Totally Random Lists 2019: How ‘Bout Them Apples?

Editor’s Note: This year our Half Price Books calendar once again features books, movies and music grouped together in weird, unexpected ways. You might even call them Totally Random Lists, which is what we did because, well, we had to put something on the front cover. We like the lists so much, we’ll be sharing them on this blog throughout the year.


Symbolizing knowledge, immortality and temptation, the apple is no ordinary fruit. More likely to star in media than a second banana, apples are a juicy subject for any author or auteur. Here’s a bushel of titles to keep the doctor away. Continue reading

Totally Random Lists 2019: One Syllable is Enough

Editor’s Note: This year, our Half Price Books calendar once again features books, movies and music grouped together in weird, unexpected ways. You might even call them Totally Random Lists, which is what we did because, well, we had to put something on the front cover. We like the lists so much, we’ll be sharing them on this blog throughout the year.


When an author chooses a one-word title, they’re basically saying, “this one word is all I need to capture my creation’s powerful essence!” Here are some of our favorite books, movies and albums that say it all with a single, memorable syllable—on the cover, anyway.

BOOKSOneSyllable Stack 3 BLOG
Holes, Louis Sachar
Night, Elie Wiesel
Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
It, Stephen King
Room, Emma Donoghue
Jazz, Toni Morrison
Watt, Samuel Beckett
Dune, Frank Herbert
Crash, J.G. Ballard

MOVIESalbums 1
Babe
Jaws 
Big
Mask
Up
Brave
Elf
Speed
Pi

MUSIC
Blue, Joni Mitchell
Pearl, Janis Joplin
Damn, Kendrick Lamar
Go, Dexter Gordon
Tusk, Fleetwood Mac
Bad, Michael Jackson
So, Peter Gabriel

For a longer list of monosyllabic titles, visit HPB.com/syllable.

10 Unforgettable, Quotable Lines from Casablanca

As Casablanca celebrates its 75th anniversary, there’s so much to acknowledge. Where shall I begin? The film score is among my favorites. Its dreadfully romantic – albeit a messy love triangle plot. It’s film noir cinematography style – the darkness and casting shadows – makes it both dramatic and iconic. And it’s among an enchanting collection of “movies within movies.” Yet, perhaps the best quality of the film is the screenplay.

Casablanca’s iconic moments and lines have become a part of our cultural vocabulary. Even people who have never seen the film might find themselves quoting it beccause its stellar writing has become woven into our contemporary vernacular. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at these 10 lines and watch the unforgettable scenes where they appear in the film.

Here’s looking at you kid.

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

Continue reading

The Island of Misfit Horror Sequels

Sequels are always a mixed bag – especially sequels to horror movies. Even if a horror movie doesn’t scare you, it should at least surprise you. And how do you get something that surprised you once to surprise you again?

I’ve selected some horror sequels that attempt – and mostly succeed – at being something other than just more of the same. Most of these movies aren’t the equal of the classics they’re based on, but they’re worth watching because they try to surprise you again. So if you’re looking for something new or different to watch this Halloween, I recommend giving these sequels a chance (or second chance).

So without further ado, I welcome you to <insert spooky voice here> the Island of Misfit Horror Sequels…

Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives
Well, we have to start with a Friday the 13th movie on Friday the 13th. I won’t lie, this series has never been my thing (sorry, Friday fans), but Jason Lives is a ton of fun.

jason

Why? The people who made it acknowledged how silly this series is and leaned into it. The end result is a charmingly self-aware horror-comedy that’s funny while still letting Jason do what he does to anyone who gets near Camp Crystal Lake. If this isn’t the best Friday movie, it’s right up there. Now let’s move on to something that takes itself more seriously…

Continue reading

My Best Friend’s Wedding Turns 20: The Top 10 Must-See Julia Roberts Movies

Twenty years ago today (June 20), America’s Sweetheart, Julia Roberts, graced the theaters with what some would say is her finest work: My Best Friend’s Wedding. The Julia-ness of Julianne “Jules” Potter, from her one-in-a-million smile to her sassy, spunky charm and, of course, that hair, made America fall in love with Julia Roberts all over again. A stellar supporting cast that includes Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett and Cameron Diaz, plus an incredible soundtrack featuring Burt Bacharach’s greatest hits, make this a can’t-miss romantic comedy classic. By God, there will be dancing!
my best friends wedding

But My Best Friend’s Wedding is not the only time Julia shined on screen. Let’s take a look at some of her other great roles. And trust me, it was hard to pick only 10!

