Last month, as the COVID-19 pandemic brought much of the world to a grinding halt, the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper ran a story about how self-isolating readers are making the most of the shelter-in-place situation by tackling their literary “bucket lists.” According to the article, British readers are taking the opportunity to finally delve into such formidable tomes as James Joyce’s Ulysses (730 pages), David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (1,079 pages), and Hilary Mantel’s Tudor Trilogy (a cumulative 1,756 pages). Continue reading
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
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
Jane Austen once wrote, “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends.” Since August 5 is National Friendship Day, we thought this week was the perfect occasion to celebrate some of our favorite literary friendships. In honor of this very special day, Bas Bleu’s editors have selected ten of our favorite pairs—and sometimes trios—of kindred spirits from classic literature. Check out our list (beware spoilers!) then tell us about your favorite literary friendships in the comments section below. Continue reading
If you’ve ever stood in a grocery-store checkout line, you’ve read the absurd, often conflicting blurbs on the magazine covers displayed there—“10 Easiest Weight-Loss Tricks” is inevitably paired with “5 Reasons This Chocolate Cake Will Change Your Life” and “16 Top Tips for Landing Mr. Right” paired with “6 Signs You’re Better Off Single.” During a recent shopping trip, the Bas Bleu editors got to thinking: What headlines would such a magazine pair with classic books, to lure in readers? Continue reading
And we have a winner! It was a close fight, but our bookish battle royale could have only one victor: Miss Elizabeth Bennet! Carried to victory by your votes (and your affection for Jane Austen), our beloved Lizzie proved once again “there is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” More than two hundred years after she was introduced to the world, Lizzie continues to inspire, enchant, and amuse. Thanks to everyone who voted during this year’s Bas Bleu Tournament of Classics. Though Lizzie won the day, all of our competitors are winners in the hearts of readers the world over, for whom they have provided solace, guidance, entertainment, and more, all from the pages of classic novels. Happy reading, bluestockings!
In the beginning, there were sixteen. Now, there are two. Two fiercely independent, strongly opinionated, keen-minded women who refused to settle for second-best, even when their choices exposed them to criticism and derision from society. Elizabeth Bennet and Jo March have been heralded by generations of readers, admired by millions who read Pride and Prejudice and Little Women until the pages were worn and the spines cracked. Both have earned permanent places in our hearts…but only one can claim the crown in Bas Bleu‘s Tournament of Classics 2017. Cast your vote! Continue reading
And then there were four.
We’re down to the semifinal round in Bas Bleu‘s Tournament of Classics 2017. Lively Miss Bennet, she of the “fine eyes,” triumphed over the cunning Scarlett (who swore to fight on, but another day). Plucky Anne Shirley and precocious Scout Finch claimed twin victories over Hester Prynne and Jane Eyre. Jo March’s battle to the wits with Miss Marple was a tough one…ceded only, we suspect, because there was a murder in St. Mary Mead requiring the attention of England’s top sleuth. Continue reading
Wow! After five days of fierce literary debate (nearly 1,000 votes from avid readers), eight competitors still stand in this year’s Tournament of Classics. All are giants of the book world and beloved role models for many a bluestocking…but only one will be crowned champion of Bas Bleu’s literature-themed March MadnessTM. You know the drill: Vote in the polls below to determine who will advance to the Final Four! Continue reading
For those readers new to the Bluestocking Salon, Bas Bleu’s Tournament of Classics is our annual tribute to college basketball’s March Madness™, in which we pit literary classics against one another in a “big dance” to victory. In years past, your favorite classic novels, children’s stories, mysteries/thrillers, and literary villains jockeyed for the grand prize. This year, the tournament belongs to the women, as sixteen beloved and unforgettable literary heroines face off. (Click on bracket to enlarge.)