Top 10 Tom Hanks Roles

Celebrating one of my favorite actors, this week’s top 10 list is all about Tom Hanks. Thomas “Tom” Jeffrey Hanks – two-time Academy Award winning American film actor, Emmy winning director, voice-over artist and movie producer – turns 56 today! Happy birthday, Tom!

Through the years, he’s starred in family-friendly and screwball comedies and has achievied notable success as a dramatic actor. On the list below, you’ll find some fabulous roles are missing, but I had to narrow it down to ten. Along with each, you’ll find a memorable Tom Hanks line from the film. So, without further ado, here are my Top 10 Tom Hanks Roles

1. Josh Baskin in Big, 20th Century Fox (1988)
“Okay, but I get to be on top.”

2. Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump, Paramount Pictures (1994)
“Stupid is as stupid does.”

3. Sam Baldwin in Sleepless in Seattle, TriStar Pictures (1993)
“What is tiramisu?”

4. Captain John H. Miller in Saving Private Ryan, Amblin Entertaiment (1998)
“James, earn this… earn it.”

5. Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own, Columbia Pictures (1992)
“There’s no crying in baseball.”

6. Woody in Toy Story, Walt Disney Pictures (1995)
“You are a child’s play-thing!”

7. Chuck Noland in Cast Away, 20th Century Fox (2000)

8. Joe Fox in You’ve Got Mail, Warner Brothers Pictures (1998)
“Don’t cry, Shopgirl. Don’t cry.”

9. Walter Fielding, Jr. in The Money Pit, Amblin Entertainment (1986)
“Ahh, home crap home!”

10. Michael Sullivan in Road to Perdition, 20th Century Fox (2002)
“Always trust a bank manager.”

And, I give honorable mention to his recent, yet limited role as Thomas Schell in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer… “If things were easy to find, they wouldn’t be worth finding.”

With all of Tom Hanks’ roles in dozens of hit movies, it wasn’t easy to stop at ten. Which is your favorite?

Cheers to Tom – Meredith

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

Top 10 Charming Books on Cupcakes

In anticipation of our 40th birthday (July 27, 2012), we’ve got cake on the brain. Better yet, mini cakes. Cupcakes are cheerful lil’ things. Can’t really put my finger on a reason, but they are. And it turns out, other people, or at least publishers, must agree, because there are countless books on the topic of cupcakes!

Part of what makes any cookbook appealing is the appetite-grabbing photography, so, this week, just for fun, I’ve rounded up my selections. Here are the Top 10 Charming Books on Cupcakes…

1. Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans offers up 50 mouthwatering, delicious recipes that are sure to tickle your palate. User-friendly, this simple cookbook also covers supplies, ingredients and successful baking techniques.

2. Bake Me I’m Yours… Cupcake: Over 100 Excuses to Indulge by Joan and Graham Belgrove features 100 ideas for baking, decorating, displaying, serving and consuming cupcakes – the small cake with BIG potential. Sponge cakes, icings and frostings, and ideas for embellishment and display.

3. Cupcakes Year-Round: 50 Recipes for Every Season and Celebration by Sara Neumeier offers a platter of full of delicious recipes for the kids and grown-ups, with recipes organized by season. In addition to recipes for batters, it includes syrups, fillings, and icings.

4. Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye and Liv Hansen is filled with delightful cupcakes, small cakes muffins, and other mini treats. Presenting 60 fabulous new recipes for little decorated cakes and cheesecakes, bundts, cupcakes and more-all in fresh flavor combinations

5. Cupcakes by Susannah Blake features passion fruit butterfly cakes and orange almond cupcakes. You won’t be able to resist whipping up a batch.

6. Cupcakes: Over 80 Delicious Recipes for All Occasions and Tastes by Sue McMahon offers 80 delicious recipes including recipes for traditional cupcakes, fruit-based cupcakes, themed cupcakes, and special-diet cupcakes that include mouthwatering gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, reduced-fat and reduced-sugar recipes.

7. The Cupcake Deck (Cards) by Elinor Klivans, the author of Cupcakes (see number 1), shows off 25 scrumptious ways to bring smiles faster than a kid can lick the batter off a beater.

8. Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It by Amy Atlas is a showcase of sweet cakes and sugarscapes! You can take on this DIY with the help of this celebrity event planner’s book. Amy gives you tips for dressing up store-bought treats and craft ideas to create a dynamic dessert table for your next party. Presentation is everything!

9. Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn offers creative ideas and 135 recipes for tiny, delicious cakes from chocolate ganache to toppings with panache, tempting recipes for children and grown-ups, for special days and everyday, lunch bags, holiday festivities, and an unexpected dinner party dessert.

10. Tempt: Cupcakes to Excite by Betty Saw brings to mind fun and colorful little cakes in attractive cases with beautiful toppings, with a decadent serving of 75 recipes.

Who’s hungry for a cupcake now? Stay tuned for details about our birthday party and fantastic deals happening at your local HPB to celebrate our 40th.

— Meredith

Legendary Comedian + Harpist Harpo Marx

Wow. Where do I even begin to talk about one of the great comedians of all time? Harpo Marx (born November 23, 1888 – died September 28, 1964) and his comic style was influenced by clown and pantomime traditions.

