The Case for “Hate Reading”

In April, Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review, wrote an opinion piece for that publication, an essay titled, “Why You Should Read Books You Hate.” We encourage you to read the entire thing, but its crux is this: “This is not about reading a book you know is bad, a pleasure in its own right, like an exceptionally dashing villain. It’s about finding a book that affronts you, and staring it down to the last word.” Continue reading

Get Caught Reading!

Guess what? May is Get Caught Reading Month! We suspect most avid readers haven’t truly been “caught” reading surreptitiously since you snuck a flashlight and book under the covers as a child or hid a novel inside your textbook during math class. But for those of us (Bas Bleu editors included!) who never leave home without a book or who feel our day isn’t complete until we’ve tackled a few chapters, Get Caught Reading Month is the perfect excuse to share some of our favorite opportunities for squeezing in a little more reading time. Continue reading

Mother’s Day 2017

They say father knows best, but in our experience it’s mother who is usually right. In honor of Mother’s Day on May 14—and in honor of those women who love us unconditionally and yet won’t hesitate to kick our butts in line long after we’re old enough to know better—we’ve collected words of wisdom from and about some of our favorite literary moms. (Still hunting for that perfect gift for the mother, grandmother, aunt, wife, or other special mom in your life? Bas Bleu can help!)

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May Book a Month : The Improbability of Love Q&A with Hannah Rothschild

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!)

Our May Book a Month selection, The Improbability of Love, is a high-energy romp through London’s art world, a multi-character saga—one of the novel’s narrators is a centuries-old painting with a very high opinion of itself—that is by turns romantic, heartbreaking, and laugh-out-loud funny. Recently, we chatted with novelist Hannah Rothschild about her inspiration, the cultural value of art, and more. Continue reading

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