Have Books, Will Travel – Summer Edition

Can you feel it? Spring allergies are practically a thing of the past and summer allergies are well on their way, school days are done and children are spending long evenings poolside, summer vacations are booked and seaside travel abounds. If you’re headed to the beach this season, why not let a few good books tag along?

Introducing our new series, Have Books, Will Travel, where we’ll give you suggestions about the best books to have by your side as you trot the globe. Let’s start seaside, shall we? It is summer, after all. Continue reading

The Reading Road Trip: Explore Literary Landmarks Across the U.S.

The lazy days of summer are the perfect time to hit the road for new adventures. And for a bookish type, what better journey to plan than a drive to one of the great literary landmarks across the United States?

From memorial libraries to author hangouts to well-preserved homes, there are a myriad of fascinating stops to explore. Here are a few of our favorites:

Scott and Zelda FitzgeraldScott&ZeldaAirBNB.jpg
The only dedicated museum to the glamorous Jazz Age couple, this restored home in Montgomery, Alabama was the site of the longest residence for the Fitzgeralds, and the spot where Scott wrote Tender is the Night and Zelda penned Save Me the Waltz. Full of copies of F. Scott and Zelda’s letters to one another (plus a few snarky ones Scott sent to Hemingway), photographs and Zelda’s paintings, the Fitzgerald Museum stands as a testament to their doomed but passionate relationship. Bonus: you can even book a stay upstairs in a quaint Airbnb decorated with pillows stitched with Zelda’s quotes.


Photo courtesy of James Edwards

Edward Gorey
Gothic author, illustrator and playwright Edward Gorey turned his 200-year-old Cape Cod home Elephant House into a cabinet of curiosities. Gorey collected everything from cheese graters to elephants, so you’ll find plenty of ephemera in the cottage along with his overflowing library and a fabulous gift shop. If you look closely, you might even discover 26 children who met their untimely ends based on his classic alphabet book The Gashlycrumb Tinies hidden away around the abode.

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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: 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.


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.


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.

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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