Soundtrack for Summer Reading: A Literary Playlist


Summer is just around the corner, and that can only mean one thing: road trip! Of course you’ll need plenty of reading material to keep you company in the car, on the beach, by the lake, or in the hammock. Need help packing your book tote? Bas Bleu has you covered!

But aside from great books (and lots of sunscreen), no summer road trip is complete without good tunes. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a special literary playlist just for you. Continue reading

Exquisite Corpse

May is National Short Story Month, so to celebrate, the Bluestocking Salon is hosting our first-ever game of Exquisite Corpse. For those of you not familiar with this party game, its roots can be traced to the Surrealist movement of early-twentieth-century France, when a group of poets devised it as an exercise in collective creativity. As the story goes, their game began with a single word written on a piece of paper, which was then folded and passed to the next player, who would add his own word (the rules dictated which part of the sentence—noun, verb, adjective, etc.—he was required to submit) without knowing which words preceded it. Allegedly, the inaugural game produced the final sentence, “le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau” or, ”the exquisite corpse will drink the young wine.” Hence the (awesome!) title.

Almost a century later, we thought it would be fun to try Exquisite Corpse as a collaborative story-writing game. Rather than working word by word to build an unseen sentence, we will provide an opening paragraph. It’s up to you, our readers, to add to the narrative thread with a short paragraph of your own.

There are a few rules:

  1. Entries should be no longer than one hundred words.
  2. Expand upon, rather than shut down the previous train of thought. Instead of using your installment to remind us of the laws of physics or the fact that squirrels cannot speak English, show us just how creative you can be!
  3. Don’t try to get in the last word. Your submission should leave the story open for others to contribute.
  4. This is a game. Have fun with it!

Please post your contribution in the comments section below, then check back with us at the end of the month for the complete story.

For those of you who would rather read (or listen to) short stories instead of write them, we’ve got you covered, too.




Let the game begin:

For Ella Stone, the anniversary of her birth was a terrible thing. Not because she feared age or wrinkles or writing stilted thank-you notes for gifts she did not want, but because of the cake. Vanilla, chocolate, carrot; what lay beneath the strokes of frosting mattered not. What mattered was the candle, driven like a stake through the heart of her year and needing only one breath to extinguish all she’d built in the preceding months. She feared that winking candle, its burning ember hot with promise, because every birthday wish Ella Stone had ever made came true.

From Page to Screen: The Great Gatsby

Gatsby_1925_jacketLast week, the fifth film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby hit the big screen. Because we thought our fellow bluestockings might be on the fence about it, one of our reviewers agreed to take one for the Bas Bleu team: After rereading the novel, she headed to the theater to check out the movie and report back to us. Here’s what she had to say:

When I learned that Australian director Baz Luhrmann was tackling The Great Gatsby, I was cautiously optimistic. Luhrmann is known for such flamboyant, candy-colored spectacles as Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge! If anyone can capture the champagne-soaked excesses of the Roaring Twenties, it’s this guy. But would his gleeful lack of subtlety be too much for the beloved American classic, a devastating takedown of American greed and snobbery that clocks in at just over 47,000 words? Continue reading

Mothers Dear and Mommies Dearest

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and to celebrate Bas Bleu’s editors compiled a list of some of fiction’s most memorable moms. Several are noble, others are downright notorious, yet all are legendary in their own right. Check out our picks below, then head to the comments section to tell us about your favorite literary mothers. (WARNING: plot spoilers ahead!) Continue reading

Cooking the Books: Langues-de-Chat

Julias Cats coverCookbooks and other food writings have long been a staple of the Bas Bleu catalog. After all, if there’s one thing we like better than reading, it’s eating! So from time to time in the Bluestocking Salon, we’ll be “sampling” a recipe from one of our recent culinary offerings.

Fair warning: If you’re looking for advanced epicurean know-how or glossy food photography, you’re about to be disappointed. We’re humble home cooks, you see, like (most of) you—eternally pressed for time, with non-matching cookware and the infuriating tendency to scatter flour everywhere. To see how it’s really done, you should ask the experts. But in the meantime, we hope you enjoy our amateur culinary adventures. And if you try out any of these recipes for yourself, please report back to us!

First up: Julia Child’s Recipe for Langues-de-Chat (Cat’s Tongue Cookies), from customer-favorite Julia’s Cats by Patricia Barey and Therese Burson. Continue reading