Books Can Take You Places: Texas

In 2016, we encouraged our booklovers to travel more. Not the kind of travel that involves airplanes, passports and hotels, but the kind where you open a great book and let it take you somewhere. We’ve taken trips to 14 different cities this year and it has been an amazing journey around the world filled with books, music and movies. To wrap up our year of travel, let’s explore all that Texas a.k.a The Lone Star State has to offer.

Half Price Books was born in Texas in 1972. And we native Texans take comfort in knowing that no matter where we travel in the world, the place we get to come home to is pretty darn interesting in its own right.texas

From colonial and cowboy days right up to the mostly urban present, the unique character of the Lone Star State has long fascinated storytellers of all kinds.

But don’t take our word for it. Stop by your local HPB and find out what Larry McMurtry has to say. Or Lyle Lovett. Or Richard Linklater. (Okay, now it just seems like we’re bragging. Sorry. Guess we come by it naturally.) Continue reading

Books Can Take You Places: New York City

Already this year, we’ve taken trips to 13 different cities and our journey around the world is slowly coming to an end.  This month let’s explore all that New York City has to offer.

The author Tom Wolfe said of New York City, “Culture just seems to be in the air, like part of the weather.” Indeed, the list of literary and artistic movements newyorkcitythat were born here is longer than the Empire State Building is tall—the Harlem Renaissance, comic books, modern dance, bebop, abstract expressionism, hip hop, disco, Tin Pan Alley and punk, just to name a few.

It’s only right that this cultural melting pot would be the inspiration for so many books, movies, TV shows and songs. After moving from small town Texas to the Big Apple after graduating from college, I truly got to experience everything the city had to offer for a poor post-college adult. Continue reading

Book Can Take You Places: St. Petersburg

Already this year, we’ve taken trips to 12 different cities and we’ve got a few more stops in our journey around the world.  This month let’s explore all that St. Petersburg, Russia has to offer.

stpetersburgSt. Petersburg is known as the cultural capital of Russia. With a heady mix of striking beauty and turbulent politics, the city looms large in the lives and works of the country’s greatest writers, including Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Nabokov. Russia’s first music conservatories were founded here, and The Mariinsky Theatre and Hermitage Museum are both internationally renowned. Known as “the Venice of the North,” St. Petersburg bears much more in common with western European cities than most other major urban areas in Russia.

In addition to the world-class museums and theaters, visitors to St. Petersburg will not want to miss the magnificent Peterhof Palace, the Peter and Paul Fortress (burial site of many Russian tsars, including Peter I himself), or the incredibly colorful Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood. Continue reading

Books Can Take You Places: London

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to 11 different cities and our journey around the world is far from over!  This month let’s londonexplore all that London, England has to offer.

I had my first visit to London when I was eight-years-old. I remember reading Michael Bond’s A Bear Called Paddington and so wanted to visit Paddington Train Station. Now as I prepare for my umpteenth trip to England, I have just finished reading Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. I so want to visit the London Below. I just need to find the Floating Market.


With over 2,000 years of glorious history under its belt, London’s influence on the English language, world literature and Western culture in general is impossible to overstate. From Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens to Lennon, McCartney and Jagger, enough legends have lived and worked here to fill a few dozen double-decker sightseeing buses.

HOW TO GET THERE

music-note-21 Abbey Road, The Beatles • book Bleak House, Charles Dickens • slate_film-512 Blow Up slate_film-512 A Clockwork Orange book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling • book High Fidelity, Nick Hornby • book The Importance of Being Ernest, Oscar Wilde • music-note-21 The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society, The Kinks • music-note-21 London Calling, The Clash • slate_film-512 Mary Poppins book Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf • slate_film-512 Notting Hill music-note-21 Quadrophenia, The Who • music-note-21 (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis • book White Teeth, Zadie Smith Continue reading

Books Can Take You Places: Nairobi

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to 10 different cities and our journey around the world is far from over! Nairobi This month let’s explore all that Nairobi has to offer.

No longer just a hub for safari tourism, Kenya’s capital city boasts a vibrant cultural scene encompassing music, film, art and literature. While many of the best-known books set here were written by Europeans during times of British colonization, Kenya has a long storytelling tradition of its own. Today, important Kenyan authors are increasingly making their voices heard around the globe.

HOW TO GET THERE

music-note-21 Benga Blast!, Daniel Owino Misiani and Shirati Band • slate_film-512 Born Free book Coming to Birth, Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye • slate_film-512 The Constant Gardener book Dreams From My Father, Barack Obama • music-note-21 En Mana Kuoyo, Ayub Ogada • book The Flame Trees of Thika, Elspeth Huxley • book A Grain of Wheat, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o • music-note-21 Mama Africa, Suzzana Owiyo • slate_film-512 Nairobi Half Life book One Day I Will Write About This Place, Kenneth Binyavanga Wainaina • book Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen • book Unbowed, Wangari Maathai • music-note-21 Unbwogable, Gidi Gidi Maji Maji Continue reading

Book Can Take You Places: Rio de Janeiro

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip 9 different cities and our journey around the world is far from over!  This month let’s explore all that Rio de Janeiro has to offer.

