To the London Book Fair and Beyond!

Colin Firth was kind enough to join AG for tea in the Jane Austen Centre’s Regency Tea Room.

Every year, Bas Bleu’s editors travel to book and gift trade shows, meeting with publishers and merchandise vendors to see their latest and greatest offerings, so that we can select the best of the best for our customers. For the past few years, editor AG has attended the annual London Book Fair to check out the British publishing scene…and to do a little sightseeing. This year’s trip turned into a bit of a literary tour! She recently returned from her adventure across the pond and agreed to share some of the highlights with us in the Bluestocking Salon. Continue reading

Tournament of Classics 2017: Lizzie for the Win!

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!

Tournament of Classics 2017: Championship Match

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

April Book a Month: Fauna and Family

As part of Bas Bleu’s 2017 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions, author interviews, or other bonus material about our Bluestocking BAM selection to enrich your reading experience—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

Gerald Durrell is renowned throughout Great Britain for his work as a naturalist, conservationist, and zookeeper. But at Bas Bleu, he’s best known for the Corfu trilogy, a series of humorous memoirs about his childhood on the Greek island of Corfu. The third book in the trilogy, Fauna and Family, is our April Book a Month selection. Today in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re offering a brief biography of Durrell—for those curious to learn just where little Gerry’s Greek adventures led him later in life—along with a short list of discussion questions about Fauna and Family.

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Tournament of Classics 2017: Final Four

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

The Detective’s Daughter: Q&A with Lesley Thomson

In Bas Bleu’s Autumn 2016 edition, we featured Lesley Thomson’s mystery The Detective’s Daughter, which our reviewer hailed as “one of those page-turning, satisfying mysteries that may have you canceling plans in favor of staying in to read.” Our readers snapped it up, so we added the other three installments in the series to our line-up…and you loved those too! Recently, we reached out to the British novelist to find out more about what housekeepers and detectives have in common, how photography aids her writing, and her love of the subway. Continue reading

Tournament of Classics 2017: Elite 8

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

Tournament of Classics 2017

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.)

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Spring Reading List 2017

Spring sprang early in our neck of the woods, and we’re celebrating the best way we know how: with a fresh crop of new books! We think they’re perfectly suited to enjoying outside, surrounded by cheerful daffodils, emerald-green grass, and singing birds. If you’re among Bas Bleu’s readers struggling to dig out from beneath a foot of fresh snow, we hope the books and gifts in our Spring edition (due in mailboxes today) will lift your spirits and tide you over until the new season finally blooms. Continue reading

Women in (Literary) History

Throughout time, women have overcome countless barriers to rise up and make their mark on humanity. March is Women’s History Month, and today is International Women’s Day, and Bas Bleu could think of no better way to celebrate than by recognizing ten of the myriad of women whose writings have impacted the world. Some names are probably familiar, while others may be new to you, but all of these women wrote works that influenced the course of history—literary or otherwise. Continue reading