Books: Read the Movie, Your Summer Guide to Movies Based on Books


Summer will be here before we know it and that means summer blockbusters coming to the big screens. Maybe you aren’t interested in turtles that know karate or the latest alien invasion, so how about some great summer reading to get the jump on some other movies hitting theaters soon.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark knows a lot of things, but what she doesn’t know is that she is about to meet and fall in love with the most unexpected of men, Will Traynor, a man suffering from a motorcycle accident who falls for Louisa and now has a reason to live. Me Before You stars Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. Look for Me Before You in theaters June 3.


Max-Perkins-Editor-Genius-Scott-BergMax Perkins by A. Scott Berg

The movie will be titled Genius. This is the story of Max Perkins, who was a book editor at Scribner and oversaw the works of Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. A very promising film staring Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce, Colin Firth and Jude Law. Look for Genius on June 10.

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4 Home Run Movies For A Baseball Fanatic

Play Ball! A Few of our Favorite Baseball Movies.


Today is opening day for most of Major League Baseball. As a huge baseball fan, it’s one of the best days of the year. Everyone has hope that a World Series is in the cards for their favorite team.


To celebrate the start of the season, I thought I’d share some of my favorite baseball movies. Enjoy!


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1. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) – Starring Michael Moriarty and a guy who would go on to become pretty famous, Robert De Niro, Bang the Drum Slowly tells the story of Henry Wiggen and Bruce Pearson, players for the New York Mammoths. Bruce finds out he is terminally ill at the beginning of the film. Not the brightest or the best player, the Mammoths are prepared to cut him. But Henry ends his contract holdout and makes the team include one condition – that he and Bruce come as a package.  Grab some tissues for this one because this one’s a tearjerker.

2. A League of Their Own (1992) – Starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna, A League of Their Own tells the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Many great quotes came from this classic, but the most famous and widely used has to be, “There’s no crying in baseball!”

3. Moneyball (2011) – I was surprised I enjoyed a movie focused on building a successful team through sabermetrics so much. Having great actors like Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman certainly doesn’t hurt. Moneyball tells the story of the 2002 Oakland A’s and general manager Billy Beane’s quest to field a competitive team on a budget.

4. Little Big League (1994) – This is probably the least known of these movies, but one of my all-time favorites.  12-year-old Billy Heywood inherits the Minnesota Twins when his grandfather dies. After running off the team’s manager, Billy decides to name himself the manager of the team. The players are skeptical (as they should be!) but the team comes together to make a run at the AL wild card. Hilarity ensues as Billy tries to balance his adult job with the normal activities of a 12 year old. Look for appearances by former baseball greats Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr.!

Emily is Public Relations Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @emilytbruce.

Worst-Case Scenario: How to Survive Your Summer Vacation

It’s that time of year where we all pack our bags, buy our tickets, jump in the car and get out of dodge (unless of course you drive a Dodge and then you would be getting into Dodge, not out of it.  I’m going to have to think about that. Anyway…) It’s vacation time! Now, we all want to be safe when we take a vacation. So, I am going to share some tips from a handy little book with you that you just might want to take along on your next trip. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook will help you out no matter where you are going for your vacation. Here are a few helpful things you will learn in this book.

For your trip to the beach, you can learn:

  • How to fend off a shark: You always hear you should punch a shark in the nose to fend off an attack.  Well, not according to this book. It says “Go for the eyes.”
  • How to wrestle free from an alligator: Good thing to know for your vacation in the Everglades.
  • How to survive adrift at sea: The people on the Titanic may have benefitted from this information.
  • How to get to the surface if your scuba tank runs out of air: The first instruction is the same as hitchhiking through the galaxy: Do not panic.

For your trip to the mountains, you can learn:

  • How to survive a poisonous snake attack: One thing NOT to do is have someone suck the poison out.  What is Hollywood trying to teach us?
  • How to escape from a bear: I actually found this to be a scary one because you have to know if it’s a black bear or a brown bear, and not all black bears are black in color. Some are brown, which means…I’m dead.  However, tip one is don’t sneak up on them.  Make some noise.  And that I can do.
  • How to escape from a mountain lion: Make yourself look bigger.  So, I guess for me that would be to look at a gallon of ice cream.
  • How to survive when lost in the mountains: Related topics: How to make fire without matches and depending on how lost you are, How to survive an avalanche.

