The Last Castle: Q&A with Denise Kiernan

Biltmore Estate (by JcPollock)

If you’ve visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and think you know everything there is to know about the magnificent house and those that built it…think again! Denise Kiernan’s The Last Castle, a Bas Bleu Book a Month 2018 selection, offers readers a deeper dive into the fascinating history of the the Vanderbilt family, the brilliant minds that conceived and created Biltmore, and the major events and figures in America’s past that shaped it. Recently, Denise took a break from her writing schedule to share her inspiration, the lessons she’s learned from her writing life, and Biltmore’s role in the preservation of America’s natural resources. Continue reading

Why Read Poetry?

If you, like Bas Bleu’s reviewers, were an English major in college, chances are good you owned at least one poetry anthology the size of a large brick. Some of us still have one, lugging it from dorm to apartment to house as time passed and our personal libraries grew. But how many of us crack it open on a regular basis, poring over the tissue-thin pages to soak up the words of William Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti, Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Rumi, Pablo Neruda, e. e. Cummings, Anne Sexton, and Audre Lorde? And how many of us count World Poetry Day among our favorite holidays? Continue reading

Celebrating Women’s History Month…with Books!

March is Women’s History Month, an occasion to celebrate the important—and too-often overlooked, ignored, or flat-out denied—contributions of the female half of the world’s population. To honor the spirit of our namesake bluestockings, those learned literary women of the eighteenth century, Bas Bleu has long championed books by and about extraordinary women. (If you don’t already know, Bas Bleu was founded by a woman, and our editorial and purchasing departments are staffed entirely by women.) You can find female-centric reads in the pages of our catalogs and on our website year-round, but today we’re highlighting ten titles we think are worth moving to the top of your TBR pile during Women’s History Month. Continue reading