Christmas and a new year are just around the corner, which means book reviewers everywhere are releasing their literary “best of” lists for 2018. Bas Bleu‘s annual Editors’ Choice list is a little bit different, because Bas Bleu is a little bit different. For starters, we don’t carry books in our catalog unless we think our readers will love them, value them, and enjoy sharing them with others. Plus, many of our books aren’t recently published titles; we love digging up old favorites or spying those literary gems that fly under the radar.
But though we love all of our books, some do resonate more strongly than others with our staff. Today in the Bluestocking Salon, Bas Bleu’s editors (that’s us, above) are sharing a few of our personal favorites from our 2018 catalogs. These aren’t all of our top picks: We limited each other to two books and one non-book item, for the sake of brevity! Continue reading
Bas Bleu’s December 2018 Book a Month pick, Last Christmas in Paris, is a heartfelt read any month of the year. But with Christmas only days away, and the multi-year commemoration of the World War I centennial drawing to a close, this historical novel by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb is a timely choice for your end-of-year reading. This week in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re talking with the authors about the technicalities of co-writing a novel (while living in different countries!), the importance of addressing PTSD when discussing WWI, and the unique benefits of old-fashioned letter writing. Continue reading
The countdown to Christmas has officially begun! If you’re like us, you vow every year to get a jump-start on your shopping before the craziness of the season sets in. And every year December creeps up more stealthily than ever before. Because you’d probably prefer to spend the holiday season enjoying yourself—decking the halls, baking delicious treats, visiting with friends and family, and (of course) reading—rather than rushing through the mall and sitting in traffic, make Bas Bleu your one-stop shop for everyone on your gift list. Just check out our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide! Continue reading
In the midst of the cooking and the shopping and the party-going and the travel-planning, it can be easy to forget that the holiday season is intended to celebrate gratitude, joy, fellowship, and other non-monetary gifts. At Bas Bleu, we’re not about to dissuade you from holiday shopping—we believe our eclectic selection of books and gifts will make Christmas a little brighter—but we do want to stop for a moment in our Thanksgiving preparations to tell you how grateful we are for you, our readers.
Mystery and adventure blend with kid-friendly political suspense in The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman, a Bas Bleu Young Readers Book A Month 2018 pick. This wonderful novel is set in St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord, a tiny coastal town with some bizarre traditions—like the eating of the sacred bear liver on every Founder’s Day, a practice that, due to a town ordinance, is mandatory for every citizen twelve and older. But when a mysterious slumber falls upon the town, it’s up to twelve-year-old Jean and the rest of St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord’s kids to keep the town running until they can solve the riddle of their parents’ slumber. In our exclusive interview with author Tara Dairman, she talks about why she chose to write for middle-grade readers, how traveling informs her writing, and how learning to cook from a book changed her life. Continue reading
In the United States, November 11 is commemorated as Veterans Day, the annual recognition of our nation’s armed-forces veterans. But Veterans Day (named a national holiday in 1954 by President Eisenhower) has its roots in Armistice Day, the anniversary of the armistice signed by the Allies and Germany to end World War I. The signing famously took place at eleven o’clock in the morning, “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice, a solemn remembrance of the war that military historian Gary Sheffield calls “the single event that more than any other can be said to have shaped the world in which we live.” In honor of the World War I armistice centenary this month, we’re spotlighting a selection of Bas Bleu books (and one mug) that tackle the heroism, sacrifice, and brutality of the Great War…and its lasting legacy. Continue reading
Bas Bleu‘s October Book a Month 2018 pick, Mrs. Houdini, is eerie, haunting, melancholy, and magical—just the thing for Halloween! Author Victoria Kelly spins a gorgeous historical novel: In alternating timelines, the story follows a young Bess and Harry Houdini as their romance and careers blossom, and, after Harry’s death, traces Bess’s attempts to find her deceased husband’s promised hidden message from the “other side.” This wonderfully researched and mysterious love story is just the thing for a chilly fall evening! During a recent conversation, Victoria Kelly offered us insight into how poetry feeds her fiction (and vice versa), some fascinating tidbits uncovered during her research process, and more reading suggestions for fans of the Houdinis. Continue reading
Halloween is just around the corner! And as much as we enjoy carving pumpkins, stockpiling snack-size candy “for the kids,” and taking laps on our brooms, Bas Bleu’s favorite part of the season is indulging in spooky reads. From ghost stories, twisty mysteries, and tales of murder most foul, our Halloween book stacks cast long shadows, beckoning us out of the sunshine and into moonlit reading chairs. Today in honor of the spook-tacular season, we’ve put together a list of thirteen (of course!) books and gifts that are perfect for your Halloween revelries. Continue reading
Our Holiday 2018 catalog is arriving in mailboxes any minute now, and among the amazing gifts packed into its pages you’ll find our Book a Month packages for the coming year! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bas Bleu’s Book a Month program, the premise is simple: Treat your favorite bibliophile (who may be you!) to an entire year’s worth of terrific books, shipped either all at once or on a monthly basis throughout 2019. Continue reading
October 11 is the International Day of the Girl Child, an event created by the United Nations in 2012 to “highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.” This occasion, combined with recent events in the United States, has us thinking about female voices and how they are reflected and recorded in our culture. In our case, that means thinking about books. Continue reading