Q&A with Our Youngest Book Reviewers

Bas Bleu‘s annual Book a Month packages deliver a year’s worth of wonderful reads to your door; simply choose from Bluestocking (a mix of fiction and nonfiction), Life Stories (biographies, memoirs, and histories), or Mysteries (whodunits, thrillers, and cozies). This year, we introduced a fourth package: Young Readers, for budding bibliophiles ages 9-12. To make sure we were choosing books that kids actually want to read, we recruited two young readers from the extended Bas Bleu family. Caroline (age 13) and Eliza (age 11) both contributed reviews to our Young Readers package. Recently, we sat down with them to get their opinions on books, the joy of reading, and life in general. Continue reading

Artist Profile: Alison Gardiner

Illustrator Alison Gardiner enjoys tea and cake on china from her Royal Collection. The limited-edition mugs, plates, and teapot were designed to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

The start of Advent season is just around the corner (December 3!), which means our warehouse elves are busy packing up and shipping out Advent calendars every day. Some of our favorite Advent calendars in recent years have come to us by way of Alison Gardiner, a small family-owned company in southern England. At its heart: namesake illustrator Alison Gardiner, whose vivid and whimsical creations have quickly become Bas Bleu customer favorites. Recently, Alison took a break from the studio to talk to us about her creative journey, the benefits of supporting traditional artisans, and Prince William’s pet spaniel. Continue reading

Girl in Disguise: Q&A with Greer Macallister

Greer Macallister (Photo courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark)

Several years ago, Greer Macallister’s debut novel, The Magician’s Life, was featured in the Bas Bleu catalog. Our reviewer was enchanted by Macallister’s imaginative tale of a famed female illusionist accused of murder, so we jumped at the chance to read her second novel, Girl in Disguise, as soon as an advance copy arrived in our office. Told from the point of view of the first female Pinkerton agent, Macallister’s novel offers a glimpse into what was an unusual trade even for a man—and a virtually unheard of life for a woman. Recently, we were fortunate to chat with the author about her trailblazing heroine, the challenges of making up stories about real people, and her film-adaptation casting dreams. Continue reading

A Bas Bleu Family’s Favorite: Pat the Bunny

When selecting books for the Bas Bleu catalog, our editors’ #1 criteria is “Will our readers like it?” But we also enjoy the opportunity to revisit beloved classics, those books that are cherished by generations of readers, like Dorothy Kunhardt’s 1940 children’s book, Pat the Bunny. This week, editor AG shares her family’s affection for Kunhardt’s interactive classic and the two “sequels” it inspired. Continue reading

Sales Rep Extraordinaire: Q&A with Bianca Miele

Bas Bleu’s readers often ask us: “How do you find all of those wonderful books?” Our answer: With a lot of help from our wonderful sales reps! We work closely with reps from dozens of publishers, big and small, to find the books we think we will be perfect for Bas Bleu. One of our most enduring relationships is with Bianca Miele, Director of Category Sales (Special Retail) at Penguin Random House. Recently, we met up with Bianca at BookExpo in New York, where we discussed changes in the publishing industry, her lifelong love of books, and how she’s sharing that love with her young daughter. Continue reading

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

The Detective’s Daughter: Q&A with Lesley Thomson

In Bas Bleu’s Autumn 2016 edition, we featured Lesley Thomson’s mystery The Detective’s Daughter, which our reviewer hailed as “one of those page-turning, satisfying mysteries that may have you canceling plans in favor of staying in to read.” Our readers snapped it up, so we added the other three installments in the series to our line-up…and you loved those too! Recently, we reached out to the British novelist to find out more about what housekeepers and detectives have in common, how photography aids her writing, and her love of the subway. Continue reading

Letters of Note

One of our very first customers sent us this homemade flag during Bas Bleu's first year of business, "as a reminder of your cheering section, and to keep the flag of literacy flying."

One of our very first customers sent us this homemade flag during Bas Bleu’s first year of business, “as a reminder of your cheering section, and to keep the flag of literacy flying.”

After ten years in our current office, our editorial staff is preparing to move into new, larger digs next month. (We’re bursting at the seams!) In the midst of packing up paper clips, catalog archives, and so many books, we were delighted to rediscover boxes full of archived customer correspondence from Bas Bleu’s earlier days. In the 1990s and early 2000s, before e-mail was as widespread as it is today, many of our customers directed their inquiries, book recommendations, and, occasionally, criticisms to us via snail mail.

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Hissing Cousins: Q&A with Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer

Peys_9781101971628_cvr_all_r1.inddWe’ve published the Bas Bleu catalog for twenty-three years, but we can’t always predict which books will resonate with our readers. (You never fail to surprise us, and we love that about you!) When Hissing Cousins: The Lifelong Rivalry of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth landed on our shelves, we thought it offered a unique perspective on two influential women…which is right up our alley. Yet we were caught off-guard (delightfully so) when Hissing Cousins became a surprise bestseller in our Winter 2017 edition! This week, we’re going behind the scenes of this “compelling and entertaining saga,” reaching out to authors Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer to learn more about why and how they created this fresh take on the complex relationship between the Roosevelt cousins. Continue reading