The Women in the Castle: Q&A with Jessica Shattuck

Our January selection for Bas Bleu’s Bluestocking Book a Month 2018 package isn’t for the faint of heart: Jessica Shattuck’s The Women in the Castle not only tackles the desperation of life in Europe immediately following World War II, it does so from the points of view of three non-Jewish German women. The titular characters are virtual strangers when they come together, linked only by a pre-war promise made by one of the women to their husbands, a vow to help the wives and children survive if the men were killed in an attempted coup. Recently, Jessica Shattuck took a break from her national book tour to answer our questions about the importance of studying “ordinary Germans,” building strong connections between disparate characters, and the role of WWII stories in 2018. (We’ve endeavored to avoid spoilers, but proceed with caution!) Continue reading

21 Pride and Prejudice Quotes to Remind You Why You Love Jane Austen

We’ve yet to meet a true-bleu Jane Austen fan whose sole exposure to her canon is Pride and Prejudice, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that Austen’s most famous novel usually tops the list as the most quotable. In honor of Pride and Prejudice’s upcoming 205th birthday (observed by Bas Bleu on January 28, the anniversary of its 1813 publication), we collected twenty-one of our favorite quotations, exchanges, observations, bon mots—even one or two epic burns—from Austen’s literary masterpiece. (Your fave didn’t make the cut? Share it with us in the comments below!)

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From Page to Screen: Daphne Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel

In 2017, a big-screen adaption of Daphne du Maurier’s novel (and Bas Bleu favorite) My Cousin Rachel landed in theaters, with English actress Rachel Weisz making her mark on the role Olivia de Havilland debuted in 1952.  Recently, one of our reviewers volunteered to check out the movie and report back to the rest of the Bas Bleu team. Here’s what she had to say:

I’m not always a fan of seeing movies based on books I’ve enjoyed. While it can be fascinating to see a beloved story reimagined in a different medium, there’s also inevitable disappointment when the filmmaker’s vision doesn’t match my own mental interpretation. But when the 2017 film version of Daphne du Maurier’s 1951 novel My Cousin Rachel came out, I decided to give it shot. Truth be told, by the time I saw the movie it had been a while since I’d read the book, but the irresistibly beguiling character of Rachel and the sense of sinister foreboding that pervaded the novel were memorable, and seemed well-suited for the screen. Continue reading

Marcel’s Letters: Q&A with Carolyn Porter

Carolyn Porter never set out to become a biographer…or a detective! A graphic designer for more than twenty years, she had long entertained the idea of designing her own font. But what she thought would be a small side gig blossomed into a fifteen-year labor of love—and the inspiration for one of our January Book a Month selections, Marcel’s Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man’s Fate—when she stumbled upon a collection of letters written by a Frenchman imprisoned in a German labor camp during World War II. The adventure that unfolded is by turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, resulting in what our reviewer hailed as a “one-of-a-kind memoir.” Today in the Bluestocking Salon, Carolyn chats with us about the emotional legacy of her transcontinental quest to learn Marcel’s story, what it takes to be a type designer, and the importance of handwritten letters in a digital age.  Continue reading

Winter Reading List 2018

Happy new year, bluestockings! Now that the champagne has been drunk and the confetti swept up, you may be wondering how to keep the celebration going as the bluster and chill of January settles in. We have the perfect solution: new books! Bas Bleu‘s Winter 2018 edition lands in mailboxes this week (if you don’t already have yours, you lucky duck), and it’s full of terrific books and gifts guaranteed to keep you occupied throughout the long, cold months. We’ll even deliver your books to you, so you don’t have to venture out into the snow! Today, we’re sharing a dozen of our favorite picks, perfect for hibernating with this winter.

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