for Hollywood! The 89th Academy Awards will be giving out their most coveted statue, the Oscar, in about a month. The best race this year is between Emma Stone and Natalie Portman, but we want to make a case for — you guessed it — Kevin Bacon. Here is a fun graphic taking all the lead actors and actresses and connecting them to Kevin Bacon. Maybe you can do one using all Oscar winners! For instance, Natalie Portman who is nominated for Jackie and won Best Actress for Black Swan was in Closer with Julia Roberts (Best Actress in Erin Brockovich) who was in Flatliners with…Kevin Bacon. Who are you predicting to win? Enjoy the Oscars on Sunday, February 26 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on ABC.

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Jim is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate

Local Store Events Round-Up: January 2017

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ARIZONA

Phoenix – Camelback
First Sunday Storytime
Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Camelback HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 1 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month. All young readers and listeners are welcome!

MLK Day Storytime
We’re honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a children’s storytime. Come to your Camelback HPB in Phoenix on Sunday, January 15, from 2 to 4 p.m., when we will read stories featuring Dr. King. Light refreshments will be available as well as a FREE pre-selected kid’s book while supplies last.

Dress Up Your Pet Day Offers
Your Camelback HPB in Phoenix is celebrating National Dress Up Your Pet Day on Wednesday, January 18. Shop with your pet for 10% off your ENTIRE purchase or bring in your dressed-up pet and get 20% off your ENTIRE purchase. HPB is a pet-friendly company that welcomes friendly, obedient pets on leashes. Offer cannot be used to purchase gift cards. Continue reading

Local Store Events Round-Up: December 2016

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ALL STORES

$5 Bonus Card with a $25 Gift Card Purchase
‘Tis the season to grab a gift card for the booklover on your shopping list and get a little something for yourself! Load an HPB Gift Card with $25 or more and get a $5 Bonus Card to use in store plus a special offer for HPB.com! Bring back your $5 card January 1 – 31 and save at your favorite HPB store. This bonus offer is valid for gift card purchases made in-store or online now through Saturday, December 24. Buy a gift card online and get free standard shipping. Sorry, but HPB Gift Cards, coupons and other discounts cannot be used at Half Price Books Outlets. Got questions about gift cards? Check out our FAQs or contact our Gift Card Customer Service.

ARIZONA

Phoenix – Camelback
First Sunday Storytime
Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Camelback HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 1 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month. All young readers and listeners are welcome!

CALIFORNIA

Citrus Heights
Storytime Sundays
Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Citrus Heights HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 2 p.m. every Sunday. All ages are welcome! Continue reading

2016 Tournament of Fictional Places

From magical kingdoms to far-off planets, fictional places in story and song have always captured our imagination. They’re the places where our heroes act heroic, our dreams come true and where we long to go—if only just for a visit. Here are 64 of our favorite fictional spots from books, myth, movies, music and TV. Pick a winner in each matchup, and keep coming back to vote in all six rounds. Only one place can finish in first place in the Tournament of Fictional Places.

Start voting now and download a bracket!

TOFP

How Much Do You Know About Disney?

I am a total Disney fanatic, and a trivia nut, so when I was asked to write a blog post for Walt Disney’s birthday (December 5, 1901), I figured I’d combine two of my passions and create a Disney movie trivia quiz. So, how much do you know about Disney?

Everyone knows Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was Disney’s first full-length animated film. What was his second?
A. Pinocchio. (1940)

What is the name of the Sorcerer in the Fantasia (1940) segment The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?
A. Yen Sid, which is Disney spelled backwards.

Besides Dumbo (1941), what other two Disney movies does Dumbo appear in?
A. Dumbo works for peanuts in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) and appears as a toy in the toymaker’s workshop in The Great Mouse Detective (1986).

In Bambi (1942), Friend Owl tells Bambi and his friends that they could become “twitterpated.” What does “twitterpated” mean?
A. Twitterpated means to fall in love.

Can you name the two Disney animated movies which have the character Joe Carioca in them?
A. Saludos Amigos (1949) and The Three Caballeros (1944).

How many Disney animated movies can you name that are created from combining various segments or stories?
A. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1943), Fantasia (1940), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), Make Mine Music (1946), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), Melody Time (1948).

What future TV personality provided the singing voice for Prince Charming in Cinderella (1950)?
A. 1960’s talk show host Mike Douglas provided the Prince’s singing voice in 1950. Mike started his career singing with big bands in the 1940s and early 1950s.

What was the last animated film in which Walt Disney played an active role?
A. The Jungle Book, which was released October 16, 1967, approximately 10 months after his death on December 15, 1966.

Can you name the actor that played a voice in three Disney animated movies: The Jungle Book, Aristocats and Robin Hood?
A. Phil Harris played Baloo the Bear in The Jungle Book (1967), Thomas O’Malley in Aristocats (1970) and Little John in Robin Hood (1973).

