Books are our first love at Bas Bleu, but our longtime readers know we have a soft spot for unique gift items as well. When our buyers spied Merrie Buchsbaum’s handmade Garden Pens—pretty writing instruments made from real flowers—at a trade show last winter, we knew we’d found something special. Roses, hydrangeas, and lavender are blooming now in our summer gardens, but these beautiful pens will keep their beauty year round. Today in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re chatting with artist Merrie Buchsbaum about creating these cool pens and how she earned her hard-won reputation as “the flower lady.” Continue reading
Happy Independence Day, America! To celebrate our nation’s birthday, we’ve selected eighteen quotations from novelists, poets, and other men and women of letters reflecting on freedom, democracy, and independence. Bas Bleu‘s editors are taking today off to commemorate this special occasion with family and friends, but we’ll be back in action on July 5, hard at work on our upcoming Autumn 2018 edition!
Planning a trip to the beach this summer? Bas Bleu has—almost!—everything you need to enjoy a leisurely holiday by the shore. We’ve put together this handy packing list to help you load up your beach bag with the essentials. (You’ll have to bring your own bathing suit and sunscreen, though.) Continue reading
Film and fashion fans know Edith Head as the Academy Award-winning costume designer who dressed Grace Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Hedy Lamarr, and other silver-screen starlets. In Bas Bleu’s June Book a Month 2018 selection, Design for Dying, Edith is still an up-and-comer at Paramount Pictures when she meets Lillian Frost, the narrator of this “effervescent whodunit.” Together, the two women join forces to solve a murder in 1930s Hollywood, in a historical mystery penned by the husband-and-wife team of Rosemarie and Vince Keenan under the pseudonym Renee Patrick. This week in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re chatting with Rosemarie and Vince (referred to collectively as Renee) about the allure of Hollywood, the importance of Edith and Lillian’s friendship, and how they stay married while writing a novel together. Continue reading
Ever since Bas Bleu mailed our first catalog in 1994, readers have asked: “How do you find these wonderful books?” The truth is our editors are always on the lookout for books we think you’d like, perusing magazine and newspaper book reviews, exploring recommendations from friends and customers, browsing local libraries and used bookstores, even skimming authors’ and book lovers’ blogs, Facebook posts, and Twitter threads. One essential resource for us is the publishing industry itself, staffed by passionate bibliophiles who spend their days creating and promoting books. We’re in contact with our publisher sales reps throughout the year, but every spring we get the chance to meet in person at BookExpo. Continue reading
Henry James wrote, “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” We’d have to agree…especially when we get to spend that summer afternoon reading! Bas Bleu’s Summer 2018 edition lands in mailboxes today, and we’ve made it our mission to fill your summer afternoons with delightful literary treats. You’ll find light and cheerful page-turners, enchanting historical fiction, heart-racing thrillers…and those are just the novels! (Be sure to check out our special fiction-only Beach Reading Bundle online; buy all twelve and save 20%!) Continue reading
As bookish kids, Bas Bleu’s editors tackled summer reading with gusto! We were big fans of our public libraries’ summer reading programs, accruing points and vying for prizes as we devoured story after story. Rainy days stuck indoors were often spent working our way through the stacks we carted home from our weekly library trips. We spent hours perched in shady trees or hammocks, immersing ourselves in books. Continue reading
Bas Bleu marketing associate and editor Sarah Madsen (SM) recently released her debut novel, Weaver’s Folly, and we thought it would be fun for those of us who aren’t published novelists to hear a bit about her writing process and how she juggles her creative endeavors with her day job, family responsibilities, and life in general. Continue reading
Selecting The House at Lobster Cove for Bas Bleu’s Book a Month 2018 program was an easy choice: Not only did our reviewer hail the novel as having “the grace, wit, language, and incisive character exploration of Edith Wharton’s work,” but Jane Goodrich’s debut novel features a beautiful letterpress-printed rendering of the titular house on its cover. Goodrich (co-owner of Saturn Press, a greeting card and stationery company whose holiday cards are Bas Bleu favorites) was a teenager when she fell in love with images of Kragsyde, a nineteenth-century Massachusetts shingle-style house, which was torn down in the 1920s. As an adult, she and her husband obtained the plans and spent fifteen years rebuilding the house on an island in Maine. Now she has written this marvelous novel about the unique life of philanthropist George Nixon Black, who commissioned the design and building of the original Kragsyde. Recently, Jane took a break during her long drive home to Maine to graciously answer our questions about rebuilding Kragsyde, the differences between writing novels and writing greeting cards, and the books that shaped her as a reader. Continue reading
England is enjoying a prime spot on the world stage this month, as tourists, journalists, and royal watchers descend upon London for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But for devoted Anglophiles, the island kingdom William Shakespeare hailed as “this royal throne of kings. This scepter’d isle,/This earth of majesty…this precious stone set in the silver sea” holds a special place in our hearts year round. Longtime Bas Bleu readers know our catalog is a rich resource for British books and gifts; we’re inspired by our literary namesakes, the bluestockings, those learned mid-eighteenth-century women (and men) who gathered in the great salons of London for intellectual conversation and witty banter. This week, as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles prepare to play host to the world, we’ve rounded up a selection of some of our most popular England-centric books and gifts, perfect for the Anglophile you know…including you!