March Book a Month: Laura

lauraAs 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 March Bluestocking Book a Month selection comes with an extra assignment: After you’ve read Vera Caspary’s 1942 novel Laura, watch (or re-watch!) Otto Preminger’s Academy Award–winning 1944 movie adaptation of the same name. Then, take a look at editor AG’s reflections on the book versus the film! (WARNING: Spoilers ahead!) Continue reading

From Page to Screen: Lady Susan, or Love & Friendship

love-friendship-posterLast month, the big-screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan landed in theaters, under the title Love & Friendship. Just in case our fellow bluestockings might be on the fence about it, one of our reviewers volunteered to check out the movie and report back to the rest of the Bas Bleu team. Here’s what she had to say:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a reader in search of Jane Austen must be in want of a copy of Pride and Prejudice. While Persuasion is my favorite of Austen’s novels, like so many bluestockings my exposure to the great author’s canon has been largely limited to her long-form works. It wasn’t until I came to Bas Bleu that I was introduced to Austen’s youthful writings. (Her History of England is a precocious and comical must!) And it wasn’t until I heard about Whit Stillman’s film adaptation of Austen’s short epistolary novel Lady Susan that I finally sat down and read the source material. Continue reading

From Page to Screen: Bookish Films for 2016

BennetSisters PPZ

On February 28, Hollywood’s glitterati will gather at the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony to find out who will go home with Oscar. Among the films up for major awards, seven are adapted from books, including five of the eight nominees for Best Picture. A cynic may chalk this up to a lack of imagination on the part of movie execs, but more optimistic bluestockings attribute it to a truth—we hope—is universally acknowledged: that literature’s long legacy of entertaining us with compelling stories and complex characters continues.

Here at Bas Bleu, we’re the first to argue that the book is (usually) better than the movie. But that doesn’t prevent us from enjoying a good literary film adaptation! In case you agree, we’ve put together a quick list of just a few of the books coming to a theater near you in 2016. Continue reading

An Open Letter to Masterpiece

Masterpiece-pbsDear Rebecca Eaton, Executive Producer of Masterpiece:

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are the editorial staff at Bas Bleu—bookseller-by-post, the friendly neighborhood bookstore in your mailbox—who’ve made books our business for more than twenty years. We’re lucky enough to read for a living and to have the chance to share some of our favorite stories with our fellow readers. But if there’s one thing we bluestockings have in common besides our love of a good book, it’s our deep affection for Masterpiece. Continue reading

From Page to Screen: Bookish Films Coming to a Theater Near You

Before I Go To Sleep Film PosterIt may seem as though every movie hitting the silver screen lately is based on a comic book, but novels and other books are better represented in Hollywood than you may realize. Once upon a time, studio heads in LaLa Land hired the likes of William Faulkner, Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ray Bradbury to pen scripts for them. Nowadays, book publishing deals often include brokering film rights, leading to that seemingly ubiquitous line in movie credits and film posters: “Based on the book by…”  Continue reading

From Page to Screen: 10 Book-to-Film Adaptations

To Kill a Mockingbird Movie PosterLet’s be clear: At Bas Bleu, when given the choice, we will always choose the book over the movie. There’s simply more space on the page than the screen for characters and storylines to develop. But just because we’re predisposed to love the source material doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a good film adaptation when it comes around. And since hiding out in a cool movie theater is one of the best ways to beat the summer heat, we decided to share this list of some of our favorite book-based films. 

To Kill a Mockingbird
This classic film from 1962 has stood the test of time nearly as well as the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on which it was based. Released just two years after Harper Lee’s groundbreaking book about racism and morality first landed on shelves, the film boasts a screenplay by Horton Foote, a score by Elmer Bernstein, and career-defining performances from Robert Duvall and Gregory Peck, who won an Academy Award—and America’s collective heart—for his iconic portrayal of Atticus Finch. Continue reading

From Page to Screen: The Great Gatsby

Gatsby_1925_jacketLast week, the fifth film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby hit the big screen. Because we thought our fellow bluestockings might be on the fence about it, one of our reviewers agreed to take one for the Bas Bleu team: After rereading the novel, she headed to the theater to check out the movie and report back to us. Here’s what she had to say:

When I learned that Australian director Baz Luhrmann was tackling The Great Gatsby, I was cautiously optimistic. Luhrmann is known for such flamboyant, candy-colored spectacles as Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge! If anyone can capture the champagne-soaked excesses of the Roaring Twenties, it’s this guy. But would his gleeful lack of subtlety be too much for the beloved American classic, a devastating takedown of American greed and snobbery that clocks in at just over 47,000 words? Continue reading