Feeling Thankful

Thanksgiving is less than twenty-four hours away, and whether you’re basting a magnificent bird or tucking in to a convenient take-out meal, this annual celebration of bounty and blessings is always a good opportunity to stop and take stock of all we have to be grateful for.

2017 has been a difficult year in so many respects: Anxiety and fear fueled by global unrest and national political and social upheaval have been exacerbated by devastating hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes. Faced with such challenges, it’s natural to wonder what difference we can make as individuals…or, in Bas Bleu’s case, as booksellers.

But that’s where you, our customers, come in. So many times over the past twenty-three years you’ve sent us letters, emails, even faxes (back in the day!) telling us how much a specific book or gift that you received from us meant to you. You tell us about the books that changed the way you think about the world or that introduced you to a person, place, or time you otherwise would never know. You tell us about the note card that delivered just the right words at just the right time, or the child’s toy that delighted a pair of overwhelmed first-time parents. And you continue to shop with our little company, year after year, even when you have bigger, cheaper options, because you tell us you value the “odd little books” and gifts we find and the shopping experience our catalog provides.

This week, we’re taking a break from the holiday hubbub to tell you just how grateful we are to have such wonderful, supportive customers. We can’t say it often enough: Without you, our “bookseller by post” never would have made it off the ground…let alone survived and thrived for twenty-three years! You remind us every day what a difference a community of kind, thoughtful, book-loving people can make in the lives of individuals and, yes, entire companies.

From our bluestocking family to yours: Happy Thanksgiving!

Jólabókaflóð: Your New Favorite Christmas Tradition

At Bas Bleu, we think books make the best gifts, be they for birthdays, graduations, Christmas, or just because. So when we first learned about Jólabókaflóð, Iceland’s annual Christmas “book flood,” we were delighted…and envious! A nationwide tradition of giving books as gifts to family and friends on December 24? After which everyone spends Christmas Eve sitting around reading? Is it too late to book our flights to Reykjavik?

Jólabókaflóð has its roots in World War II, when wartime restrictions on imported goods severely limited Icelanders’ gift options for the Christmas season. Continue reading

A Special Halloween Celebration…with Books!

Halloween is right around the corner! This week in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re sharing a sweet anecdote from Bas Bleu editor AG that reminds us of the extra magic books can bring to special holidays…especially for the youngest of bookworms!

To say that my husband, Ryan, is into Halloween would be an understatement. Every October at our house involves countless bags of cobwebs, multiple jack-o-lantern carving sessions, new additions to our talking-ghoul collection, the latest trends in spooky lights, and many screams from me due his affinity for “Halloween pranks.” One of our favorite traditions every year is taking out our ever-growing stash of Halloween-themed picture books—including Gus Is a Mexican Ghost, Biscuit’s Halloween, Hallo-Wiener, and not one but two Berenstain Bears titles—for Rocky (age 3), Millie (5), and Ryan (38) to enjoy at bedtime. 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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Literary Leading Men

wooden-hearts

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which is all the urging we need to indulge in a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, and a stack of our favorite literary romances. In the past Bas Bleu‘s editors shared some of our favorite literary couples, unforgettable romantic words from literature, and lessons in love we’ve learned from books. This year, we’re sighing over ten golden-hearted romantic heroes from classic novels. Continue reading

With Thanksgiving

with-thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again, bluestockings! No, we’re not talking about turkey or football or friendly family squabbles over the last slice of pie. (Though those are excellent traditions too.) We’re talking about taking a moment—before the merry mayhem of the Christmas season overtakes us—to sit back and count our blessings.

We thoroughly enjoy our work here at Bas Bleu, but ours is not an easy business. Bookselling has always been more a labor of love than an opportunity for enormous profit, especially as algorithm-driven deep discounters have grown to dominate the industry. That’s why every single day of the year (and twice on Thanksgiving!) we count our lucky stars to have customers like you.

For more than twenty years, you’ve supported our “bookseller by post”—even when you had bigger, cheaper options—because you share our love for interesting, out-of-the-ordinary, occasionally odd little books and gifts. We’re thankful for every purchase, no matter the size, as well as every book recommendation, Reader Review, and handwritten note you send our way. We’re even thankful for your critiques, because they help us improve our products and our service to you.

George Colman wrote, “Praise the bridge that carried you over.” Dear bluestockings, you are the bridge that carries us over. We know 365 days a year just how fortunate we are to have the customers we do, but Thanksgiving seemed like the right time to tell you: Thank you. You’ll never know just how much you—your patronage, your trust, your good humor, and your devotion to good books—mean to all of us at Bas Bleu.

So from our family to yours: Happy Thanksgiving, and happy reading!

 

14 Love Lessons from Literature

Red Love letters

One of the great joys of reading is that it enables us to experience situations and emotions on the safety of the page that we may not have the chance—or the inclination—to experience in life. That’s how so many bluestockings fall in love time and again with fictional characters whose romantic trials stir our souls, touch our hearts…and teach us to live and love more wisely after we’ve closed our books and returned to the real world. In honor of Valentine’s Day on February 14, Bas Bleu’s editors have put together a list of fourteen love lessons that we’ve learned from some of our favorite literary classics. Continue reading

A Brief History of the Advent Calendar

KillingerhausNext Sunday, November 29, marks the beginning of Advent, the four-week period in the Christian calendar leading up to Christmas. Derived from “adventus,” the Latin word for “arrival,” Advent began approximately sixteen hundred years ago as time for Christians to prepare, often by fasting, to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Today many people around the world count down the days to Christmas via specially made Advent calendars. Continue reading

Veterans Day Reading List

veterans-day flagEvery year on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we commemorate the 1918 armistice with Germany that marked the end of World War I. Ninety-seven years later, Veterans Day in the United States is an occasion to celebrate the dedicated service of U.S. military veterans from all conflicts. In honor of the day, Bas Bleu has compiled a list of eleven celebrated works of fiction that capture the experience of war from the perspective of the men (and in one instance, a woman) on the front lines. And to all of our veterans out there: We thank you. Continue reading