Courtesy of William Shakespeare

Folger Shakespeare by DG Rosetti

Portrait of Shakespeare, ca. 1865 [FPm1 (Bd.w. PR2842 1709 copy 3 Ex.ill.). Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License]

In case you hadn’t heard, last Saturday, April 23, marked the four-hundredth anniversary (also known as the quadricentennial) of William Shakespeare’s death. There was much to-do about it in dramatic, literary, and historical circles, and for good reason: The English language, and humankind itself, owes a great debt to the Bard, whose influence persists more than four centuries after his plays hit the London stage.

The staggering scope of that influence is impossible to chronicle in a single blog post, so we’ll let Sir Ian McKellen—whose Shakespearean roles include Hamlet, Romeo, Macbeth, Richard III, Iago, King Lear, and Coriolanus—sum it up for us. Continue reading

Why Bas Bleu?

6 Reasons to Shop at Bas Bleu

Last week Bas Bleu reached 6,000 followers on Facebook! That may not seem like a big deal when you see how many companies boast hundreds of thousands of followers, but for our little catalog family—whose social-media presence is managed by a small team of editors, not some fancy marketing department—it’s a pretty exciting milestone.

In honor of this red-letter day, and in recognition of the fact that readers have a lot of options for buying books these days, we’ve compiled a list of six reasons why we think Bas Bleu is worthy of your consideration.

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Tournament of Classics 2016: Championship (Updated!)

And we have a winner! After a deadly battle for dominance, Lord Voldemort bested Sauron in this year’s literary battle royale. We’re not entirely sure what this means for the fate of the world (for goodness sake, someone call Harry Potter!), but as always it was a fascinating and fun bookish twist on March Madness. Thanks to everyone who voted in Bas Bleu‘s Tournament of Classics 2016!

Winner 2016

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Tournament of Classics 2016: Final Four

Things have become…dark. But that’s probably par for the course in a battle royale between literature’s most conniving villains! The NCAA’s March Madness may have ended with a  buzzer-beater on Monday night, but Bas Bleu‘s Tournament of Classics is still going strong! We’re down to the Final Four now–and we don’t want to imagine what methods these four foes employed to make it this far in the game. Continue reading

Murder at the Brightwell: Q&A with Ashley Weaver

Murder at the BrightwellAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2016 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!)

We’re “broad-spectrum” mystery fans here at Bas Bleu, equally thrilled by hardboiled whodunits, old-school procedurals, and cozy mysteries. Our April Book a Month selection, Murder at the Brightwell, falls in the latter category: It’s the sparkling debut of amateur sleuth Amory Ames, a charming and sophisticated young woman who finds herself caught up in a murder mystery at a posh resort in 1930s England. Our reviewer was smitten by Amory, as well as by the witty dialogue and myriad plot twists novelist Ashley Weaver wove through the story. This week in the Bluestocking Salon, Ashley talks with us about her literary inspirations, her favorite childhood mysteries, and how Amory chose her writer. Continue reading