For your trip to the city, you can learn:

  • How to hotwire a car: You never know when this knowledge is going to come in handy.
  • How to take a punch: This one could work for your trip to the country as well.
  • How to deliver a baby in a taxicab:  Before attempting this, drive like crazy to get to the hospital. 
  • How to survive if you are in the line of gunfire: If you remember nothing else, remember to zig-zag!

As you can tell, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook covers (you guessed it) the worst-case scenarios, which not only provides you with interesting and educational information, but also makes you glad that the airport ONLY lost your luggage, not your pilot. For more “Worst-Case Scenario” fun look for the Worst-Case Scenario book series at your local Half Price Books.

Happy vacationing! — Julie

11 Quick Reads: Books Under 200 Pages

Some of the best things in life come in small packages, like diamond rings —  and short novels. One of my favorite things about short novels is that most have an incredibly simple plot, but fit an incredibly amount of emotion and even action into such a small package. These 11 “quick reads” are all under 200 pages (in at least one of their formats). Short novels can be fantastic to tote along with you this summer while lying on the beach for an afternoon or during the kids’ soccer practice.

Even at 11 books, this list seems incomplete. What quick read that’s under 200 pages would you add to this list? — Kristen B.

Countdown to Summer: 4 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Young Adult Series

Looking for some more traditional, yet still action-packed series for you or your kids? The summer is the perfect time to dive into some action and adventure with these science fiction/fantasy young adult series. Much like the dystopian young adult series, these novels tend to have less romance and more action, so they are perfect for both boys and girls of all ages!
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, is a series about a 12 year old brilliant millionaire, who also happens to be a criminal mastermind. In this first novel, Artemis takes on the world of the Faerie and captures Holly Short for a ransom. A battle full of action and wit between Artemis and the Faerie world ensues. Artemis starts out as a pessimistic and cold boy, but turns into a rather charming young man throughout the series, who shows remorse for his previous bad actions. Delve into the series now, so that you and your kids can be ready when the eighth and final book is published later this year!
In the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John A. Flanagan, 15 year old Will wanted to be a warrior, but instead he was chosen to be Ranger’s Apprentice. At first Will is terrified, thinking that the Rangers are partially evil, but he soon discovers that the Rangers are the ones that have been long protecting their kingdom from other evil magic forces. Start with the first book in the series, The Ruins of Gorlan, for an action-packed ride with Will through the Kingdom of Araluen, which is loosely based on medieval Europe. At 11 books and still counting, this is one series that will keep you occupied for most of the summer!
The Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore starts with Graceling. Katsa is a Graceling, or a person who is extremely skilled. As rare as a Graceling is, her skill is even more unique. She has been able to kill people with her bare hands since she was eight. While being a Graceling is usually a blessing, for Katsa it’s a curse. Her uncle, King Randa, uses her to punish and scare people in his kingdom. One day Katsa meets a prince who just might match her in combat skills, and her entire world turns upside down. The two other books in the series, Fire and Bitterblue, follow other characters that have some of the same challenges that Katsa did.
The Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card is an oldie, but a goodie. Andrew “Ender” Wiggins is a brilliant kid who is chosen above his older brother and sister to attend the Battle School, where he can receive intense military training through mock battles against the aliens that are attacking earth. Ender flourishes at school and soon starts skipping grades. Because of his abilities, Ender is isolated and a rival of all his classmates. Towards the end of the first novel, Ender’s Game, Ender discovers that his training was not what he thought it was. This series can be fairly violent, but has a great message for kids, especially young men, that even those who are destined for greatness have many trials and tribulations along the way.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Young Adult novels aren’t exactly your cup of tea? Coming up in our final edition of “Countdown to Summer,” we’ll offer recommendations for 4 Fallen Angel Teen Fiction Series. Check back on the blog next week!
Also be sure to stop by your local Half Price Books to pick up a reading log for your kids. Kids 14 and under can earn $5 HPB Back-to-School Bucks for reading in June and July with the Feed Your Brain® Summer Reading Program.

— Kristen B.

