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Something on Sunday: Half Price Books Clearance Sale

Happy Sunday! A couple of weeks ago Jenny at Reading the End decided to launch a little project called Something on Sunday, a way to celebrate the little things in life and share some love for the things that matter most. She encouraged people to blog every Sunday “about something that kept you on your feet that week”:

… whether that’s a person that inspired you, an action you took that you’re proud of, a book or movie or TV show that nourished your heart, a self-care strategy that worked for you, a goofy event or moment that brought you joy. Whatever it is, every Sunday, I want you to tell me something that matters to you.

So, I’m in. This week my something on Sunday is decidedly bookish, although I am sure that will be the case for most Sundays going forward. But this week… let’s talk about cheap books!

Half Price Books, for those of you unfortunate enough to not have that chain nearby, is a store where you can get… half price books. I take piles of books there to trade in pretty regularly, only to turn around and spend more on new books on the trip. It’s a vicious cycle.

Every year, all of the Half Price Books locations in the Twin Cities team up to host a giant clearance sale in the Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. All books are less than $3. Most are $2. They pile books up on these long tables — sort of organized, but mostly not — and then let you in to just shop. It is amazing — kind of like a library book sale on steroids.

I managed to mostly contain myself this year, only grabbing 10 books (and two of them are short story collections I’ve already read, just didn’t have in my permanent collection). That seems remarkably restrained. Here’s what I grabbed:

  • The Planets by Dava Sobel — Science! Space!
  • Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis — American history! Hamilton!
  • The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright — Pultizer Prize winner! Also, Al-Quaeda.
  • Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert — Fiction!
  • Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman — Short stories!
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo — Fiction!
  • Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm — Fiction! Psychological thriller!
  • The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preson and Mario Spezi — True crime! Italy!
  • Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea — Fiction! In translation! From Saudi Arabia!
  • The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel — Short stories!

I did not pick up a copy of The Way Forward by Paul Ryan, which someone hilariously piled up in the fiction section. Good job, book nerds.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Jenny @ Reading the End October 8, 2017, 9:06 am

    Yayyyyy omg this is such a good one!! I love your restraint, and this book sale sounds amazing. I would die of joy if I were at it, and I definitely would not have stopped myself at ten. :p

    • Kim October 9, 2017, 10:11 am

      Other years I have showed MUCH LESS restraint and ended up regretting it — heavy bags, not enough shelf space, you know the drill. It is pretty joyful to just walk through SO MANY BOOKS and bask in how awesome they are.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) October 8, 2017, 10:26 am

    That looks fun but I think it might be a good thing we don’t have one of those near us.

    • Kim October 9, 2017, 10:11 am

      It’s definitely good that it’s only once a year.

  • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard October 8, 2017, 5:51 pm

    I love sales like this, but they’re incredibly dangerous. Not to my book budget, but to the bookshelves, which are already overflowing. In fact, I’m making a concerted effort to prune my books before the next big library sale, or I don’t get to bring any more books home.

    As for the Paul Ryan book in fiction… well played!

    • Kim October 9, 2017, 10:12 am

      Bringing the pile home reminded me that I need to do a bookshelf clear out pretty soon too. There’s not much space left at this point…

  • Maphead October 8, 2017, 7:56 pm

    The Looming Tower and Girls of Riyadh are both on my list to read.
    The Planets is great.
    I Loved The Monster of Florence. It ended up making my year-end Best Nonfiction List.

    • Kim October 9, 2017, 10:12 am

      I’ve seen Doug Preston’s name pop up a bunch this year, so when I saw that one I knew I needed to grab it!

  • iliana October 9, 2017, 11:36 am

    HPB is a vicious cycle indeed! 🙂 I’ve only been to one of their big clearance sales and unfortunately it wasn’t all that great but I do visit my local HPB stores regularly. So happy to be near two! Enjoy all of your finds.

  • nancy s October 9, 2017, 6:16 pm

    I used to travel to Moon Township, PA for work and discovered Half Price Books! My luggage always returned home a little heavier, and it’s probably a good thing there isn’t a store anywhere near me in NJ. You also found one of my favorites – Stern Men!

  • Allison @ My Novel Life October 11, 2017, 9:41 pm

    I also live in the Twin Cities. How did I not know about this sale?! Looks like you got a good haul.

  • Julie Merilatt October 13, 2017, 2:10 pm

    I can’t wait to see your review of Monster of Florence. I agree with Maphead, it’s awesome. I will be reading a Dava Sobel book for Nonfiction November – Galileo’s Daughter, so I’m curious…

  • Julie @ Smiling Shelves October 14, 2017, 2:10 pm

    What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon! I’m impressed that you came home with only ten. I don’t think I would have done nearly as well! 🙂

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