RioRio de Janeiro is the back drop for the 2016 Olympic Games. I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the grandeur of it all when it comes to The Olympics. The ceremonies, the stories behind the competing athletes and the unique locations. Rio is an exciting city with no shortage of culture and flair.

Spectacular beaches and mountain peaks aren’t the only reasons this tropical metropolis is called Cidade Maravilhosa (The Marvelous City). Rio is Brazil’s vibrant cultural center, known for Carnival and bossa nova, the fusion of samba and jazz that swept the world in the 60s. There’s a long moviemaking tradition and an evolving body of literature reflective of Brazil’s multicultural makeup.

brazil-iconic-statue-on-corcovado-mountain-in-rio-de-janeiro-hd-wallpaper-805x450
Continue reading

Books Can Take You Places: Berlin

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip 8 different cities and our journey around the world is far from over!  This month let’s explore all that Berlin, Germany has to offer.

Known for its cultural institutions and trendsetting old-meets-new atmosphere, Berlin has been a destination for writers and other artists for hundreds of years. The list of creative types with a “Berlin era” in their biography includes writers Franz Kafka and Vladimir Nabokov as well as rock musician David Bowie, who famously described 1970s-era Berlin as “the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.”

BerlinVisitors raised on decades of spy films and John le Carré novels may envision Berlin as a cold, uninviting labyrinth of concrete and razor wire with sinister Stasi operatives and KGB agents lurking around every corner. But even though elements of the city’s Cold War past remain (and can be viewed in places like the East Side Gallery and Checkpoint Charlie), Berlin bears much more in common with other European cities than you might expect.

Upon arrival, my companions and I instantly made a beeline for the nearest café, where we sat drinking beer alongside cobblestone streets and soaking in the simple pleasure of people watching on a warm summer day. Later that afternoon we toured a Baroque palace at Schloss Charlottenburg, discovered the marvels of döner kebab (a popular form of Turkish rotisserie sold by street vendors and small shops all across Western Europe), and staggered a few kilometers back to the hotel after a rowdy night out at a biergarten in the Tiergarten. You may begin to detect a theme here. Continue reading

Books Can Take You Places: Seattle

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to Paris, France, San Francisco, California, with a detour to New Orleans, Louisiana then back across the pond to Rome, Italy. We’ve even been to  Chicago, Illinois, Tokyo, Japan and made a pit stop in Atlanta, Georgia. This month let’s explore all that Seattle, Washington has to offer.

SeattleNothing’s better on a rainy day than hanging out in a coffee shop reading, and Seattle has plenty of rain and coffee shops. Maybe that’s why it’s always near the top in rankings of America’s most literate cities. Lots of writers live in the area, from Tom Robbins to Erik Larsen and Maria Semple. Seattle’s music history includes Jimi Hendrix, who was born here, and Quincy Jones, who spent his teen years here, but it is best known for 90s alternative bands like Nirvana.

I visited Seattle for the first time last year and it was amazing! Of course, it rained but that didn’t stop me from checking out all the city had to offer. I saw the entire city from the top of the Space Needle. (Although I REALLY wanted to see the snow cap of Mount Rainer but it was too cloudy.) I also got to walk through Pike Place, which was bustling with people and entertainment all around. To top everything off, we took a pit stop at Kerry Park at sunset, which was worth the drive…what a view!

kerry park

HOW TO GET THERE

book The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein • music-note-21 Badmotorfinger, Soundgarden • book Black Hole, Charles Burns • book The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke music-note-21 Dirt, Alice in Chains • slate_film-512 The Fabulous Baker Boys slate_film-512 It Happened at the World’s Fair music-note-21 The Moon & Antarctica, Modest Mouse •  music-note-21 Nevermind, Nirvana • slate_film-512 The Parallax Viewslate_film-512 Say Anythingbook Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle, Murray Morgan • slate_film-512 Sleepless in Seattlebook Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson • music-note-21 Ten, Pearl Jam • book Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple

 DID YOU KNOW?

  • The Blue Moon is a legendary watering hole favored by Seattle writers like the poet Theodore Roethke, who celebrated winning the Pulitzer Prize there in 1953. The adjacent alley was named Roethke Mews in honor of Roethke, who taught nearby at the University of Washington.
  • Seattle-based record label Sub Pop, founded in 1988, helped popularize grunge music by being the first to sign area bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney.
  • In the early 1950s, Quincy Jones and Clint Eastwood were both music students at Seattle University.
  • Seattle’s EMP Museum, formerly known as the Experience Music Project, is a nonprofit museum devoted to popular culture, and is also home to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

If you don’t want to miss a stop on this journey, join the Half Price Books Booklovers Survey Club and we’ll send you an email each month with a new city alongside a quick survey. Plus, you’ll receive coupons to save throughout the year when you travel to your favorite Half Price Books.

