December Book a Month: Christmas Pudding and Pigeon Pie

ChristmasPuddingAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

In a 2011 edition of the Guardian, journalist Rachel Cooke wrote, “I am not going to lie. There are times—they grow more frequent as I get older—when I find that I would much rather read minor Mitford than major Other People. Times like right now, for instance, when the days are too short, and good jokes—or any jokes at all—are in such pitifully short supply.”  Continue reading

November Book a Month: The Horologicon

HorologiconAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

If you’ve already read this month’s Book a Month selection—The Horologicon: A Day’s Jaunt through the Lost Words of the English Language—you know it’s not your typical reference book. So is it any wonder that today’s blog post isn’t your typical Book a Month post? Continue reading

October Book a Month: The Mystery Box

MysteryBoxAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

Our October selection, The Mystery Box, isn’t officially a Halloween choice. But if it causes a few shivers up and down your spine…well, we can’t promise that’s a coincidence! Continue reading

September Book a Month: Still Life

StillLifeAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

Picturesque small town filled with hidden secrets? Check. Thoughtful yet charismatic detective? Check. Rich cast of supporting characters? Double check. We know you bluestockings love a good mystery novel, and September’s feature, Still Life, is one of Bas Bleu’s recent favorites. Continue reading

August Book a Month: Ten Trees and a Truffle Dog

TenTreesAs part of our 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

For our August Book a Month feature we’re taking a different tack than usual. This month’s selection, Ten Trees and a Truffle Dog: Sniffing Out the Perfect Plot in Provence, is the entertaining real-life account of British ex-pats Jamie and Tanya Ivey, who set out to find their own little corner of heaven among the picturesque vistas of Provence. Continue reading

Book a Month: The Summer House

SummerHouseAs part of our 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

As the temperatures start to rise around the country, we thought The Summer House would be an appropriate choice for our July Book a Month selection. An elegant and darkly comic British novel, The Summer House drew in reviewer AG from the beginning. Part of the novel’s appeal is its unusual format: It takes the form of a trilogy of novellas, each one presenting a distinct point of view on the build up to what seems to be a doomed wedding.  Continue reading

June Book a Month: Tigers in Red Weather

Tigers in Red WeatherAs part of our 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint why, exactly, a story hooks a reader and refuses to let her go. That was the case for Bas Bleu reviewer KG when she read our June selection, Tigers in Red Weather. “I read this novel over the course of a single weekend and proceeded to rave about it to anyone who would listen. My mother, my friends at book club, and my editor all responded by excitedly asking ‘What’s it about?’ My response: ‘It’s hard to explain, but it’s amazing!’” Without giving too much away, we can tell you it’s a masterfully written, slow-burning family saga that draws you deeper into its dark heart with every page you turn.  Continue reading

May Book a Month: Fear in the Sunlight

FearinSunlightAs part of our 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

In real life, Josephine Tey, star of our May selection, Fear in the Sunlight, was something of a mystery. Born Elizabeth MacKintosh, she penned plays and novels under the pseudonyms Gordon Daviot and Josephine Tey. Though her work was heralded during her lifetime, little is known about the Scotswoman who, according to novelist Nicola Upson, “was fascinated by identity and who played so successfully with her own.” That fluid relationship with identity is key to this psychological thriller—the fourth in Upson’s mystery series starring Tey—in which Josephine and friends travel to a luxurious Welsh resort for a birthday celebration, only to find themselves rubbing shoulders with filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock…and a diabolical killer. Continue reading

April Book a Month: Hons and Rebels (Also, the Elite 8!)

HonsAndRebelsAs part of our 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!) 

If there is a more fascinating family than the Mitfords in recent history, we have yet to meet them! Our April selection, Hons and Rebels, is the “fabulously true story” of Jessica “Decca” Mitford, the fifth of six aristocratic English sisters whose personal and political scandals during the early- and mid- twentieth century continue to captivate us today. In this “gloriously entertaining” memoir, Decca recounts her unconventional childhood, her elopement with Winston Churchill’s nephew, and their adventures in Spain and the United States. Continue reading

March Book a Month: The Map of Lost Memories

MapofLostMemoriesAs part of our 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

“The one thing to remember about an adventure is that if it turns out the way you expect it to, it has not been an adventure at all.” In our March selection, The Map of Lost Memories, Irene Blum embarks upon the journey of a lifetime after a crushing setback threatens to destroy her dream of becoming America’s first female head museum curator. Debut novelist Kim Fay drew on her own experience living in Vietnam and traveling through China and Cambodia to pen this thrilling tale of adventure, obsession, history, and self-discovery, set against the vivid backdrop of southeast Asia in 1925. Continue reading