The Great Hibernation: An Interview with Tara Dairman

black and white photo of author Tara Dairman

Mystery and adventure blend with kid-friendly political suspense in The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman, a Bas Bleu Young Readers Book A Month 2018 pick. This wonderful novel is set in St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord, a tiny coastal town with some bizarre traditions—like the eating of the sacred bear liver on every Founder’s Day, a practice that, due to a town ordinance, is mandatory for every citizen twelve and older. But when a mysterious slumber falls upon the town, it’s up to twelve-year-old Jean and the rest of St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord’s kids to keep the town running until they can solve the riddle of their parents’ slumber. In our exclusive interview with author Tara Dairman, she talks about why she chose to write for middle-grade readers, how traveling informs her writing, and how learning to cook from a book changed her life. Continue reading

World War I Armistice: A Centenary Reading List

single red poppy in a field of wheat for World War I armistice centenary

In the United States, November 11 is commemorated as Veterans Day, the annual recognition of our nation’s armed-forces veterans. But Veterans Day (named a national holiday in 1954 by President Eisenhower) has its roots in Armistice Day, the anniversary of the armistice signed by the Allies and Germany to end World War I. The signing famously took place at eleven o’clock in the morning, “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice, a solemn remembrance of the war that military historian Gary Sheffield calls “the single event that more than any other can be said to have shaped the world in which we live.” In honor of the World War I armistice centenary this month, we’re spotlighting a selection of Bas Bleu books (and one mug) that tackle the heroism, sacrifice, and brutality of the Great War…and its lasting legacy. Continue reading

Mrs. Houdini: An Interview with Victoria Kelly

Bas Bleu‘s October Book a Month 2018 pick, Mrs. Houdini, is eerie, haunting, melancholy, and magical—just the thing for Halloween! Author Victoria Kelly spins a gorgeous historical novel: In alternating timelines, the story follows a young Bess and Harry Houdini as their romance and careers blossom, and, after Harry’s death, traces Bess’s attempts to find her deceased husband’s promised hidden message from the “other side.” This wonderfully researched and mysterious love story is just the thing for a chilly fall evening! During a recent conversation, Victoria Kelly offered us insight into how poetry feeds her fiction (and vice versa), some fascinating tidbits uncovered during her research process, and more reading suggestions for fans of the Houdinis. Continue reading

13 Halloween Books and Gifts

Halloween is just around the corner! And as much as we enjoy carving pumpkins, stockpiling snack-size candy “for the kids,” and taking laps on our brooms, Bas Bleu’s favorite part of the season is indulging in spooky reads. From ghost stories, twisty mysteries, and tales of murder most foul, our Halloween book stacks cast long shadows, beckoning us out of the sunshine and into moonlit reading chairs. Today in honor of the spook-tacular season, we’ve put together a list of thirteen (of course!) books and gifts that are perfect for your Halloween revelries. Continue reading

Our Book a Month 2019 Picks Are Here!

ribbon-tied set of twelve books comprising the Bas Bleu Book a Month 2019 package

Our Holiday 2018 catalog is arriving in mailboxes any minute now, and among the amazing gifts packed into its pages you’ll find our Book a Month packages for the coming year! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bas Bleu’s Book a Month program, the premise is simple: Treat your favorite bibliophile (who may be you!) to an entire year’s worth of terrific books, shipped either all at once or on a monthly basis throughout 2019. Continue reading

Amplifying Female Voices

October 11 is the International Day of the Girl Child, an event created by the United Nations in 2012 to “highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.” This occasion, combined with recent events in the United States, has us thinking about female voices and how they are reflected and recorded in our culture. In our case, that means thinking about books. Continue reading

Books Recommending Books, Vol. 2

From time to time, fellow bluestockings ask us, “I really liked this book. Do you carry something similar?” So as we prepare to roll out Bas Bleu’s 2019 Book a Month picks (they are so good, y’all), we compiled a list of “books recommending books.” The titles in these pairings aren’t exactly alike: Yes, some have similar plots or subject matter, but others are kindred spirits in terms of character, theme, or mood. We hope you’ll find something new you’ll enjoy! (All of the suggested “try this” titles are available for purchase on our website. Just click on the book cover.) Continue reading

Heart Rending Heart Mending: An Interview with Marylou Kelly Streznewski

heart monitor reading shaped like a heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, responsible for 1 in 4 female deaths each year. The statistics are sobering…yet too rarely talked about among women. But when the book-loving mom of Bas Bleu reviewer CH raved about Marylou Kelly Streznewski’s memoir Heart Rending Heart Mending: Saved by Medical Science, Healed by Ancient Wisdom, Bas Bleu’s all-female editorial staff sat up and took notice. This week in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re talking with the author of this “life-and-death epitome of a must-read” about her experience as a survivor of heart disease and heart surgery, the importance of giving patients a voice, and the healing power of “illness as art.” Continue reading

Write a Bas Bleu Reader Review

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Bas Bleu’s customers are the absolute best, for a multitude of reasons. Among our favorites: Y’all recommend some wonderful books! So wonderful, in fact, that we created our Reader Review program inviting readers to submit your own Bas Bleu-style book reviews. Many of the reviews we’ve  received over the years are for books we’d never heard of; some are for books we were “on the fence” about and a Reader Review cast the deciding vote; others are for books we’ve already carried, but are thrilled to know you loved, too. Continue reading

All Things Cease to Appear: An Interview with Elizabeth Brundage

Some of the Bas Bleu editors’ favorite books are the ones we find the most difficult to write about, and that was certainly the case for our Mysteries Book a Month 2018 pick, All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage. Our reviewer praised the novel as “exquisitely written and genre-defying…as much a powerful character study as it as a thrilling mystery.” Today in the Bluestocking Salon, we caught up with Elizabeth Brundage to learn about how her early career as a screenwriter shaped her as a novelist, the parallels she sees between ghosts and faith, and the importance of being an adventurous reader. Continue reading