Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

Events and Signings

Thurs., Aug. 1 Fiona Davis, The Chelsea Girls

Thurs., Aug. 8 Ladson Mills, Abandoned Shipmate

Tues., Aug. 13 Tupelo Hassman, gods with a little g

Thurs., Aug. 29 David Slucki, Sing This at My Funeral

Fri. Aug. 30 Anthony Varallo, The Lines

Fri., Sept. 6 Ken Woodley, The Road to Healing

Tues., Sept. 17 — Corrie Wang, City of Beasts

Tues., Sept. 17 — Jennifer Berry Hawes, Grace Will Lead Us Home

Thurs., Sept. 19 — Terry Hamlin, Building a Better Runner

Fri., Sept. 20 — Colin Egglesfield, The Agile Artist

Wed., Sept. 25 Vincent Musi and Callie Shell at the Charleston Music Hall

Wed., Oct. 2 — Derrick White, Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Fri., Oct. 4 — Peter Zheutlin, The Dog Went Over the Mountain

Fri., Oct. 11 — Nathalie Dupree, Nathalie Dupree’s Favorite Stories and Recipes

Sat., Oct. 26 — Karen White, The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street

Tues., Oct. 29 — Cinelle Barnes, Malaya: Essays on Freedom

The Road to Healing with Ken Woodley, Fri., Sept. 6, 5:30 pm

Join us Fri., Sept 6, 5:30 pm as journalist Ken Woodley will be here to discuss his new book The Road to Healing (NewSouth Books, hb., 224 pp., $28).

Prince Edward County, Virginia closed its public school system in 1959 in “massive resistance” to the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board decision of 1954. The editorial pages of the local family-owned newspaper, The Farmville Herald, led the fight to lock classrooms rather than integrate them. The school system remained closed until the fall of 1964, when the County was forced by federal courts to comply with the school integration ordered by Brown. The vast majority of white children had continued their education in a private, whites-only academy. But more than 2,000 black students were left without a formal education by the five-year closure. Their lives were forever changed.

The Road to Healing: A Civil Rights Reparation Story in Prince Edward County, Virginia is Ken Woodley’s first-person account of the steps taken in recent years to redress the wound. The book’s centerpiece is the 18-month fight to create what legendary civil rights activist Julian Bond told the author would become the first Civil Rights-era reparation in United States history; it was led by Woodley, then editor of The Farmville Herald, still owned by the original family.

Ken Woodley was the editor for twenty-four years of the Farmville Herald in Prince Edward County, Virginia. A licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church, he has published daily spiritual meditations Forward Day By Day. He has also written half a dozen stories for elementary-aged children and is looking for the right publishing home for these. When he’s not writing, volunteering at an after-school program for at-risk children, or reading with his dog Pugsley in his lap, Woodley enjoys listening to half a dozen beautiful notes played slowly on an electric guitar rather than fifty played too fast to appreciate them. And he loves his wife, Kim.

Vincent Musi and Callie Shell at the Charleston Music Hall, Wed., Sept. 25, 7 pm

The Year of the Dogs Live with Vincent J. Musi

Special Guest Callie Shell presenting Hope, Never Fear: A Personal Portrait of the Obamas   

Charleston Music Hall (37 John Street)

Wed., Sept. 25, 7 pm

Get tickets HERE.

Charleston-based photographers Vincent Musi and Callie Shell speak about their life, work, and new books.

As a National Geographic photographer, traveling the world to photograph lions, tigers and bears was a regular day’s work for Vince.  All that changed when his son turned sixteen–he decided to try something different; to spend some quality time at home and open a hometown studio to photograph dogs.

The result is The Year of the Dogs, a book chronicling his work in the studio matched with witty ‘dogographies’ gleaned from his time spent with each subject.

From a Labrador that likes opera to a kleptomaniac miniature golden doodle, and a loveable one-eyed Jack Russell to a farting bulldog, Musi captures the unique character and personality of these everyday dogs with evocative images and a gently comic mash-up of his own life experiences that have captured the hearts of many on his wildly popular Instagram feed.

In 2004 Callie met a first-term Illinois State Senator named Barack Obama. The two struck up a friendship, and she began photographing him for Time Magazine. Her new book Hope, Never Fear presents a unique look behind the curtains following the journey from the Obama’s family home in Chicago to the most powerful house in our nation.

The Lines Release Party with Anthony Varallo, Fri., Aug. 30, 6 pm

Join us Fri., Aug. 30, 6 pm as we celebrate the release of our friend Anthony Varallo’s first novel The Lines (University of Iowa Press, pb., 230 pp., $17).

Set in the summer of 1979, when America was running out of gas, The Lines tells the story of a family of four—the mother, the father, the girl, and the boy—in the first months of a marital separation. Through alternating perspectives, we follow the family as they explore new territory, new living arrangements, and new complications. The mother returns to school. The father moves into an apartment. The girl squares off with her mother, while the boy struggles to make sense of the world. The Lines explores the way we are all tied to one another, and how all experience offers the possibility of love and connection as much as loss and change.

