Have Books, Will Travel: Through African-American History

There is something to be said about a community of people who have been able to endure enslavement, the centuries of inequitable treatment that followed and the derivative systemic racism that continues to exist. In spite of the odds, African Americans have managed to create a fascinating, and often coveted, culture heavily influenced by their unique American experience, all the while rooted in the land they were stolen from; a culture that has impacted the nation at every turn, from music to medicine, literature to legislature and all manner of areas in between. Make no mistake: African-American history, though set aside to be celebrated during the month of February each year, is American history.

In this edition of Have Books, Will Travel, we present books that capture that history; depicting what it means to endure the trial and triumph, pain and promise, heartache and hope that is commonly found in the stoic African-American experience.

Continue reading

Best of the Decade: 1910s

Editor’s Note: This year, our Half Price Books calendar once again features lists of books, movies and music. We’re heading into a new decade with a new focus…the past. Each month, we’ll share a list of events, inventions and, of course, books, movies and music, from every decade since the 1900s right here on the blog. Enjoy!


Oreos arrived (arguably making cookie jars more interesting nationwide) and Uncle Sam asked for America’s best candidates to confront Germany as the U.S. entered World War I. This month, we’re taking a look at the events, books, music and movies that took America by storm in the 1910s.

1910s 1

Continue reading

Behind the Book: Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

For our first Book Club pick of 2020, Half Price Books has selected Finding Dorothy, the fictional retelling of the true life of Maud Baum, wife to L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz. This a perfect read for lovers of all things Oz and historical fiction. We had the wonderful opportunity ask author Elizabeth Letts some in-depth questions regarding her inspirations, discoveries and insights into this wonderful book!

9780525622116_a29de

Can you tell us more about Maud Baum, the voice and inspiration behind Finding Dorothy? What made you decide to write a story inspired by her and from her point of view?
Frank Baum died in 1919, twenty years before his book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was turned into the classic MGM film. The only living link between the book and the movie was his widow, Maud, who was seventy-seven years old. Maud’s mother was one of the most radical advocates for the rights of women—she grew up with Susan B. Anthony hanging around her house. Her mother was constantly in the newspapers for organizing protests, and she got laws changed so that Maud could be one of the first young women to attend an Ivy League school. So what did she do with all that opportunity? Did she become a lawyer for the cause, as her mother had hoped? No. She dropped out of school to marry a very handsome but not too impressive young theater man named L. Frank Baum. To me, this was fascinating. Maud was clearly a powerhouse, strong enough to defy her overbearing mother. But I think it’s easy to overlook the incredible influence of women like Maud, who make their mark behind-the-scenes. We may not remember her, but every time we quote The Wizard of Oz, we are paying homage to her legacy. Continue reading

Have Books, Will Travel: To The Future!

In celebration of the new year, as we find ourselves accepting the fact that we were all lied to about how prominent flying cars would be by now, we present a fantastical list of novels with plots based in galaxies far, far away… far, far into the future, with technological capabilities far, far cooler than what we could ever imagine. That’s right, just in time to take on 2020 with wide-eyed optimism, let’s travel to the future, booklovers!

 

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

9780141199344_69d15What better way to start a list about books having to do with a time beyond the present than with the author who coined the term “time machine” himself, H.G. Wells? In this aptly-titled novella, the narrator tells the story of a man simply referred to as the Time Traveller. And travel, he does. As far into the future as 802,701 A.D., where the London community he once knew has been reduced to a population of carefree, happy, childlike beings who seem to only be concerned about following their fruitarian diet and staying away from the dark. After wandering around, deducing, hypothesizing and doing whatever else it is that time-traveler scientist types do, he returns to the spot where he arrived to find that his time machine has gone missing…missing!

Turns out, those happy beings have a working class underbelly full of citizens who prefer to stay away from the light. We deduce that they might not be so comfortable with a strange, overly curious guy appearing out of nowhere and lurking about. We hypothesize that they just might try to kidnap him. Oh, and they could possibly be cannibals. Looks like the future is full of fun times all around according to good ol’ H.G.!

Continue reading

2019 Million Book Donation Project Wrap-Up

At Half Price Books, we know the importance of reading in everyone’s lives. That’s why we’ve always made book donations a priority since we were founded back in 1972. As our co-founder Ken Gjemre once said, “Books should fill our lives, not our land.”

So we’ve taken great pleasure in continuing our Million Book Donation Project in 2019 – we are pleased to announce we’ve donated… Continue reading

Best of the Decade: 1900s

Editor’s Note: This year, our Half Price Books calendar once again features lists of books, movies and music. We’re heading into a new decade with a new focus…the past. Each month, we’ll share a list of events, inventions and, of course, books, movies and music, from every decade since the 1900s right here on the blog. Enjoy!


Corn Flakes® became a breakfast staple on tables across the nation and up in the sky, it was a bird, a plane! No, really. It was a plane. Check out the interesting events that made our list beside the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight and see which books, music and movies were all the rage during the 1900s.

 

1900s 1

Continue reading

2019 HPB Author Events Recap

It has been a wonderful year of author events and book signings for Half Price Books! More than 100 authors visited our stores or spoke at offsite events. Booklovers poured in from all over the country to listen to their favorite authors speak and get their books signed. We are honored to be able to provide a place of community for authors and their readers. Watch our recap video to get a glimpse of all the authors we hosted in 2019!

Thanks so much for watching! We hope you were able to come to some of these events this year, and we look forward to seeing you in stores in 2020. To stay informed of HPB events and more, visit hpb.com/events or join our email list.

A Book Nerd’s Look at the Best Books of the Decade (2010-2019)

As 2019 comes to an end, “Best Books of the Decade” lists are bound to start popping up everywhere. This is ours; along with a list of the best books I’ve read this decade. Of course, as a used book store we also want to remind you that every book is new if you haven’t read it yet!

2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot—A nonfiction book and winner of the National Academies Communication Award (published 2/2/2010)

9781400052189_271aa

  • Honorary mention: Room, by Emma Donahue (published 8/6/2010)
  • Best book I read in 2010: Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammett (published in 1929)

Continue reading

Meet the Bibliomaniac: Santa

Name: Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Papa Noel, etc.
Job Title: CEO
Office Location: North Pole

The big guy in the red suit is a booklover, too! Who knew? (We did.) From films to cookies, we got the scoop on a few of Santa’s favorite things as he took a little time away from the workshop to have a fireside chat. Enjoy!

IMG_3040

What’s your favorite part of the job, you know, being the world’s best gift giver?

Spreading joy. They say it’s better to give than to receive and, you know, it really is true! Knowing that I can help add a bit of cheer to someone’s day, even if just for a moment, even if it’s just once a year, that makes the frequent flyer miles worth it.

Continue reading