The Right to Read

CatcherHere at Bas Bleu, a banned-books list is more commonly known as a “to-be-read-immediately” list. Call it a remnant of teenaged rebellion, that phase in which we swiped our mother’s copy of Peyton Place or had our young minds blown by The Catcher in the Rye. Perhaps it’s borne of a democratic aversion to censorship. Or maybe it’s even simpler than that: We read controversial books because they often have the most to teach us. Continue reading

Ex Libris (Or: This Book is Mine, So Hands Off!)

Bookplate_of_Edgar_Rice_BurroughsLongtime Bas Bleu readers have noticed that our catalog offerings over the years occasionally include sets of bookplates and other book-personalizing items (see our From the Library of… Stamp). Decorative paper labels, also known as ex libris, are a stylish way to brand books from your personal library as your own, dramatically increasing the odds of having them returned to your shelves after being lent out to friends. Affixed inside the front cover, contemporary bookplates usually include a pre-printed image, perhaps the words “from the library of” or “ex libris,” and a blank space in which to write the owner’s name.

Recently, this all-star collection compiled by the list-makers over at Buzzfeed got us to thinking: where, exactly, did bookplates originate? We did a little digging, and here’s what we found: Continue reading

Birth of a Bas Bleu Cover

It’s no secret that Georgia-based painter/illustrator/creative wonder Ande Cook is one of our favorite artists: Her vibrant images have graced many a Bas Bleu catalog cover. Most recently, we commissioned her to create a painting for our Spring 2013 issue. The result? A cheerful, whimsical image of a mini-menagerie enjoying the blossoming beauty of the season.

This week in the Bluestocking Salon, Ande guides us through her creative process, providing a step-by-step look into the creation of “The Babysitter.” Continue reading

Stars in Our Eyes

VirginiaWoolfIf, as a kid, you were anything like us, chances are good that you wrote at least one effusive fan letter, a heartfelt missive brimming with admiration for your favorite actor, pop star, baseball player, or Mouseketeer. Now that we’re all grown up, we’re certainly not immune to the occasional celebrity crush. But here at Bas Bleu, writers are the superstars who make us go weak at the knees. Continue reading