Anthony Varallo is the author of four short story collections: Everyone Was There, winner of the Elixir Press Fiction Award; This Day in History, winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award; Out Loud, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize; and Think of Me and I’ll Know. Currently he is a professor of English at the College of Charleston, where he is also the fiction editor of Crazyhorse.


Sing this at My Funeral with David Slucki, Thurs., Aug. 29, 6 pm

Join us Thurs., Aug. 29, 6 pm as David Slucki, a Jewish Studies professor at the College of Charleston, will be here to discuss his new memoir Sing This at My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons (Wayne State Press, pb., 280 pp., $28).

Sing This at My Funeral tells the story of David’s father Charles and his grandfather Jakub, and the grave legacy that they each passed on. This is a story about the Holocaust and its aftermath, about absence and the scars that never heal, and about fathers and sons and what it means to raise young men.

In Sing This at My Funeral, tragedy follows the Slucki family across the globe: from Jakub’s early childhood in Warsaw, where he witnessed the death of his parents during World War I, to the loss of his family by the hand of the Nazis in April 1942 to his remarriage and relocation in Paris, where after years of bereavement he welcomes the birth of his third son before finally settling in Melbourne, Australia in 1950 in an attempt to get as far away from the ravages of war-torn Europe as he could. Charles (Shmulik in Yiddish) was named both after Jakub’s eldest son and his slain grandfather-a burden he carried through his life, which was one otherwise marked by optimism and adventure. The ghosts of these relatives were a constant in the Slucki home, a small cottage that became the lifeblood of a small community of Jewish immigrants. despite having been shaped by the ghosts of his father’s constantly hovering sorrow. This book interweaves the stories of these men with that of Slucki’s own upbringing, showing how traumatic family histories leave their mark for generations.

Blending the scholarly and literary, David grounds the story of his grandfather and father in the broader context of the twentieth century. Based on thirty years of letters from Jakub to his brother Mendel, on archival materials, and on interviews with family members, this is a unique story and an innovative approach to writing both history and family narrative. Students, scholars, and general readers of memoirs will enjoy this deeply personal reflection on family and grief.

David Slucki is an assistant professor in the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program at the College of Charleston. He is the author of The International Jewish Labor Bund after 1945: Toward a Global History and co-editor of In the Shadows of Memory: The Holocaust and the Third Generation.

Abandoned Shipmate with Ladson Mills, Thurs., Aug. 8, 5:30 pm

Join us Thurs., Aug. 8, 5:30 pm as Ladson F. Mills III will be here to discuss his new book Abandoned Shipmate: The Destruction of Coast Guard Captain Ernie Blanchard (McFarland, pb., 180 pp., $35).

Captain Ernie Blanchard left for work January 10, 1995 a successful officer. Respected by superiors and subordinates, his personal and professional values seemed perfectly aligned with the institution he served, the United States Coast Guard. By day’s end his career was finished.

At a speaking engagement at the Coast Guard Academy, Blanchard’s icebreaker–a series of time-tested corny jokes–was met with silence. Within hours, an investigation was underway into whether his remarks constituted sexual harassment. Several weeks later, threatened with a court-martial, he shot himself.

Here the author investigates Blanchard’s death in the context of the turmoil surrounding the U.S. Armed Forces’ gender inclusion struggles from the 1980s to the present.

Retired Navy Reserve Captain Ladson F. Mills III is a former trustee of the University of the South and Fellow of the Graduate Theological Foundation. He is the former president of the American Study Program of Oxford and a regular contributor to Virtueonline and The Covert Letter. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

gods with a little g Launch Party with Tupelo Hassman, Tues., Aug. 13, 6 pm

Join us Tues., Aug. 13, 6 pm as we celebrate the release of Tupelo Hassman‘s new novel gods with a little g (FSG, hb., 368 pp., $27). We’re still working out the details, but this will be a proper party. There might be live music. There will probably even be a piñata.

The novel starts with Helen Dedleder, unsinkable and wrecked by grief, motherless and aimless and looking for connection, a girl with a gift she doesn’t want to use and a pack of friends who are all just helping each other get by. Watching over them all is Aunt Bev, an outcast like the kids, who runs the barely tolerated Psychic Encounter Shoppe and tries to keep Helen connected to her own psychic talents―a gift passed down from her mother.

Tensions are building, though, in every way. Threats against the Psychic Encounter Shoppe become serious actions. One of the kids gets in trouble, and then another. And Helen can see some things before they happen, but somehow can’t see the most important things happening right in front of her.

Tupelo Hassman’s gods with a little g bursts and splinters with flawed, lovable characters whose haphazard investigations into each others’s hearts will reshape your understanding of trust, how to build a family, and how to make a future you can see.