Until next time!

Sam is Public Relations Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

 

Books Can Take You Places (Off the Beaten Path): Atlanta

This year’s HPB calendar is full of recommendations for every booklover, audiophile and movie buff. Unfortunately, we could only feature 12 different cities in our 126fireworkscalendar, and there are so many more places with rich literary and musical heritages available for you to visit. Half Price Books is venturing into it’s 17th state and we’re excited to be opening our newest store in the Atlanta,Georgia area, so of course, we had to add it to our Books Can Take You Places series.

Atlanta is not only a beautiful place, but has also been the home of some great novelists, including Margaret Mitchell, Joel Chandler Harris and Flannery O’Connor as well as inspiration for several other novelists, screenwriters and composers.  If you are in the Atlanta area, we would like to invite you to come to the Great Opening of our East Cobb store on May 26. For those outside the area, here are a few ways to experience Atlanta without ever leaving home.

HOW TO GET THERE

book Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (along with the its two sequels: Rhett Butler’s People, by Donald McCaig & Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley) • book Peachtree Road, by Anne Rivers Siddons • book Ace in the Hole, by George R.R. Martin • book The Hour of Dust and Ashes, by Kelly Gay • book Them: A Novel, by Nathan McCall• slate_film-512 Life as We Know Itslate_film-512 Beauty Shop slate_film-512 No Good Deedslate_film-512 Parental Guidanceslate_film-512 Wanderlustslate_film-512  Driving Miss Daisyslate_film-512  Drumline music-note-21 Love Shack, by the B-52s • music-note-21 Neon, Rooms for Squares by John Mayer • music-note-21Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, by OutKast • music-note-21  Hot ‘Lanta, At Filemore East by The Allman Brothers • music-note-21 Atlanta, No. 4 by Stone Temple Pilots

We wish the best of luck to the staff at our new East Cobb store, and look forward to coming to Decatur, GA late summer. Tell us what other cities you would like to see featured in our Books Can Take You Places: Off the Beaten Path.

Julie is Traffic Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You may follow her on Twitter at @auntjewey.

Books Can Take You Places: Tokyo

EDITOR’S NOTE: Half Price Books encourages you to travel more in 2016. Not the kind of travel that involves airplanes, passports and hotels, but the easier, more affordable kind — where you open a great book and let it take you somewhere. Throughout 2016 we’ll share about the world’s great destinations, along with our recommendations for the books, movies and music that will help you get there.Tokyo

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to Paris, France, San Francisco, California, with a detour to New Orleans, Louisiana then back across the pond to Rome, Italy. Last month’s stop was Chicago, Illinois and now we’ve landed in Tokyo, Japan.

In Japan’s dizzying capital, skyscrapers rub shoulders with Buddhist temples, and high art mingles with low. These dichotomies fuel Tokyo’s literary scene, which benefited in recent centuries from increased exposure to Western ideas and forms. Haruki Murakami is Japan’s best known modern writer; his surreal novels have been translated into 50 languages. Japan’s quirky pop culture, including karaoke, manga and anime, is on vivid display in Tokyo—and increasingly around the world.

HOW TO GET THERE

book After Dark, Haruki Murakami  slate_film-512 Akira  slate_film-512 Godzilla (1954) music-note-21 Japan: Traditional Vocal and Instrumental Music, Ensemble Nipponia music-note-21 Kazemachi Roman, Happy End book Kitchen, Banana Yoshimoto slate_film-512 Lost in Translation  book Number9dream, David Mitchell book Out, Natsuo Kirino book A Personal Matter, Kenzaburō Ōe music-note-21 Shakuhachi: The Japanese Flute, Konachiro Miyata music-note-21 Solid State Survivor, Yellow Magic Orchestra music-note-21 The Tokyo Blues, Horace Silver slate_film-512 Tokyo Olympiad  slate_film-512 Tokyo Story

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Rokujigen is a book cafe on Tokyo’s west side that serves as a hub for information about writer Haruki Murakami and is a gathering place for his fans. The cafe’s name means “six dimensions” in Japanese, and the only sign visible from the street is a small painted numeral 6.
  • Two Japanese writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature: Yasunari Kawabata in 1968 and Kenzaburō Ōe in 1994.
  • Book Clock is a video installation by designer Masaaki Hiromura in which a hand flips through three books representing hours, minutes and seconds. It can be seen at the MUJI department store in Shibuya.
  • Anime fans can visit The Ghibli Museum operated by Studio Ghibli, makers of Spirited Away and other internationally-distributed films.

If you don’t want to miss a stop on this journey, join the Half Price Books Booklovers Survey Club and we’ll send you an email each month with a new city alongside a quick survey. Plus, you’ll receive coupons to save throughout the year when you travel to your favorite Half Price Books.

Until next time!