I was first introduced to the Marx Brothers at a very young age, and I can truly say that films such as Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, A Night at the Opera and Animal Crackers still stand the test of time. Their films are funnier than ever, with each member of the comedy team having a distinct role, including Harpo’s as the silent zany one who communicated only with a horn or by whistling! Some of the most memorable comedy scenes in movie history belong to the Marx Brothers.

My absolute favorite is the “mirror” scene from Duck Soup (1933) which shows Harpo at his best. You may also remember a similar scene re-done in an episode of “I Love Lucy” which originally aired on TV in 1955 with a hilarious Harpo and Lucille Ball duo (clip below).

I encourage everyone to sit down and watch a few of these great classic comedies!

Thank you for all the laughs. Here’s to Harpo!

Remember: no talking or texting during the feature presentation.

— Jim

The Idea of a Mouse: 83 Years of Mickey

While traveling by train from New York to California after loosing the rights to Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney began toying with the idea of a mouse.  At first, Disney called the mouse Mortimer, but his wife, Lillian, convinced him to change the name to Mickey because it sounded cuter.  Then, on November 18, 1928, at the Colony Theater in New York, Mickey Mouse whistled his way onto the screen in the cartoon short Steamboat Willie.  And 83 years later, we are still enamored with the simple idea of a mouse.  So, to celebrate Mickey’s birthday, I’ve gathered up some fun facts about the world’s favorite mouse.
Did you know…?

  • Two Buster Keaton films, The Navigator (1924) and Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928) provided the inspiration for Steamboat Willie.
  • Animator Ub Iwerks completed Steamboat Willie as a silent film.  Sound was post-synchronized to match the action.
  • Although Steamboat Willie had sound, Mickey did not utter his first word until The Karnival Kid (1929).  Walt Disney himself played Mickey’s voice.
  • The first item of merchandise to feature Mickey Mouse was a child’s school tablet in 1929.
  • After Emperor Hirohito of Japan received a Mickey Mouse watch while visiting Disneyland in 1978, he wore the watch on his wrist everywhere he went.  One day when the watch stopped ticking, he called in Japan’s finest jewelers to solve the problem.  The result was one new battery and a very happy emperor.
  • The first Mickey Mouse comic strip was published on January 13, 1930.
  • Although Mickey has only starred in a few of Disney’s full length feature presentations  – Fantasia (1940), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) – he has found a way to sneak into several others, such as The Rescuers (1977), The Little Mermaid (1989), and 101 Dalmatians (1961).  Can you find where he is hiding in those movies – perhaps do you know of other Disney movies where Mickey has found a way to make a cameo? Put your Disney trivia knowledge to the test and submit your answers in the comments below.

So today, in celebration of our favorite mouse, and because it’s Friday (who doesn’t love Fridays?!), we’re giving away some fun HPB prizes – including an HPB Gift Card, reusable tote bag and a coveted HPB T-shirt. Make a comment below telling us who is your favorite Disney character. Three (3) winners will be randomly selected at 3:00 pm CST on Friday, November 18. Ready, set, go!

Happy Birthday, Mickey!

— Julie 


UPDATE: Congratulations to our 3 winners – Nick Spacek and his adoration of Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove (you’ve won an HPB Gift Card), Veronica Deslauriers and her poem praising our feathered friend Donald Duck (you’ve won a reusable tote bag), and Shellie and her vote for the birthday boy himself, Mickey Mouse (you’ve won an HPB T-shirt)! To claim your prize, please email with “Mickey” in the subject line. This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated. Stay tuned to the Half Price Blog for more news, reviews and free goodies.

Happy 39th Birthday, HPB!

Today is HPB’s 39th Birthday! On July 27, 1972, we opened our first store in a converted laundromat in Dallas, Texas. Co-founders Ken Gjemre and Pat Anderson stocked the shelves with more than 2,000 books from their personal libraries. Half Price Books was created with the idea of offering a great product at a great price. And it worked! Today, Half Price Books is America’s favorite family-owned new and used bookstore chain with 113 stores in 16 states.

We received a few unexpected birthday gifts this year. First, we’re excited to announce that our Dallas/Fort Worth area shoppers voted us D Magazine‘s “Best Bookstore” in its upcoming August “Best Of Big D” issue. We won both the Editors’ Choice and the Readers’ Choice — no small feat, judging from the competition. Thank you to everyone who voted in Dallas-Fort Worth, but most of all THANK YOU to our customers nationwide! You’re the reason we’ve been able to do what we do for the last 39 years.

Our other unexpected birthday surprise was this ADORABLE video from one of our pint-sized customers we met recently in San Antonio. He attended our San Antonio Grand Opening and definitely wins our Enthusiasm Award. This guy’s invited to the party, for sure 🙂

Isn’t he great? If you can’t get enough of him, here’s a second edition, entitled “Reading is like time-travel, except pocket-sized.”

Thanks again to everyone for your love and loyalty these last 39 years. We’re looking forward to celebrating many more — including BIG PLANS for our 40th birthday next year!

How many of our 39 years have you been shopping at HPB? We’d love to know which location is your favorite!

— Emily (and the entire HPB family)