Bas Bleu’s readers and friends regularly ask our editors: Which items from the catalog are your favorites? The question is posed often enough that we thought it was high time to stop saying, “We love them all!” (because we really do) and start making some hard choices. In all honesty, each editor has multiple favorites from every catalog we mail, but for the sake of brevity we limited ourselves to one book and one non-book item each.
First up: Our picks from Bas Bleu’s Winter 2016 edition!
Christie Hall (CH)
Jackson Pollock Puzzle: I adore the ridiculously challenging 1,000-piece Jackson Pollock Puzzle because my husband and I love to work jigsaw puzzles together and he is incredibly—dare I say irritatingly—good at them. It’s nice to slow him down closer to my speed for once!
The Sound of Gravel: I found this memoir to be utterly gripping and extremely moving. I’d often find myself wanting to swoop in and rescue young Ruth…and was so impressed that she persevered through so many unbelievable hardships, broadened her horizons, and saved herself.
Ann Gregory (AG)
Alena: I read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca for the first time a few years ago. What took me so long?! I absolutely loved the spookily atmospheric Gothic novel, so I was excited to see Alena, described as “an inspired restaging of Daphne du Maurier’s classic,” come across my desk. Like Rebecca, this gripping tale of psychological suspense involves a naïve young woman haunted by the ghost of her enigmatic predecessor. But it’s where Rachel Pastan’s work veers from Du Maurier’s—Alena is set in Cape Cod rather than the Cornish Coast, the “Mr. De Winter” character is a gay bon vivant, instead of a romantic interest, and “Manderley” is a contemporary art gallery rather than a grand estate—that the novel shines, offering provocative ruminations on the nature of art, love, and death.
Chef Role Play Set: My daughter received this for her second birthday. As she approaches her fourth birthday, it remains one of her favorite dress-up outfits. Whenever I ask if she wants to help me bake cookies or prepare dinner, she runs to her room and returns in this cute jacket-and-hat set, toting the accessories along. I’m not much of a cook myself, so it’s a delight to have an inquisitive and entertaining little sous-chef by my side. And she absolutely loves the measuring, dumping, stirring, and (especially) the egg-cracking involved! She will often add some fairy wings or a wand to the outfit—perhaps she knows that sometimes Mom could use some magic help in the kitchen!
Katherine Giles (KG)
Sisters in Law: I devoured this dual biography of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the first female justices to serve on the U. S. Supreme Court. Even when I didn’t agree with their politics, I was in awe of their intellect, ambition, fortitude, and sly humor. As a beneficiary of the equal-rights movement they helped advance, I was enraged when reading about the misogyny they faced in a male-dominated profession, impressed by their canny maneuvering…and grateful that pioneers like them worked so hard to make America better for people like me.
Giraffe PJs: As an inveterate homebody, I love pajamas! In fact, my friends tease me about my “pajama collection” whenever we travel together. These adorable giraffe-print pjs keep me comfy and casual while I’m lounging on the sofa, make for a fantastic “uniform” on days I work from home, and fit my short legs well thanks to the roll-and-snap pants. And should the police show up at my door at 3 a.m. searching for my neighbor (yes, that really happened), these pajamas keep me presentable for unexpected guests!