Tupelo’s debut novel, Girlchild, was the recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Her work has appeared in The Boston GlobeHarper’s BazaarImaginary OklahomaThe Independent, Portland Review, and ZYZZYVA, among other publications. She is the recipient of the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame Silver Pen Award and the Sherwood Anderson Foundation Fiction Award, and is the first American to have won London’s Literary Death Match. She earned her MFA at Columbia University.

The Chelsea Girls Charleston Release Party with Fiona Davis, Thurs., Aug. 1, 5:30 pm

Join us Thurs., Aug. 1, 5:30 pm as bestselling author Fiona Davis will be celebrating the release of her brand-new novel The Chelsea Girls (Dutton, hb., 368 pp., $27).

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel.

Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of The DollhouseThe Address, and The Masterpiece. She lives in New York City and is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and the Columbia Journalism School.

Daniel Brook at Grace Church Cathedral Okra Soup Meeting, Tues., June 25, 5 pm

Tues., June 25, at 5 pm, historian and journalist Daniel Brook will be at Grace Church Cathedral (98 Wentworth St.) to give a talk about his fascinating new book The Accident of Color (W.W. Norton, hb., 336 pp., $28).

Grace Church and Mt. Zion AME host Okra Soup jointly in Hanahan Hall at Grace. Soup will be served and all are welcome. Five dollar donations are requested for dinner.

In The Accident of Color, Daniel Brook journeys to nineteenth-century New Orleans and Charleston and introduces us to cosmopolitan residents who elude the racial categories the rest of America takes for granted. Before the Civil War, these free, openly mixed-race urbanites enjoyed some rights of citizenship and the privileges of wealth and social status. But after Emancipation, as former slaves move to assert their rights, the black-white binary that rules the rest of the nation begins to intrude. During Reconstruction, a movement arises as mixed-race elites make common cause with the formerly enslaved and allies at the fringes of whiteness in a bid to achieve political and social equality for all.

Tragically, the achievements of this movement were ultimately swept away by a violent political backlash and expunged from the history books, culminating in the Jim Crow laws that would legalize segregation for a half century and usher in the binary racial regime that rules us to this day.

The Accident of Color revisits a crucial inflection point in American history. By returning to the birth of our nation’s singularly narrow racial system, which was forged in the crucible of opposition to civil rights, Brook illuminates the origins of the racial lies we live by.

Daniel Brook’s writing has appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, and The Nation. His last book, A History of Future Cities, was longlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize and selected as one of the ten “Favorite Books of 2013” by the Washington Post. Born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, and educated at Yale, Brook lives in New Orleans.

The Minimalist Home Book Talk with Joshua Becker, Tues., July 9, 5:30 pm

Join us Tues., July 9, 5:30 pm as Joshua Becker, editor and founder of Becoming Minimalist, will be here to talk about his new book The Minimalist Home (Waterbrook, hb., 256 pp., $20).

In The Minimalist Home, one of today’s most influential minimalist advocates takes us on a decluttering tour of our own houses and apartments, showing us how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. He both offers practical guidelines for simplifying our lifestyle at home and addresses underlying issues that contribute to over-accumulation in the first place. The purpose is not just to create a more inviting living space. It’s also to turn our life’s HQ–our home–into a launching pad for a more fulfilling and productive life in the world.

Joshua Becker is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author of The Minimalist Home, The More of Less, Clutterfree with Kids and Simplify. He is the founder of Becoming Minimalist, a website dedicated to intentional living visited by over 1 million readers every month with a social media following of over 1.5 million. He is also the Founder of The Hope Effect, a nonprofit organization changing how the world cares for orphans. Currently, he lives in Peoria, AZ with his wife and two young kids.

Running Against the Tide with Captain Lee, Tues., June 4, 6 pm

Join us Tues., June 4, 6 pm as Captain Lee from Bravo’s hit reality show Below Deck will be here to talk about his new memoir Running Against the Tide (Gallery Books, hb., 256 pp., $26).

From the star of Bravo’s hit reality show Below Deck, comes Running Against the Tide, the “Stud of the Sea’s” first-ever memoir recounting his journey from landlocked Saginaw, Michigan to the high seas, where he has spent more than twenty-five years as a superyacht captain.

The cast members of Below Deck are known for their catfights, scheming, personal attacks, and long-held grudges, but what keeps viewers coming back week after week is resident hero Captain Lee, the only cast member to appear in all five seasons.

But you don’t have to be one of Below Deck’s 1.5 million weekly viewers to appreciate Captain Lee’s story, which offers a glimpse behind-the-scenes at the luxury yachting industry and one of Bravo’s biggest franchises. From having to reclaim his drunk captain’s lost papers in the Dominican Republic to unwittingly crewing a drug boat out of Turks and Caicos to navigating the outrageous demands of the super-rich in New York City, Captain Lee’s tales from the high seas run the gamut, proving time and time again why he’s a fan favorite: he’s occasionally profane, he’s often surprising, but he’s never dull and, for the first time, he’s here to tell all.