Spooky Halloween Reads

Scary-Jack-o-LanternTomorrow is All Hallows’ Eve, and since we know your costume is ready, our next order of business is to make sure you have plenty of spine-tingling tales to read while you chow down on candy. So our reviewers put their heads together to scare up a list of the scariest, creepiest novels and stories we’ve ever read. Some are classics, others are former Bas Bleu picks, still others are, hopefully, new to you. 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

A Bookish Halloween

Harold-FamilyOctober is here, ushering in cool, crisp air, shorter days and longer nights, and—perhaps most important—the countdown to Halloween! Whether you’re crafting costumes for kids or decking yourself out to beg candy from charitable strangers, we thought you might appreciate these book-inspired costume suggestions. Most of these ensembles can be made at home for not-so-much money, though several do require some skill with a needle and thread. Continue reading