Have Books, Will Travel – College Tour!

Brace yourself. We’re going to say it.

The end of summer is upon us.

As the fall semester makes its swift approach, and college tours come to an end, it’s high time that you start thinking about books. Not that we ever stop thinking about books around here, but if you’ll be taking in the aroma of fresh-cut college grass soon, we want you to be prepared. Whether you’re attending a liberal arts university or law school, one thing is certain: you’re going to need books…and if you’re an honest college student, you have no problem admitting that you’re procrastinating and have yet to purchase any.

Half Price Books has your back. We’ve got the perfect reads to keep you awake on the road to college and the required reading to keep you at the head of the class once you get there! Continue reading

Banned Collectible Books (Rarest of Rare Collectibles)

Again this year, in honor of Banned Books Awareness Week, we present a couple of perennial reading-list favorites that have been censored and banned.

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
First Printing, Little, Brown & Co., 1951

In 2015, one of our two featured books during Banned Books Awareness Week was J.D. Salinger’s first book. That copy sold out of one of our Minnesota stores, and this year a Texas store has acquired another first edition in Very Good condition.

The Catcher in the Rye has remained a popular and critical favorite since it was published, appearing near the top of the “greatest American literature” lists of Time, Modern Library and many other listmakers. Many school districts and libraries have restricted or banned it for profanity, sexual references and for being “negative” and because it “undermines morality.”

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Top School Required Reading You Didn’t Hate

As summer ends and the kids prepare to head back to school, our thoughts naturally return to the required reading we were forced to endure the last time we sat in a classroom.  The books that spring quickly to my mind are William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, three books which I would be happy to never see again in my life.  Now, we know that not all required reading makes you question the sanity of your English teacher.  So, we asked you what were the books on your required reading list that you enjoyed.  (Enjoyed might be too strong of a word.  Liked? Tolerated? Didn’t throw across the room in a fit of frustration and boredom?)  So, without further ado, here is the list of required reading you—didn’t hate.

(1) To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; (2) Brave New World, by Aldoux Huxley (3) Night, by Elie Wiesel (4) Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen (5) The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien (6) Lord of the Flies, by William Golding (7) The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak (8) The Giver, by Lois Lowry (9) A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (10) All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque (11) 1984, by George Orwell, (12) War of the Worldsby H.G. Wells (13) Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte (14) East of Eden, by John Steinbeck (15) Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card (16) Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe (17) A Separate Peace, by John Knowles (18) The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde (19) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (20) Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

(21) Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut (22) The Iliad, by Homer (23) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (24) The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells (25) The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien (26) Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (27) On the Beach, by Nevil Shute (28) The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck (29) A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens (30) The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck (31) The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green (32) Legend, by Marie Lu (33) The Ramayana, by William Buck (34) Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (35) Animal Farm, by George Orwell (36) The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway (37) Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte (38) The Red Pony, by John Steinbeck (39) The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch (40) As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

(41) Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck (42) Alas Babylon, by Pat Frank (43) Anthem, by Ayn Rand (44) Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand (45) Indian Killer, by Sherman Alexie (46) Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonthan Swift (47) The Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (48) James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl (49) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (50) Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse (51) Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous (52) The Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell (53) Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom (54) Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor M. Dostoevsky (55) Same Kind of Different As Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (56) The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, by H.W. Brands (57) Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy (58) The Diary of Ma Yan, by Ma Yan (59) O, Pioneers! by Willa Cather (60) The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Reading this list I remembered several books I read and loved in school.  What about you?  Did your favorite required reading title make the list?

And if you are preparing to go back to school yourself, we hope your required reading list is full of books you—don’t hate. — Julie

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

Reading Lists 101

Summer is almost here, and that means traveling, pool parties, lazy days of lounging, and… required school reading?! We know that finding those assigned books can be tricky, and HPB wants to do our best to make the search easier. So tell us, educators…

Let us know which books and authors your classrooms will be reading this summer (Dickens? Dostoyevsky? du Maurier?) by filling out our Reading Lists 101 form and bringing it to your favorite HPB store. Our stores will do their best to build summer and required reading displays most relevant to what local schools are reading. While we can’t guarantee that we’ll have the titles in stock, knowing classrooms’ required reading lists will help us to select and group together the most sought-after books, and our Bibliomaniacs will be better equipped to assist students in their search.
Is there a book that you were required to read for school that turned out to be an all-time favorite? How about one that you can’t believe isn’t on required reading lists? Let us know in the comments! 

— Kate

40 Classic Books You Should Have Read in School

Earlier this month Jim Swayze challenged you to read Classic Literature, but if you are anything like me, you wonder when a book stops being a regular book and starts being a “classic.” Interestingly enough, no one really knows. In fact, essays have been found debating the topic since the early 19th century. The term “classic” is accepted to mean that the book is noteworthy and stands the test of time. However, the noteworthiness of the book is also very subjective.

So how are you to know whether the book you are reading is a classic? Well, lucky for you, our employees know books. We conducted an extensive and amusing poll, consisting of the ever-so-technical question, “So, what do you think?” Without further ado, here are our employees’ selections for 40 Books You Should Have Read in School, a.k.a. Classic Literature.





So, how many of you read that list saying, “Read it. Read it. Hated it. Want to read it. Never heard of it . . .” ? Wow! You are like me. If so, I know that you will be itching to read those books that you haven’t read, and why not enter to win a $50 HPB gift card in the process. You have one more week to sign up for the HPB Reading Challenge: Lit Classics.

Tip: Les Miserables is almost 1,500 pages. A Christmas Carol is a little more than 100 pages. I’m just saying.

Did we leave out your favorite classic lit from our list? Let us know in the comments below.

— Julie