March is Women’s History Month, an occasion to celebrate the important—and too-often overlooked, ignored, or flat-out denied—contributions of the female half of the world’s population. To honor the spirit of our namesake bluestockings, those learned literary women of the eighteenth century, Bas Bleu has long championed books by and about extraordinary women. (If you don’t already know, Bas Bleu was founded by a woman, and our editorial and purchasing departments are staffed entirely by women.) You can find female-centric reads in the pages of our catalogs and on our website year-round, but today we’re highlighting ten titles we think are worth moving to the top of your TBR pile during Women’s History Month. Continue reading
From time to time, Bas Bleu’s editors will share with you some of the books that have had a profound impact on our lives. They won’t necessarily be grand literary classics or hard-hitting political tomes. They will be books that have stayed with us over the years and shaped who we are. If you’d like to share a significant title from your own life, feel free to do so in the comments section below.
I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I first discovered Animalia by Graeme Base in our local library. The book was first published in 1986, so it’s quite possible I stumbled upon it fairly young. What I do remember is checking it out many times and spending hours upon hours engrossed in its oversized pages, often with my siblings or my mom, seeing all that we could discover in the bright, elaborate illustrations. Continue reading
Our February pick for our Mystery Book A Month 2018 is The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka. It’s a twisty mystery featuring Roxane Weary, a PI struggling with the death of her father, a cop killed in the line of duty. Determined to drown her sorrows in whiskey, Roxane begrudgingly takes a case for the sister of a man on death row, hoping to prove his innocence before he’s executed in a few weeks’ time. The investigation turns up more than Roxane bargained for, especially once she discovers a link to a cold case her father had worked on. This week, Kristen was kind enough to answer a few of Bas Bleu’s questions about her writing process, how much of herself she recognizes in the characters she creates, and even gives a demonstration of how to pick a lock! Continue reading
We believe reading books makes everyone more attractive, and books are great icebreakers when you’re longing to strike up a conversation with someone who’s caught your eye. Plus, readers tend to be really smart, empathetic people; who wouldn’t want to meet more of us? In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve put together a list of fourteen pick-up lines designed expressly for literature lovers: some are silly, some are saucy, others are lifted straight from the pages of beloved books. We hope all will make you smile. (And if you see someone browsing through the Bas Bleu catalog on the subway, in the library, or in a coffee shop? You definitely want to meet that person; walk over and say hi!) Continue reading
February is Black History Month, and while the stories of Americans of color deserve reading year-round, this annual observation is a good reminder to make room in our To Be Read piles for a diversity of voices and experiences. Not sure where to begin? We’ve compiled a list of titles by and about black Americans, from the Bas Bleu shelves as well as other sources. Is this list comprehensive? Not by a very, very, very long shot. It’s merely a jumping-off point for bluestockings looking to broaden their literary horizons! Continue reading
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
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!)
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
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
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.