Booklovers’ Choice: Favorite Books from HPB Bibliomaniacs Across the Country

I think every booklover will admit that one of the hardest questions to answer is “what is your favorite book?” Someone asked me that question not long ago, and I had read so many good books, trying to pick a favorite was almost heartbreaking. I finally said The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton because that was the first book that made me want to be a writer and touch people’s lives the way that book had touched mine. However, the question got me wondering what were some of my favorite booklovers favorite books? So much to their chagrin, I asked. And what better time to share their answers than on August 9, better known as Booklover’s Day?

Amanda B., Woodshoppe Manager, Dallas, TX
“I think I’ll have to go with Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. As I child I remember reading it and being fascinated by the depth and detail of the novel. It was the perfect mixture of horror, fantasy, suspense and Americana. As an adult, I think it is one of the most touching and nostalgic books I’ve ever read.”

Heidi H., Store Inventory Manager, Indianapolis, INLegacy of Ashes
“One of my favorite books of nonfiction is Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA by Tim Weiner. It may be one of our country’s most important tomes. At over 1,000 pages it took me over six months to read, mainly because I’m a slow reader, but the content was gripping and brought new meaning to the phrase ‘page-turner.’”

Jammie M., District Inventory Manager, Dallas, TXThe Hobbit
“My favorite book is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s the only book I’ve read multiple times. I like the world and the story. Plus, it was my mother’s favorite book, and I feel connected to her when I read it.”

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerDavid J., District Inventory Manager, Indianapolis, IN
I think the first book that caused me to fall in love with reading was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, by E. L. Konigsburg because it intrigued my imagination and really got me into the world that the characters lived in. From that time on, books were a gateway into another world and into the lives and experiences of other people.

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HPB Staff Picks: Best Books of 2016

With so many amazing books published each year, it’s easy to overlook some of the notable must-reads. We’ve put together a list of our favorite fiction and nonfiction of 2016 — including intriguing mysteries, imaginative tales, biographies and culture studies. There’s just enough time to check another book off your 2016 reading list, so choose a title and start reading!

gentlemaninmoscow
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Reviewed by HPB Staff Member: Kristen B.

Truly a Gentleman
The year is 1922. Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to live out the rest of his life under house arrest in a hotel in Moscow. Throughout the novel, we see different snippets of the Count’s life as he lives out his sentence. It is the story of a true gentleman. So often we read stories about heroes or really messed up people that do really messed up things. A Gentleman in Moscow is just about a regular guy doing regular things, holding to his principles and always treating others with respect. It was so refreshing. Continue reading

11 Military Stories for Memorial Day

As we honor those who have fallen in service to our country, I find myself drawn again to stories about that selfless sacrifice. From movies to books, here are my recommendations of accounts of war I think are compelling and memorable for this Memorial Day.

I’ve been a military movie buff since I was a kid. Initially drawn to films meant more for entertainment than an honest account of war. Movies like The Longest Day, The Dirty Dozen, The Alamo, The Big Red One and The Great Escape were favorites. As I matured, so did my tastes, developing towards more truthful narrative. Galipoli, Paths of Glory, Platoon, Glory, and Saving Private Ryan are personal standouts.

In later years, I joined the Army, and subsequently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Ironically, my taste for war movies has sharply waned. After experiencing war first hand, I now find Hollywood typically falls short of the truth. I read more about war rather than watch it on screen now. Books allow more freedom to draw my own conclusions and at my own pace. Here are a few non-fiction books I recommend as a way to remember and honor the sacrifice others have made.

Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose is full of hundreds of amazing facts and first-hand accounts of Allied and Axis troops from the day after D-Day through the end of WWII in Europe. Another book by Ambrose, Band of Brothers, follows a group of Paratroopers during WWII and chronicles their life-long bonds forged in war. From the same author of Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys by James Bradley tells the incredible and horrifying ordeal of US POWs on the Pacific Island of Chichi-jima. The Long Gray Line by Rick Atkinson is an intimate and honest portrayal into the complex lives of several West Point cadets from the class of 1966; their journey from school, through Vietnam and into their lives after the war. The Rough Riders by Teddy Roosevelt is a unique historical read, by a giant of American history. The personal accounts of Teddy Roosevelt’s experience in the Spanish American War is both insightful and engaging.

Whatever your plans for Memorial Day, please keep in mind those who made the ultimate sacrifice, even if that comes in the form of a book or movie.

Scott is Senior Designer at Half Price Books Corporate. He still serves in the Army Reserves and will be participating in Carry The Load this Memorial Day.

Falling in Love with Cathy Lamb

Our customers know books. So, when one of our customers suggested that I read a book by Cathy Lamb, I went straight over to the fiction section and picked up The Last Time I Was Me, by Cathy Lamb.  Then I spent a weekend reading the book cover to cover while simultaneously falling out of my chair laughing.

