Autumn Reading List 2019

open book on autumn leaves

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” Like George Eliot, we love “delicious autumn”…and after this hot, steamy summer, the new season can’t come soon enough! Fortunately, your favorite harbinger of fall—Bas Bleu’s Autumn 2019 edition—is here, filled with wonderful books and literary treats! (Feeling proactive? Take a gander at our Advent calendars and other holiday gifts, too.) Continue reading

From the Bas Bleu Mailbag: 25th Anniversary

We’re celebrating 25 years of Bas Bleu (our catalog was “born” in 1994), and our editors and other staff have been touched by the anniversary messages we’ve received from our readers over the past few months. Snail mail, emails, comments on our Facebook page and on this blog… No matter the format, each and every message means so much to our team. This week, as we prepare to debut our Autumn 2019 edition—including a first glimpse at this year’s Christmas offerings!—we wanted to share a few of the “happy anniversary!” notes that landed in our mailbox. Are we bragging? No. (Well…maybe a little bit, because any company with such amazing customers should brag about them!) Mostly we’re sharing these to let you know that we do, in fact, read and value every bit of customer correspondence that comes our way. Your words always impact us and remind us time and again just how special Bas Bleu’s readers are. Continue reading

National Book Lovers Day Sale

stack of book against blue background with SALE! repeated four times

National Book Lovers Day is right around the corner! (It’s on August 9, for those of you who want to put in a last-minute vacation/reading request.) Plus, Bas Bleu’s Autumn 2019 edition heads to the post office next week, which means truckloads of new books and gifts are arriving into our warehouse every day. How can we help our readers celebrate National Book Lovers Day and clear space for our new merchandise? Offer great prices on books and bookish gifts! Continue reading

Cooking the Books: Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz

Vegetables Illustrated cookbook on wooden butcher block surrounded by fresh veggies

From time to time, Bas Bleu’s editorial staff “samples” recipes from cookbooks and other culinary guides found in our catalog. Our efforts are amateur at best: 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—pressed for time, with non-matching cookware and the tendency to scatter flour everywhere. But we know delicious when we taste it, and if you try your hand at these recipes we think you’ll agree!

Officially, the dog days of summer are right around the corner. But why does it feel like they showed up early??? Stepping outside feels like stepping into an oven, and the last thing we want to do at mealtime is turn on a real oven. So what’s a hungry bluestocking to do? Make gazpacho! Continue reading

Can You Decipher These Book Titles “Written” in Emojis?

The Metamorphosis written in emojis

We’re true-bleu word lovers here at Bas Bleu, but we aren’t above slipping the occasional emoji into a text message or tweet. These digital pictographs first popped up on Japanese mobile phones in the late 1990s—the word “emoji” is derived from the Japanese words for “picture” and “character”—and have gained global popularity over the past decade. In honor of World Emoji Day today, we concocted a little quiz for our readers. Can you identify these twenty book titles “written” in emojis? (Hint: Some are literal interpretations of the titles while others include plot details.) Continue reading

Dear Mrs. Bird: An Interview with AJ Pearce

black and white photo of London during the Blitz overlaid by book cover of Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce

Dear Mrs. Bird, one of the twelve titles chosen by Bas Bleu’s editors for our Summer Reading Collection, initially was pre-selected for our upcoming Book a Month 2020 package. But we couldn’t wait that long to share this sparkling novel with you! Penned by debut novelist AJ Pearce, Dear Mrs. Bird follows Emmy Lake as she chases her dream of becoming a reporter…all the while trying to stay positive (and alive!) in London during the Blitz. This week, we’re chatting with Pearce about the impulse buy that inspired her novel, the crucial role of female friendships in women’s lives, and the importance of optimism even in the worst of times. Continue reading

Summer Poems: 12 Verses for the Season

excerpt from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "The Throstle"

On a hot summer day, we love nothing more than to settle down in a cool corner with an engrossing novel. But while perusing A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year, from Bas Bleu’s Summer 2019 edition, we began thinking about how the intensity of the season—the blanket of heat, the endless symphony of insects, gardens bursting with fresh produce, the long days that somehow add up to much-too-short months—is perhaps best captured in summer poems. Today, as the furnace blast that is July in Georgia engulfs our editorial office in Atlanta, our editors have selected a dozen of our favorite summer poems with which to surrender yourself to the season. (To read each poem in full, click on the title or image.) Continue reading

Classic Novels Set During the Summer

Every season has its own personality, but there’s something about summer—the steamy heat, the long slow days, the interruption of school and work routines, travels away from home—that sets it apart. In literature as in life summer has become synonymous with love, adventure, and self-discovery…and, occasionally, heartache. This week, as the Bas Bleu editors prepare our Autumn 2019 edition (yes, it’s only June!), we’re savoring the season here and now with a list of ten classic novels set during the summer. (By the way: SPOILER ALERT!) Continue reading

Literary Insults

slate-blue zip top pouch illustrated with Shakespearean insults printed in various colors

Our parents always told us: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” It’s an excellent rule of thumb…but it can be very tough to follow when in the midst of an argument. If you can’t bring yourself to always turn the other cheek, why not add a little cheek to your next comeback? Inspired by the Shakespearean Insults Pouch featured in Bas Bleu’s new Summer 2019 edition, we collected fourteen literary insults sure to elevate your next contretemps to, if not a respectable level, at least a bookish one! Continue reading