Tournament of Classics 2016: Championship (Updated!)

And we have a winner! After a deadly battle for dominance, Lord Voldemort bested Sauron in this year’s literary battle royale. We’re not entirely sure what this means for the fate of the world (for goodness sake, someone call Harry Potter!), but as always it was a fascinating and fun bookish twist on March Madness. Thanks to everyone who voted in Bas Bleu‘s Tournament of Classics 2016!

Winner 2016

Continue reading

Tournament of Classics 2016: Final Four

Things have become…dark. But that’s probably par for the course in a battle royale between literature’s most conniving villains! The NCAA’s March Madness may have ended with a  buzzer-beater on Monday night, but Bas Bleu‘s Tournament of Classics is still going strong! We’re down to the Final Four now–and we don’t want to imagine what methods these four foes employed to make it this far in the game. Continue reading

Tournament of Classics 2016: Elite Eight

We shouldn’t be surprised: Of course literature’s wickedest villains fight dirty! After a fearsome battle that left eight contenders in the dust, a leaner (by half) pool of players has clawed their way into the Elite Eight bracket of Bas Bleu‘s Tournament of Classics 2016. You know the drill: Vote in the polls below to determine who will advance to the Final Four of our literature-themed March Madness!

Continue reading

Tournament of Classics 2016

Every March, as the country goes bracket-crazy for basketball, Bas Bleu celebrates March Madness with our own nail-biting, buzzer-busting, book-based Tournament of Classics! In years past, we’ve concentrated on the books themselves—novels, children’s stories, mysteries and thrillers. But this year, we’re taking the tournament to another level, diving deep into literature to pit our favorite villains against one another in a “big dance” for the ages!

Continue reading

April Book a Month: Hons and Rebels (Also, the Elite 8!)

HonsAndRebelsAs part of our 2014 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!) 

If there is a more fascinating family than the Mitfords in recent history, we have yet to meet them! Our April selection, Hons and Rebels, is the “fabulously true story” of Jessica “Decca” Mitford, the fifth of six aristocratic English sisters whose personal and political scandals during the early- and mid- twentieth century continue to captivate us today. In this “gloriously entertaining” memoir, Decca recounts her unconventional childhood, her elopement with Winston Churchill’s nephew, and their adventures in Spain and the United States. Continue reading

Tournament of Classics 2014

Happy birthday, Bluestocking Salon! You’re one year old today. (They grow up so fast, don’t they?) Some of you may remember we launched this blog in 2013 with Bas Bleu’s Tournament of Classics, a literary take on the NCAA’s annual March Madness extravaganza. The result was a battle royale so intense that, in honor of the Bluestocking Salon’s big 0-1, we decided to play again!

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!)

Continue reading

Welcome to the Bluestocking Salon!

Spring is in full bloom at Bas Bleu, and we’re celebrating by hatching something new: our very own blog!

Inspired by the eighteenth-century literary gatherings hosted by legendary “bas bleu” Elizabeth Montagu, the Bluestocking Salon will take a closer look at some of our favorite titles and authors; offer behind-the-scenes insight into how we select the books and gifts that fill our catalogs; share bookish stories, links, and photos we think might tickle your fancy…in other words, revel in the wonderful world of reading!

To kick things off, we’re celebrating March Madness in true Bas Bleu style, with the Tournament of Classics. Below you’ll find our customized bracket of classic novels. [This post has been updated with the final bracket.]


Final Classics Bracket 2013

It’s up to you to decide which of these Sweet Sixteen titles will advance to the Elite Eight: Just log your picks in this blog’s comments section or cast your votes on our Facebook page. We’ll announce the winners of each round on Facebook and let you know when it’s time to vote again.

Full disclosure: These literary competitors were chosen by popular opinion, not statistics, and we couldn’t possibly include all of the worthy contenders. The only prize is a confirmation of your own good taste…and perhaps a heated book-club discussion or two. And if our bracket inspires you to explore a never-read classic or to revisit an old favorite, all the better!

We hope you’ll return to the blog each week to see more of what we have to offer. In the meantime, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest and Twitter. And, as always, happy reading!