Two years ago, the “Peace is Always Beautiful” Art Block debuted in the Bas Bleu catalog. We were charmed by the whimsical illustration, the thoughtful quotation, and the wonderfully bookish detail of a canvas backed with book pages. Our readers liked the art block as much as we did, and since then Bas Bleu has partnered with artist Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes on a half-dozen lovely little keepsakes (and an inspired collection of greeting cards set to debut in our Winter 2021 edition next month). Today in the Bluestocking Salon, Michelle took a break from her studio to talk to us about the pros and cons of working with salvaged materials, the shift in focus created by the pandemic, and how she first “met” Bas Bleu. Continue reading
We’ll hazard a guess that, at least once in your life, you’ve fantasized about packing up your life and moving to (what feels like) a different world—an idyllic small town, a bustling metropolis, a remote windswept isle… In J. F. Riordan’s sparkling North of the Tension line series, a writer does just that, moving from Chicago to a sparsely populated island in Door County, Wisconsin. Her ensuing small-town adventures are presented with enormous heart throughout this delightful series. Today in the Bluestocking Salon, Bas Bleu sat down (virtually, no masks required!) with novelist J. F. Riordan to learn more about why she chose Door County as her setting, how opera helped shape her novelist’s voice, and what effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on her writing. Continue reading
A House of Ghosts by W. C. Ryan debuted in Bas Bleu’s Spring Reading Collection: Mysteries, and we’d hoped to interview the novelist several months ago. But then the world went into lockdown, and A House of Ghosts was among the many novels flying off the shelves to entertain readers hunkered down at home. Thankfully, inventory has improved in recent weeks, and this spooky tale is back in stock! The historical mystery about a remote house party in World War I-era England, where secrets simmer and ghosts swarm, kept our reviewer up reading long past her bedtime. Recently (and without giving away any spoilers!), W. C. Ryan spoke to us from his home in England about the popularity of spiritualism during World War I, the authors and experiences that influence his work, and the romantic power of a pack of good books. Continue reading
Two months ago, the COVID-19 crisis arrived on our doorstep. (We much prefer to receive book deliveries, thank you very much!) It’s been a whirlwind experience for Bas Bleu’s staff, just as it has been for most Americans. We’ve received a lot of questions from customers over the last few weeks, asking how is Bas Bleu handling the COVID-19 crisis? We thought we’d answer a few of your most common questions here in the Bluestocking Salon.
Q: Is Bas Bleu still open?
A: Yes! We’re packing and shipping orders five days a week. Continue reading
It’s not unusual for Bas Bleu to receive multiple Reader Reviews or customer recommendations for a single title…but usually these roll in over the course of several years. Last fall, our editors noticed a decidedly steady influx of Reader Reviews for Kim Michele Richardson’s novel The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. One reader even sent us a copy of the book! We took a closer look and were immediately enchanted by the moving fictional tale of Cussy Mary Carter, a young woman born with unusual blue-tinted skin who defies poverty and prejudice to serve her community as a pack horse librarian in rural 1930s Kentucky. Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with the author about the incredible real-life people who inspired her characters, the importance of recognizing overlooked women in history, and the librarian who made a difference in her life. Continue reading
Winter is “show season” for Bas Bleu, when our editors travel to trade shows to source new products for our catalog. Earlier this month, editor KG headed to New York to attend NY Now, the National Stationery Show, and Shoppe Object. Three shows in two days is no mean feat—sensible shoes and a hearty breakfast are key!—but she couldn’t travel all that way without squeezing in a little sightseeing, too. Here are a few highlights from our very own bluestocking in New York: Continue reading
How often do you look to see who published the book you’re reading? If you answered “rarely, if ever,” you’re not alone. Few readers concern themselves with publisher IDs, more focused on the stories and the authors who write them. But book publishers are not all the same, not by a long shot. Bas Bleu works with hundreds of publishers—of all different sizes and both broad and narrow scope. One of our long-running partnerships is with Sourcebooks, which we’ve watched grow into the largest woman-owned publisher in North America. This week, Sourcebooks publisher and founder Dominique Raccah took a break from her busy schedule to talk to us about starting her own company, the importance of publishing women’s stories, and the timeless tales of Georgette Heyer. Continue reading
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
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