Presidential Reading Habits

US Presidential SealAs Barack Obama’s presidency draws to a close this week, the book world is revisiting the literary legacy of the man recently dubbed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “reader in chief.” Over the course of his two terms in office, President Obama’s reading choices have run the gamut, from Colson Whitehead’s National Book Award–winning novel The Underground Railroad and David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize–winning biography John Adams to Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (both Bas Bleu favorites in 2015). Obama awarded national honors to a multitude of authors—including Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Toni Morrison, Rita Dove, Harper Lee, and Tobias Wolff—and launched literary initiatives to make e-books and library cards more readily available for students across America. Continue reading

All In for Hygge!

Photo credit: Don Matter

A crackling fire, a steaming cuppa, a warm blanket, and a good book: It’s all hygge. (Photo credit: Don Matter)

Hygge (hoo-guh) [n. Danish] Coziness; enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Friends. Hugs. Candlelight. A warm fire, a comfy blanket, a steaming mug of tea, and a good book. Wearing pajamas all day. Being kind and indulgent to yourself and others. It’s all hygge.

When we at Bas Bleu first heard of hygge, we were hooked! It has no direct translation in English, but the term encompasses a broad concept of comfort, kindness, and warmth. In Denmark (where hygge originates), the winters are especially challenging, with seventeen hours of darkness and frigid temperatures, so the Danes rely heavily on hygge—and each other!—to get them through those bleak and frozen months. Family and friends are at the heart of the Danish lifestyle, along with lots of candles, pastries, warm clothes, and cozy nooks to keep both home and heart toasty until the spring. Continue reading

Tisha: Discussion Questions

tishaAs 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!)

Happy New Year, bluestockings! With a fresh new year comes a fresh batch of Book a Month features, beginning with discussion questions about our January selection, Tisha. Editor AG recalls:

When one of our lovely customers wrote to recommend Tisha as one of her very favorite books, I was intrigued. I got a copy of the flimsy mass-market version (with a truly dated cover and tiny type) and was immediately transported to the remote Alaskan frontier with the indomitable—and immensely charming—Anne Hobbs as my guide. I can see why the “wonderful true love story of a young teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness” sold millions of copies after it was first published in 1976! I enjoyed the tale so much, Bas Bleu inquired with the publisher about producing our own version of the book—with bigger type, a nicer cover, and in a standard paperback size. We’re delighted to offer it as our first Bluestocking Book a Month selection for 2017, and hope you are as taken with Hobbs’s incredible adventures as we were!

Continue reading