The Red Notebook: Discussion Questions

Red NotebookAs 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!)

Our December Book a Month selection (and the final title in our 2016 series) is The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, a sweet romantic comedy rolled up in a mystery, with a protagonist who would be creepy if he wasn’t so self-aware, and a wonderfully fun cast of supporting characters. Yes, this novel is brief, straightforward, and (some might say) predictable, but that doesn’t take away from the humor and simple pleasure the story brings. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a love story set in Paris! Continue reading

O My America!: Q&A with Sara Wheeler

O My AmericaAs 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!)

In our November Book a Month selection, the exuberant historical narrative O My America!, Sara Wheeler introduces six British women of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who bucked convention and created impressive “second acts” for themselves by packing up and moving to America in their later lives. Our reviewer CH, nearing fifty years old and a “second act” of her own, drew great inspiration from the intrepid trailblazers and their unique experiences in a young and fascinating America. In an exclusive interview with Bas Bleu, author Sara Wheeler offers insights into her spirited multi-biography, discusses modern women she admires, and more. Continue reading

A Dark-Adapted Eye: Discussion Questions

Dark-Adapted Eye

As 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!)

October’s Book a Month selection, A Dark Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine, was printed as an exclusive edition for Bas Bleu! Editor AG explains how this happened:  Continue reading

A View of the Harbour: Discussion Questions

A-View-of-the-HarbourAs 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!)

September’s Book a Month selection, A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor (the esteemed British novelist, not the actress!), is a graceful and amusing portrait of a British seaside town in the 1940s. Like Jane Austen, to whom she is often compared, Taylor writes about the English upper middle class with both evident sympathy and sharp satire. Her beautiful, elegant prose doesn’t shy away from the darker themes of the human experience. Continue reading

The Witches: Discussion Questions

The WitchesAs 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!) 

Our August Book a Month selection, The Witches by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff, is a sprawling, eminently readable plunge into the Salem witch trials that ravaged colonial Massachusetts and continue to haunt American culture today. In this ambitious account, Schiff’s vivid prose and in-depth research combine to create “a cautionary tale of how fear, panic and anxiety can transform a civilized society into a barbaric one.” The author herself, in an interview with BookPage, admitted, “At some point I thought the first line should have been, ‘This is a book about anxiety.’” All that to say: Your book club is going to have a field day with this one. Continue reading

Cassandra at the Wedding: Discussion Questions

Cassandra-at-the-WeddingAs 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!)

Bas Bleu’s July Book a Month selection, Cassandra at the Wedding, is a profoundly insightful and somewhat disturbing coming-of-age narrative couched in a frantic comedy of manners. Editor AG writes, Continue reading

And Then Came Paulette Discussion Questions

And Then Came PauletteAs 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!)

In life we have two families: the one we’re born into and the one we build through friendships. This month’s Book a Month selection—And Then Came Paulette by Barbara Constantine—is a novel about that second kind of family, one that grows around a widower battling loneliness and old age in a small French village. The tale is funny and tender and sometimes sad, but most of all it’s about the importance of human connection, of those we choose to love in spite of (or in some instances, because of) their foibles and eccentricities. We’re warning you now: This novel will make your heart warm along with the June weather!

Continue reading

When Books Went to War: Q&A with Molly Guptill Manning

When Books Went to WarAs 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!)

Every day at Bas Bleu, we celebrate the extraordinary power of books to shape the lives of those who read them. So is it any wonder we fell in love the moment we read our May Book a Month selection, When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II? It’s the fascinating true story of the influence of books on the U.S. armed forces during World War II, and includes an inspiring account of the lengths the American government, local libraries, and private citizens went to provide inspiration, entertainment, and solace to our fighting forces. This week in the Bluestocking Salon, author Molly Guptill Manning explains how she uncovered this heartwarming story, what it teaches us about war that history textbooks can’t, and the novels she fell in love with along the way. 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

The Distant Marvels: Q&A with Chantel Acevedo

As 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!)

Veteran readers know the power of a good story. We allow ourselves to be carried away every time we open a book, yielding our own realities to the events and emotions brewing between the pages. So it’s no wonder Bas Bleu’s March selection, The Distant Marvels, captivated our reviewer from the very beginning, when a gathering storm forces strangers to become allies, and a skilled storyteller is the only one capable of calming their fears during the crisis. Thus unfolds narrator María Sirena’s epic tale of growing up as the daughter of revolutionaries in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Cuba. Recently, author Chantel Acevedo took a break from her teaching schedule at the University of Miami to discuss her novel’s take on the Cuban War for Independence, her family’s storytelling legacy, and her childhood affection for Anne Shirley. Continue reading