’Tis the Season to Order Early

Bas Bleu’s Holiday 2020 edition lands in mailboxes next week, and it is—if we do say so ourselves—very merry and bright! Not only is it filled with wonderful gifts for everyone on your list, it’s also the grand reveal of our 2021 Book a Month selections. We’ll share more about those books next week, but we’d like to offer one recommendation today:

Order early! Continue reading

North of the Tension Line: An Interview with J. F. Riordan

We’ll hazard a guess that, at least once in your life, you’ve fantasized about packing up your life and moving to (what feels like) a different world—an idyllic small town, a bustling metropolis, a remote windswept isle… In J. F. Riordan’s sparkling North of the Tension line series, a writer does just that, moving from Chicago to a sparsely populated island in Door County, Wisconsin. Her ensuing small-town adventures are presented with enormous heart throughout this delightful series. Today in the Bluestocking Salon, Bas Bleu sat down (virtually, no masks required!) with novelist J. F. Riordan to learn more about why she chose Door County as her setting, how opera helped shape her novelist’s voice, and what effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on her writing. Continue reading

Cards for Thinking of You Week

Next week is Thinking of You Week, an event developed to encourage people to send each other cards and handwritten notes. Say what you will about these “made-up holidays,” but there’s no denying that little burst of joy we feel when we open the mailbox and see a hand-addressed envelope peeking out between the store circulars and utility bills. 2020 has been a grueling year on so many fronts, and a little kindness and an extra effort to connect with the people we care about goes a long way. You don’t need a fancy card or a beautifully penned letter to say “thinking of you;” a ragged-edge piece of notebook paper is just as efficient a carrier of well-wishes, handwritten memories, and a “how are you?”. But if you would like to make your snail-mail missive extra-special during Thinking of You Week, Bas Bleu has you covered. Continue reading

Autumn Poems: 12 Verses for the Season

A crisp breeze drifted through our neighborhood last weekend, scouting the path ahead, perhaps, for autumn’s approach. Somehow this summer has seemed both endless and fleeting, and the thought of cooler temperatures, burnished sunlight, and—dare we say it?—long sleeves is at the forefront of our minds on humid afternoons. Though the heat lingers here in Bas Bleu’s hometown of Atlanta, our editors have turned the calendar page to September…and selected a dozen of our favorite autumn poems with which to beckon the new season. (To read each poem in full, click on the title or image.) Continue reading

Autumn Reading List 2020

open book on wooden bench with apples

The mercury may feel stuck at “blazing hot summer,” but Bas Bleu‘s new Autumn 2020 edition is blowing into mailboxes like a cool breeze! Inside you’ll find engrossing new books to refresh your TBR stack, along with wonderful little gifts to captivate your imagination…and to jump-start your holiday shopping. This time we’ve included four Autumn Reading Collections: Novels, Mysteries, Nonfiction, and one collection dedicated to “vintage” Bas Bleu booksellers. To help you create your autumn reading list, our editors have selected fifteen of our favorite picks, including several absorbing reads by authors of color. Continue reading

Celebrating the Nineteenth Amendment

This year marks the centennial of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution’s Nineteenth Amendment, codifying the right to vote for American women. The final battle of the long, hard political war for women’s suffrage was won on August 18, 1920, in Nashville, Tennessee. On that day, the Volunteer State’s all-male House narrowly approved the amendment, thanks in large part to the last-minute defection of twenty-four-year-old Harry Burn, who famously changed his vote upon receipt of a letter from his mother, Febb: “Hurrah and vote for suffrage and don’t keep them in doubt.” Continue reading

Audiobooks: A Story Told

row of books with headphones over them

Audiobooks have been available to readers for nearly a century, since The American Foundation for the Blind began recording books on vinyl records in 1932, followed soon after by the Library of Congress. From cassette tapes to compact discs to digital downloads, audiobooks continue to evolve. Today in the Bluestocking Salon, Bas Bleu editor KG shares her own audiobook experience.

When we’re children, we learn how books work before we actually learn how to read them. We learn not through our eyes but through our ears, listening intently as adults and older siblings read aloud to us. This is how we discover that stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Continue reading

Fresh Summer Picks

An updated version of our Summer 2020 edition landed in mailboxes earlier this week, sprinkled with new books and gifts chosen particularly for “staycationers” and youngsters who may be climbing the walls. It’s been a tough summer all around, and while we know Bas Bleu can’t magically resolve all of the challenges you’re facing, we hope these fresh summer picks will add a little extra sunshine to your day. Continue reading

A House of Ghosts: An Interview with W. C. Ryan

A House of Ghosts by W. C. Ryan debuted in Bas Bleu’s Spring Reading Collection: Mysteries, and we’d hoped to interview the novelist several months ago. But then the world went into lockdown, and A House of Ghosts was among the many novels flying off the shelves to entertain readers hunkered down at home. Thankfully, inventory has improved in recent weeks, and this spooky tale is back in stock! The historical mystery about a remote house party in World War I-era England, where secrets simmer and ghosts swarm, kept our reviewer up reading long past her bedtime. Recently (and without giving away any spoilers!), W. C. Ryan spoke to us from his home in England about the popularity of spiritualism during World War I, the authors and experiences that influence his work, and the romantic power of a pack of good books. Continue reading