In Search of the Perfect Man: Jane Austen’s Heroes

Those of us with an affinity for Jane Austen’s novels—the sly wit, the razor-sharp social commentary, the forgiving empire-waist dresses—also have a soft spot for Austen’s leading men. But while these half-dozen gentlemen all share a strong sense of honor and an affinity for bright, independent-minded women, they aren’t interchangeable. So which Austen hero is right for you? 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

Dating Profiles of the Literary Lovelorn: Chapter 2

lady with lettersBack in August, we thought it might be fun to imagine some of our favorite literary characters venturing into the world of online dating. Well, our experiment was such a hit with Bas Bleu’s readers that we’re back at it! After perusing our bookshelves (and sorting through your recommendations), we’ve penned personal ads for eight more of our fictional favorites. Continue reading

August 2015 Book a Month: The Family Fortune

The Family FortuneAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2015 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions, author interviews, or other bonus materials 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!)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen never goes out of style. Thankfully, corsets and dowries are passé, but Austen’s keen eye for social absurdity, the complicated relationships between the sexes, and hearty appreciation for a good joke is timeless. In this month’s Book a Month selection, The Family Fortune, novelist Laurie Horowitz restages Persuasion in post-9/11 Boston, where a bookish young woman (aptly named Jane) struggles to find her path in the wake of regret. Continue reading

28 Lessons We’ve Learned from Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice 1895 edition illustrated by Hugh ThomsonJanuary 28 marks the anniversary of Pride and Prejudice’s publication in 1813, a cultural milestone that almost never was thanks to a dismissive publisher who rejected Jane Austen’s manuscript First Impressions in 1797. Sixteen years later, Thomas Egerton bought the rights to Pride and Prejudice for just £110…and the rest, as they say, is literary history. So today, the twenty-eighth day of January, in honor of P&P’s birthday, Bas Bleu is sharing our list of twenty-eight life lessons we learned from Miss Austen, Lizzie Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and, yes, even Mr. Wickham. Continue reading

Spring Fever

We’re making a break for it.

We’ve got stacks of books to read for our Summer issue, the Southern sunshine is beckoning us outside into the long-awaited spring, and the plumbers downstairs are making one helluva racket. (Plus our boss is out of town; you won’t tell on us, right?) But just because we’re itching to play hooky doesn’t mean we’re going to leave you high and dry. This week in the Bluestocking Salon we’ve collected several news items from the reading world, teasers for what’s headed your way in the coming weeks, and some advice on spring cleaning those bookshelves.

books with bag

Just a few of the books under consideration for our Summer catalog. (You should see our office shelves!)

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A Bookish Halloween

Harold-FamilyOctober is here, ushering in cool, crisp air, shorter days and longer nights, and—perhaps most important—the countdown to Halloween! Whether you’re crafting costumes for kids or decking yourself out to beg candy from charitable strangers, we thought you might appreciate these book-inspired costume suggestions. Most of these ensembles can be made at home for not-so-much money, though several do require some skill with a needle and thread. Continue reading

On Jane

Jane_Austen,_from_A_Memoir_of_Jane_Austen_(1870)

Portrait of Jane Austen, based on a sketch by her sister Cassandra, from A Memoir of Jane Austen by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh.

Jane Austen, the author of six of the wittiest, most enduring, socially astute novels of Western literature, was a quintessential bluestocking. It’s no wonder that Bas Bleu and its literary customers are among her biggest fans. And we’re not alone in our admiration. Jane Austen’s novels are among the most widely read and adapted books in print today, inspiring films, television shows, stage plays, book adaptations, even erotica. 2013 has been a particularly banner year for the author and her legion of fans, thanks to bicentennial celebrations of Pride and Prejudice’s publication. Continue reading