July Book a Month: The Evening of the Holiday

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!)

First published in 1966, our July Book a Month selection, The Evening of the Holiday, is Shirley Hazzard’s debut novel. Short yet elegant, it follows the love affair between Sophie, an English-Italian woman visiting Tuscany, and Tancredi, an older Italian man separated from his wife and family. Renowned for her evocative language and stunning sense of place, Hazzard offers a sophisticated and incisive portrait of an ill-fated summer love affair.  Continue reading

Listening In: Podcasts and the Oral Storytelling Tradition

Stories these days come in a variety of mediums: print (books, magazines, newspapers), audiobooks, plays, musicals, film and television (live or on demand)… the list goes on and on! But long before cable TV, radio, or Gutenberg’s printing press were invented, humans were telling stories, sharing their history, entertaining one another, and teaching lessons by telling tales. Over time, human progress has changed how we remember and share stories. “Humans have employed technology to hold on to stories for as long as we’ve had speech,” explains storyteller and poet Joseph Bruchac. “Early on we carved shapes into wood or stone to create mnemonic devices…in the north-eastern woodlands of the US we made wampum, shell beads strung in patterns to record events. Now we have books and digital recorders.” And now, with the ubiquity of the Internet, a new form of oral storytelling has hit the scene: podcasts! 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

June Book a Month: The Long-Winded Lady

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 June Book a Month selection, The Long-Winded Lady, is a collection of sketches written primarily for The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” column by Irish immigrant Maeve Brennan. Under the pen name “The Long-Winded Lady,” Brennan deftly captures scenes and vignettes of everyday occurrences in New York City, startling in their clarity, and mundane moments that nonetheless encapsulated the essence of New York City life. Brennan wrote for the column from 1954 until 1981. Continue reading

Summer Reading List 2017

“Sailboat Reader” ©2017 Adam Severin

Summer is here! And with it come hot days, balmy nights, and every excuse we can think of to kick back in the shade with a good book. If you’ve been debating about which books to pack for your beach trip, lake trip, airplane trip, or just the trip to the your back deck, Bas Bleu has you covered. Our new Summer edition (in mailboxes today!) is a first-class ticket to explore the world via books. Continue reading

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