The Last Time I Was Me is about Jeanne Stewart, a creative director from an advertising firm in Chicago who recently had a nervous breakdown and lost her job. She is also facing civil and criminal charges for “creatively” breaking up with her boyfriend and is being forced to take anger management classes.  She ends up traveling to Oregon where her brother helps her get a job with the governor’s office. She buys a broken down house, runs naked by the river, falls in love and helps cover up a murder. And if that wasn’t enough to keep you interested, Cathy Lamb only hints at Jeanne’s “creative” break-up that landed her in anger management class, until the end when she has to go to court to face the charges.  I’m not going to tell you what she did, but I will say that it has something to do with peanut oil and an exacto knife.  Curious?  I guess you’ll have to read the book.  I want to reread the book, just writing about it.

So, if you love to laugh, I would highly recommend Cathy Lamb.  In fact, I’m going to go to Half Price Books right now and get another one of her books. 

What about you?  What author have you fallen in love with?

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

40 Great Must-See Movies

When it comes to movies, we all have our own sentimental favorites. But there are some films that we agree are must-see classics. I asked our 3,000 HPB bibliomaniacs, “What movie do you think is the greatest of all-time, one that every person should watch?” So, here are 40 Great Must-See Movies.
 
                             
How many have you seen on the list? What are some of your favorites?

Stop in store today and check out the DVDs and Blu-Rays at your local Half Price Books. And remember, HPB will buy your used movies too!

— Jim

40 Books That Will Make You LOL

I love to laugh. Laughter relieves stress, decreases pain, relaxes your muscles, improves your mood and protects your heart. Even just hearing laughter primes your brain and makes you ready to smile and join the fun. Studies have shown that incorporating more humor and laughter into your daily routine increases energy and enables you to stay grounded, focused and alert. 

Always looking for ways to improve my health, and have a little fun, I polled 3,000 HPB Bibliomaniacs and asked them: What books make you laugh? And without further ado, here are 40 Books That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud (LOL).

                 

Okay, even some of those titles made me laugh. Now, I have to admit, I have never read Nora Ephron nor David Sedaris, but I believe I’m about to start. I also must admit, I have been giving The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy to friends and relatives ever since I read it my freshman year of college. I mean, that series tells you the answer to life, the universe and everything, and teaches you how to fly. Who wouldn’t want to read that?

What about you? What book made you laugh out loud? — Julie

Staff Picks: Top 5 Storytime Picture Books

Hi, guys! We have another round of “Staff Picks” for you, this time from our South Dallas Assistant District Manager, Brecah Walsh-Helm. Brecah has three little ones (19 month old twin boys, and a brand new baby girl) so between work and home, she knows all about picture books and storytime! Says Brecah, “Here are some great picture books that are fun and silly, perfect for summer reading with your kids!” 

“DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS!” by Mo Willems

When the driver leaves the bus temporarily, he gives the reader just one instruction: “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus.” But that pigeon tries every trick in the book to get in the driving seat. He whines, wheedles, fibs and flatters. Will you let him drive?

HARRY THE DIRTY DOG” by Gene Zion

Harry, a white dog with black spots, hates baths so much that when he hears his bathwater running he buries his scrub brush and runs away. Harry has a great time getting filthy in the dirt but soon is tired and hungry, He returns home, only to find his family doesn’t recognize him, even after he performs all the tricks he knows. What will Harry do?  

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS” by Judi Barrett

In Chewandswallow, meals rain from the sky at appropriate times of the day, but a change in the weather blows in massive problems. “Prediction: Children dreaming up their own weather menus are sure to follow up on the fun.”–Booklist. A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year.  

OLIVIA” by Ian Falconer 

Olivia is a feisty young piglet who’s got too much energy for her own good. Whether she’s singing Forty Very Loud Songs or building a skyscraper out of sand or trying on all her clothes or getting rid of her little brother or decorating the living room walls or asking for too many books at bedtime, she never gets worn out. Of course, it’s another story entirely for Olivia’s exhausted mother!
 

THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS” by A. Wolf (and Jon Scieszka)

You may think you know the story of the “Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf” – but only one person knows the real story. And that person is A. Wolf. His tale starts with a birthday cake for his dear old granny, a bad head cold and a bad reputation. The rest (as they say) is history. This is a hilariously inventive retelling of the popular story which “Publishers Weekly” called the ‘Funniest book of the year.’

 (Honorable mentions go to “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak & “Miss Nelson Is Missing” by Harry Allard.)

 For more storytelling experiences in the Dallas area, join HPB at the following locations and times:

 Northwest Highway Flagship: Every Sunday at 1pm

 Mesquite:  Every Sunday at 2pm

 Rockwall: Every Wednesday at 2pm

  

Which other picture books would you recommend for storytime at your local HPB?

 — Becky