Top 5 Summer Blockbusters of the Past

With the temperatures consistently going into the triple digits for about half the nation and the theatrical release of Cowboys & Aliens, Harry Potter and Captain America now behind us, it’s obvious we are in the middle of the summer movie season. So, what makes a great summer movie besides getting out of the heat and the usual soda and bag of gummies? To me, summer movies have been about having a good time through loud explosions, funny moments and too many special effects to count. Here are my Top 5 Summer Blockbusters of the Past:

1. The Granddaddy of them all. The film that taught us “Don’t go in the water,” Jaws (1975). This really is the one that started opening-weekend blockbusters. Hollywood changed their thinking – instead of releasing limited prints of the film and going from city to city, they flooded the country with the film, creating lines around the block, box-office records and the first-ever “summer blockbuster.” On top of that, it is a truly remarkable film. Maybe I am showing my age here, but I remember when and where I first saw Jaws at the theater. Unfortunately, I also remember the nightmares of white teeth and refusing to swim at the Motel 6 swimming pool while on a family vacation. Robert Shaw gives a terrific performance and should have received an Oscar nomination for his “Indianapolis” speech alone. Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary and Murray Hamilton – all spot on with their performances. Can’t recommend this film enough – it is as near perfect a movie as they come.

2. The runner up, from a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away… Star Wars (1977). What person my age didn’t see Star Wars a dozen times every time it came to town? Watching it again brings back memories of camping out all day with my brother just to be the first to get tickets. Maybe the older generation had the same rush of excitement seeing The Wizard of Oz (1939) for the first time (who knows?), but to kids in grade school at the time, Star Wars was pure magic. From the thundering opening credits to the final credits, as the type disappears in space, Star Wars took us all over the galaxy in this classic good versus evil movie. With the current day use of Droid phones, it is hard to deny that Star Wars is a piece of Americana.

3. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). I guess we should just refer to Mr Spielberg as Mr. Summer Blockbuster. There may not be any more recognizable character than Indiana Jones: Harrison Ford, sporting his fedora and leather jacket cracking his iconic whip. This film is pure entertainment – a great nonstop action movie with a fantastic story modeled after the cliffhanger serials.

4. An adventure 65 million years in the making: Jurassic Park (1993). I consider Jurassic Park one of the milestone movies for special effects. Just as Star Wars set the bar in the late 70s and Avatar a few years ago, Jurassic Park did the same for its time. Some really great work from Industrial Light and Magic integrating CG and live action. Great summer fun.

5. The Dark Knight (2008). After the success of Batman Begins (2005), director Christopher Nolan gets very dark and sinister with this sequel. This film was going to be a box office smash anyway, but the untimely death of Heath Ledger had the masses buying tickets in droves. What makes this one great is that between the car chases and crazy stunts, there is a well crafted story with all involved giving very good performances – and in Heath Ledger’s case, a truly great performance, earning him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

An honorable mention: Independence Day (1996) which had everything you would want for the summer – cities being reduced to a pile of rubble and plenty of entertaining visuals. Unfortunately, it also had every cliché character all packed in one film.

But hey, these are only my opinions. What are some of your favorite summer blockbusters of the past? Whatever you watch this summer, just remember, no talking or texting during the feature presentation.

— Jim

Top 10 Summertime Movie Classics

Whether it’s a vacay for the whole family, taking a long holiday overseas, enjoying the sunshine at the beach, or off to summer camp for the kids, summer is a time for new adventures and a break from the old routine. And in the spirit of summer, here’s a top ten list to consider for a fun movie night with friends and family, my Top 10 Summertime Movie Classics.

1. Roman Holiday (1953). One of my all-time favorite Audrey Hepburn movies, and the only one that earned her an Oscar. Hepburn is a princess who, on the Roman leg of her European capitals tour, rebelliously sneaks away from her entourage and sets off on her own. She is discovered by an American reporter (Gregory Peck), who is thrilled that he can get the inside scoop on the runaway princess. A charming romance, of course, ensues. Rome often looks beautiful in the movies, and this film is no exception. See the sights like a tourist through this classic film. Perhaps for a moment you’ll feel like you’re vacationing abroad, zipping through the streets of Rome on a Vespa.

2. Dirty Dancing (1987). A sensational summertime movie. Baby (Jennifer Grey) goes up to the Kellerma’s resort in the Catskills with her parents (Jerry Orbach, Kelly Bishop) and older sister (Jane Brucker) and falls in love with the dance instructor (Patrick Swayze). Well known not only for its music and choreography, but also for famous lines like, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” The big final dance scene sends an epic farewell to summer vacation at the end.

3. Jaws (1975). This movie put Steven Spielberg on the map, scared a whole generation out of the water, and changed the way the general public thinks about sharks. It spawned classic lines like, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” and “Shaark!” Incidentally, this movie also spawned sequel-itis. While the shark obviously looks fake now, the movie still holds up in terms of its look and feel, and may keep you off the beach for a while after viewing it.