How many animated Disney movies can you name that were based on books and are not fairy tales, folk tales or historical figures?
A. Peter Pan (1953), based on a book/play by J.M. Barrie, Alice in Wonderland (1951), based on a book by Lewis Carroll, The Fox and the Hound (1981), based on a book by Daniel P. Mannix, Bambi (1942), based on the book by Felix Salten, 101 Dalmatians (1961), based on the book by Dodie Smith, The Rescuers (1977), based on the book by Margery Sharp, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), based on the book by Victor Hugo, Pinocchio (1940), based on the book by Carlo Collodi, The Jungle Book (1967), based on the book by Rudyard Kipling, Tarzan (1999), based on a book by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Treasure Planet (2002), based on a book by Robert Louis Stevenson, Oliver and Company (1988) and A Christmas Carol (2009), based on books by Charles Dickens, The Great Mouse Detective (1986), based on books by Eve Titus, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), based on books by A.A. Milne, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949), based on the book by Kenneth Grahame,and a short story by Washington Irving, and The Sword and the Stone (1963), based off a book by T.H. White.

In the gray area: The Black Cauldron (1985) is based on a book by Lloyd Alexander, but a lot of it is taken from Welsh mythology, so I’m not sure if it would fall under fairy tales or not, likewise Aladdin (1992) and Robin Hood (1973) are based on books that started as a oral legends. The Lion King (1994), was influenced by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but Disney never said the movie was based on Hamlet as it also was influenced by the Biblical stories of Moses and Joseph, Big Hero 6 (2014) is based on a Marvel comic, and I was thinking more of children’s books and literature, but an argument can be made to include it.

So, did you know all the answers? If you have any other fun Disney trivia, let me know, and stop by your local HPB to pick up your favorite Disney movies or the books from which they came.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Disney!

Local Store Events Round-Up: December 2015

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All Stores

$5 Bonus with $25 Gift Card
Now is the time to grab a gift card for the booklover in your life – plus one for yourself! Load up an HPB Gift Card today with $25 or more and get a $5 bonus! Use your bonus card in January 2016 and save $5 at your favorite HPB store. This bonus offer is valid on gift cards purchased in stores and online now through Thursday, December 24, 2015. Buy a gift card online and get free standard shipping. Sorry, but HPB Gift Cards, coupons and other discounts cannot be used online at HPB Marketplace nor at Half Price Books Outlet locations. Got questions about gift cards? Check out our FAQs or contact our Gift Card Customer Service.

12 Days of Giveaways
We’re giving away joy with more than 100 prizes, one prize pack per day, from December 1-12, 2015. Prize packages include Signed Bestsellers, Star Wars, Collectibles and so much more. Now through December 12, enter online and select one or all of the prize packs you’d like to enter for a chance to win. It’s your choice! Limit one entry per email address. Limit one prize per winner. Must be 18 years of age or older. No purchase necessary. See complete rules for details

ARIZONA

Phoenix – Camelback 

First Sunday Storytime
Pack up your half-pint readers and come to your Camelback HPB for Storytime Sundays. Sit down and enjoy a good tale with us at 1 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month. All young readers and listeners are welcome! Continue reading

Just the Facts Charlie Brown: 50 Facts for the 50th Anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas

This year marks the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas. To mark the occasion, here are 50 factoids, tidbits, quotes or observations about the little holiday special that only a blockhead could dislike.

1. Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip began in 1950 and by the early 60s was a full-blown phenomenon. The 1962 book Happiness is a Warm Puppy was a New York Times bestseller, and Time magazine featured Schulz’s characters on its April 9, 1965 cover.

2. In 1963, producer Lee Mendelson started work on a TV documentary about Schulz and Peanuts. The film included brief animated scenes created by Bill Melendez and original music by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi. All the networks passed on it.

CharlesSchulz

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Preheat Your Oven: 6 Crowd-Pleasing Holiday Recipes

I love to bake, and the Holiday Season gives me the perfect excuse to be in the kitchen and bake a batch of cookies to take to work or a holiday party. I mean, what’s the point of baking if you’re not going to share? Below are some of my favorite holiday treats.

Pumpkin Bakes
To me, it’s not the holidays without pumpkin. So, I am always looking for good pumpkin recipes. However, most of my family doesn’t like pumpkin. (What is wrong with them?)

The winner for my whole family is Pumpkin Chip Cookies, which taste enough like Chocolate Chip Cookies to fool my father and my nephew. The pumpkin makes them extremely moist, so they remain gooey on the inside, and the subtle pumpkin flavor combined with the cinnamon gives these cookies a nice holiday zing.IMG_0032

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