Mystic Pizza (1988)—Interested in seeing Julia’s first feature film? Then check out this classic coming-of-age story featuring Julia at just 20 years old! Her signature sass is still present, along with a hint of youthful innocence.

mystic pizza Continue reading

O Captain! My Captain!

It’s May, and all movie fans know what that means…Summer Movie Blockbusters are on the way! There are so many films to look forward to. Spider-Man: Homecoming, War for the Planet of the Apes, Alien: Covenant and of course Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk are all on my list to see, but one of the most anticipated is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. This will mark the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, a role that earned him an Oscar nomination in The Curse of the Black Pearl. This made me think of all the famous captains out there.

Keeping with HPB’s celebration of totally random lists, I have put together my Captain’s Log (Star Trek pun intended). Can you name everyone that made my Best Captains List?

captains13

The Captain and Tennille
The Captain, Daryl Dragon, was a hit recording artist in the ‘70s with Cathryn Tennille. You might remember Love Will Keep Us Together.

captains14

Captain Morgan
Sir Henry Morgan, a Welsh privateer of the Caribbean, is the mascot for Captain Morgan Rum. Their motto is “To life, love and loot.”

Continue reading

Administrative Professionals’ Day: Our Favorites from the Big and Small Screen

This Wednesday, April 26, is Administrative Professionals’ Day. Dating all the way back to the 1950s, the last week of April is a time to acknowledge the significant contributions of executive assistants, secretaries and other administrative roles. Anyone who has worked in an office, school or large organization knows that someone has to be the glue that holds all the moving parts together! So here are some of our favorite administrative professionals:

The Fearless Trailblazers

DoraleeRhodes_Half Price Books
Doralee Rhodes (9 to 5)—In this classic comedy from 1980, Doralee isn’t afraid to stand up to her “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss. Attagirl, Doralee!

JoanHolloway_Half Price BooksJoan Holloway (Mad Men)—Don’t mess with Joan. She runs a tight ship, managing her team of secretaries while advancing her career in a climate that’s less than conducive to women in power.
TessMcGill_Half Price BooksTess McGill (Working Girl)—Tess proves that, sometimes in life, you have to visualize what you want and then take it. She’s never afraid to step up and make the most of an opportunity. Continue reading

Celebrating the 65th Anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain

If you ask me what my favorite musical is, my answer will be the 1952 MGM musical comedy Singin’ in the Rain. In 2007 the American Film Institute ranked this movie #5 in AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time, so I know I’m not alone. I don’t know if it’s Gene Kelly spinning in circles with an umbrella, Donald O’Connor flipping off walls, or Debbie Reynolds doing the hula during the “Good Morning” dance routine, but there is something about Singing in the Rain that captivates us and keeps us singing 65 years after its release. Here are some facts you may not know about one of America’s favorite musicals:

singin

Continue reading

3 Must See Movies This Black History Month

Anyone who knows me at all understands that I am a movie junkie. So when thinking about Black History Month, I can’t help but think one of the best ways to celebrate is to go down to your local cinema and check out some of the great films that are out about black-American culture and black-American history.

The first movie you should check out is Hidden Figures. This is the true story of mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who were all employed by NASA and were the masterminds of calculating trajectories and orbits to get the first American, astronaut John Glenn, in to space. Katherine Johnson was also given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November of 2015 by President Barack Obama for her work with the space program.

nintchdbpict000297871857 Continue reading

National Popcorn Poppin’ Month

PopcornBlog.pngOctober is National Popcorn Poppin’ month and there is no better way to celebrate it than with popcorn and a movie. I have found some really fun popcorn recipes and paired them with appropriate films. Get your popper out and get ready for an evening at home with some great tasting popcorn and a movie.

Chocolate Almond Popcorn
In the mood for something sweet? You might think the perfect movie for chocolate almond popcorn would be Chocolat with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche.  But let’s go in a different direction and honor the late Gene Wilder by watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Enjoy your chocolate popcorn as Charlie discovers a world of pure imagination. Continue reading