4. The Parent Trap (1961). Hayley Mills plays twins who, unbeknownst to their divorced parents, meet at a summer camp. Products of single parent households, they switch places in order to meet the parent they never knew, and then conspire to reunite them (Maureen O’Hara, Brian Keith). In its made-for-tv movie sequel Parent Trap 2 (1986), Mary and Nicki are best friends who want their unsuspecting single parents to marry. Nicki’s mother Sharon (Hayley Mills) wants to move to New York City. With the help of Sharon’s twin sister Susan (Hayley Mills), the girls try to get their parents together. The Parent Trap (1998, remake) updates the tale with identical twins Hallie Parker and Annie James (Lindsay Lohan), who were separated at birth when their parents divorced. After the two meet at summer camp, they begin plotting to reunite their estranged parents (Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson).

5. Grease (1978). Good girl Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and greaser Danny (John Travolta) fell in love over the summer. But when they unexpectedly discover they’re now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance? A musical melodrama ensues at Rydell High.

6. Summertime (1955). Jane (Katharine Hepburn), a lonely secretary on her dream vacation in Venice, Italy (filmed entirely on location), finds unexpected romance at an outdoor café, where she falls in love with an antique dealer Renato de Rossi (Rossano Brazzi). Hepburn was nominated for an Oscar for this leading role.

7. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). The tale of a boy (Matthew Broderick) who decides to take a day off. He first recruits his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck), and the two of them, along with Cameron’s father’s Ferrari, go to get the last member of the trio, Ferris’ girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara). To get her out of school, they have to fake a death in the family and stage a very convincing escape. The three of them proceed to have the best day off ever.

8. The Seven Year Itch (1955). A professional book reader for a publishing company, Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell), must endure the dog days of a New York summer alone while his wife and son are away in the country for the summer. To pass the lonely hours, the overly-imaginative book reader fantasizes about a young model (Marilyn Monroe) who is lodging temporarily in the apartment upstairs.

9. Forrest Gump (1994). The story follows the life of Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and the love of his life, Jenny (Robin Wright). The film chronicles his accidental experiences with some of the most important people and events in America from the late 1950s through the 1970s, including a meeting with Elvis Presley, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, John Lennon and many more famous faces. It carries a feeling of summer love that suits the season.

10. Rear Window (1954). The scorching summer heat plays a catalyst for the story that unfolds. Thanks to a broken leg, wheelchair-bound photographer (Jimmy Stewart) spies on his neighbors from his apartment window to pass the time, and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. Eventually, he ropes his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) and nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) into snooping with him. It’s an essential must-see Hitchcock film and among my personal favorites.

So let’s have it… What’s your favorite flick to watch during the summer?

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

BW’s Summer Reading Tips

Hi, Kids! My name is Kate and I am the official correspondent for BW, our Half Price Books Bookworm! A few things you should know about BW:  

Birthday: July 27, 1972

Birthplace: Dallas, Texas

Height: 6 feet 9 inches

Features: Bright green body with the alphabet written down his sides, yellow freckles, red antennae, and big wobbly eyes.

Scent: Musty, Bookshelfy

Greatest Moment: Visiting Washington, D.C. for the White House Easter Egg Roll

Hobbies: Reading, teaching others how to read, and making new friends

BW loves the summer because he gets to help kids with their Summer Reading! Here are a couple ways kids can be sure to keep their reading skills sharp for when school starts again: 

1. The HPB “Feed Your Brain” Summer Reading Program is a fun way to get started. If kids read 600 minutes or more by August 7, they will receive $5 Back-to-School Bucks as a reward! there’s also a Top Reader prize up for grabs, a $20 HPB Gift Card! Click here to learn more. [Download a Feed Your Brain Reading Log] 

2. Create your own family reading goals this summer, and give rewards to your kiddos to keep them motivated. Help your kids select books to read with these reading suggestions and post a reading log on the fridge to chart their progress. [Download Reading Suggestions] [Download Reading Log]

3. Think of fun, creative family rewards. Here are some ideas:

 • Take a trip to the zoo or amusement park.

  • Camp out in the backyard with family or friends.

 • Have a special lunch at your favorite pizza place.

 • Take a trip to your favorite bookstore.

 • Present reading reward certificates. [Download Certificate]

Happy Reading! BW is off to spread his love & excitement for reading around America — so we’ll see you next time!

Sincerely, Kate & BW