A Book a Month for 2015

Book A Month CalendarIn last year’s Holiday catalog, Bas Bleu launched our inaugural Book a Month program, which allowed you to treat your favorite bibliophile—or yourself, because you deserve it!—to an eclectic collection of books for bluestockings. At the time, the program was something of an experiment, but our readers loved it so much we’ve brought it back this year! For 2015, we’ve carefully chosen another top-notch mix of fiction and nonfiction, sure to please all kinds of bookworms.  Continue reading

October Book a Month: The Mystery Box

MysteryBoxAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

Our October selection, The Mystery Box, isn’t officially a Halloween choice. But if it causes a few shivers up and down your spine…well, we can’t promise that’s a coincidence! Continue reading

Best Book Characteristics: Cast Your Vote!

They say variety is the spice of life. We say that certainly applies to the bluestocking life! When it comes to books, we’re always on the lookout for something new. And yet we all have our “triggers,” details we take into consideration—sometimes subconsciously—when determining if a novel is worthy of our time and favor. This week as we sort through the towering stacks of review copies perched on (and under and alllllll the way around) our desks in the Bas Bleu editorial office, we thought it would be fun to hear what qualities are most important to you when selecting your next read.

If you can’t choose just one, yes, you can vote multiple times. And rest assured these polls are anonymous, so…be honest!




 

Did we miss something? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Read Women? Oh, We Do!

Once upon a time (well, last January), writer and illustrator Joanna Walsh launched the #ReadWomen2014 hashtag on Twitter. Her purpose was two-fold:

1. to encourage and celebrate reading books written by women, and
2. to draw attention to the dearth of female writers and reviewers represented in the pages of literary journals.

Walsh was inspired, in part, by the sobering numbers produced by the annual VIDA count, an analysis of the gender disparity in literary publications and book reviews. Continue reading

Spring Fever

We’re making a break for it.

We’ve got stacks of books to read for our Summer issue, the Southern sunshine is beckoning us outside into the long-awaited spring, and the plumbers downstairs are making one helluva racket. (Plus our boss is out of town; you won’t tell on us, right?) But just because we’re itching to play hooky doesn’t mean we’re going to leave you high and dry. This week in the Bluestocking Salon we’ve collected several news items from the reading world, teasers for what’s headed your way in the coming weeks, and some advice on spring cleaning those bookshelves.

books with bag

Just a few of the books under consideration for our Summer catalog. (You should see our office shelves!)

Continue reading

Paper, Please

Books Are Better TeeSince opening the doors of the Bluestocking Salon in March, we’ve shared bookish thoughts, literary news items, and more with you, our fellow bibliophiles. You may have noticed, however, our studied avoidance of the elephant in the room, the one with a flat screen and a charging cord. But since we can only dance the waltz around them for so long, today we’re going to talk about e-readers. Continue reading

A Book a Month for 2014

We’ve long believed that books make the best gifts…so we figured there couldn’t be a more perfect present than a whole year full of books! In our Holiday 2013 catalog, we launched our inaugural Book a Month program, which allows you to treat your favorite bibliophile—or yourself (you deserve it!)—to an eclectic collection of books for bluestockings. We’ve carefully chosen a top-notch mix of fiction and nonfiction, sure to please all kinds of bookworms.

Here’s how it works: Continue reading

Q&A: Green 3

Cardinal scarfAt Bas Bleu, while books are our passion, the pages of our catalog also are sprinkled with reading accessories, paper products, and whatever other bookish gifts tickle our bluestockinged fancy. Recently, we’ve added several cozy items from Green 3, a Midwestern apparel and home goods company whose sustainable products are conceived, designed, and manufactured entirely in the United States. Their scarves, blankets, and tees have become fast favorites with Bas Bleu’s customers, so this week we sat down with Green 3 co-owner Jim Martin to learn more about this unique company. Continue reading

Science Says: Books Are Good for You!

As bluestockings, we know full well that reading makes us better people. But now we have scientific proof! Last week, Science magazine published this study by psychologists from The New School for Social Research which found that people who read literary fiction displayed higher levels of empathy, emotional intelligence, and social perception than those who read popular fiction or serious nonfiction.

Researchers Emanuele Costano and David Kidd set out to measure their subjects’ affective and cognitive “Theory of Mind,” defined here as the ability to “understand others’ mental states…enabl[ing] the complex social relationships that characterize human societies.” First, they asked study participants to read samples from award-winning literary fiction (such as Don DeLillo and Louise Erdrich), popular fiction (Danielle Steele and Robert Heinlein), non-fiction articles from Smithsonian Magazine, or nothing at all. Next, they administered tests designed to measure the subjects’ “ability to decode emotions or predict a person’s expectations or beliefs in a particular scenario.”  The results? Those who read literary fiction scored markedly higher than those who read the popular fiction, nonfiction, or nothing at all.

But why? Continue reading