Our 2018 Book a Month Packages Are Here!

Our Holiday 2017 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 2018. Continue reading

The Books That Shape Us: Wuthering Heights

From time to time, Bas Bleu’s editors will share with you some of the books that have had a profound impact on our lives. They won’t necessarily be grand literary classics or hard-hitting political tomes. They will be books that have stayed with us over the years and shaped who we are. If you’d like to share a significant title from your own life, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

My high school’s English department nurtured a deep love for the classics—Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, William Shakespeare—with an occasional foray into more modern fare—Richard Wright, John Fowles, Virginia Woolf. An avid reader since childhood, I dove readily into most of my school reading assignments, including Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. My friend Beth promptly became obsessed with the stalwart governess and her mercurial boss/suitor, but while I delighted in Jane’s pluck and her taste for the wilder corners of the English countryside (also, a mad wife trapped in the attic? EPIC!), I wasn’t haunted by it the way Beth was.

But then I met Heathcliff. Continue reading

October Book a Month: Whom the Gods Love

As part of Bas Bleu’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!)

Our October 2017 Book a Month selection, Whom the Gods Love by Kate Ross, stars Regency-era dandy Julian Kestrel as an amateur sleuth charged with investigating the murder of a handsome, charming, and successful “golden boy” of Victorian London’s social scene. As the Regency dandy is a familiar figure to fans of historical fiction, we thought you’d be interested in learning more about that fine fellow…and his surprising role in English society and politics. For help, we turned to our friends at Felony & Mayhem, publishers of “the best in intelligent mystery fiction.” Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading

Banned Poetry

This week marks Banned Books Week, the American Library Association’s annual event designed to draw attention to the censorship challenges that some books and authors continue to face even in the twenty-first century. From time-honored classics (Lolita, The Bluest Eye, The Catcher in the Rye, Lady Chatterley’s Lover) to modern young-adult bestsellers (Speak, Two Boys Kissing, Looking for Alaska), novels have born the overwhelming brunt of censorship efforts in this country.

But censors and strict parents aren’t immune to the powerful effects of poetry on impressionable souls. Today on the blog, the Bas Bleu editors are taking a quick look at just a handful of poems that have drawn the ire of school districts, governments, and parents over the years.

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Books Recommending Books

From time to time, fellow bluestockings ask us, “I really liked this book. Do you carry something similar?” So today, as we put the finishing touches on Bas Bleu’s 2018 Book a Month packages (they are so good, y’all), we compiled a list of “books recommending books.” The titles in these pairings aren’t exactly alike: Yes, some have similar plots or subject matter, but others are kindred spirits in terms of character, theme, or mood. We hope you’ll find something new you’ll enjoy! (All of the suggested “try this” titles are available for purchase on our website. Just click on the book cover.)

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September Book a Month: Clementine

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!)

You may think you know everything worth knowing about Winston Churchill. But we suspect you don’t know just how responsible his wife, Clementine Churchill, was for his success—or how fascinating she was in her own right! Our September 2017 Book a Month selection, Clementine by Sonia Purnell, is an absorbing biography of the ambitious, opinionated, always stylish Mrs. Churchill, a clear-eyed portrait of a complex woman too long ignored by history.  Continue reading

If Classic Books Were Pitched By Supermarket Magazines

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

Back to School Reading List 2017

Across the country this month, schoolbuses are rolling through the streets and backpack-laden youngsters are headed back to school. And while we don’t miss the days of cafeteria lunches and mid-term exams, we do find ourselves nostalgic for getting grades just for sitting around reading a book. So in the spirit of back-to-school reading, our editors have chosen a dozen of our favorite books from Bas Bleu’s new Autumn 2017 edition—due in mailboxes this week!—for bibliophiles who read not because the teacher told you to, but because you love it! Continue reading

2018 Book a Month Preview

Editor AG surrounded by a sampling of the books we’re vetting for our 2018 Book a Month packages

The dog days of summer are upon us, ripe with heat, humidity, and the overwhelming urge to do nothing but lie around and read. But while the weather outside may have you thinking about anything but Christmas, inside the Bas Bleu editorial office we’re already deep into preparations for our Holiday edition…and up to our eyeballs in candidates for our 2018 Book a Month packages! Continue reading