Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

Events and Signings

Sat., Sept. 28 Patricia Lockwood (Priestdaddy) and Jillian Weise (Cyborg Detective) at Redux

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

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

Sat., Oct. 5 Kathryn Smith, Gertie

Wed., Oct. 9 Teen Voices Forum with Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson (Return to Love)

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

Sat., Oct. 12 Leigh Handal, Lost Charleston

Thurs., Oct. 17 Witold Rybczynski, Charleston Fancy

Wed., Oct. 23 Dr. Troy Hall, Cohesion Culture

Sat., Oct. 26  Author Luncheon with Karen White, The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street

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

Fri., Nov. 8 – Sat., Nov. 9 YALLFest!

Thurs., Nov. 14 — Deborah Burns, Saturday’s Child

Fri., Nov. 15 — Min Jin Lee, Pachinko

Mon., Nov. 18 Susan Rice, Tough Love

Former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice at Grace Church Cathedral, Mon., Nov. 18, 7 pm

Mon., Nov. 18, 7 pm, Obama Administration National Security Advisor and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice will speak at Grace Church Cathedral (98 Wentworth St.). A collaboration between Grace Church and Mt. Zion AME, this event is an offshoot of their monthly Okra Soup meetings. Ambassador Rice will be in conversation with former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., talking about her new memoir, Tough Love (Simon and Schuster, hb., 544 pp., $30), and then sign books afterwards.

Tough Love is a remarkable, and remarkably candid, story: of the ancestral legacies of Susan Rice’s elders—immigrants on one side and descendants of slaves on the other—and their formidable work as educators, community leaders, and public servants; of the family struggles that shaped her early life in Washington, D.C.; and of the pivotal moments from her dynamic career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy.

Ambassador Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, ranging from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and the East Africa embassy bombings in the late 1990s, to Libya, Syria, a secret channel to Iran, the Ebola epidemic, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years. With unmatched insight and characteristic bluntness, she reveals previously untold stories behind recent national security challenges, including confrontations with Russia and China, the war against ISIS, the struggle to contain the fallout from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, the U.S. response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the surreal transition to the Trump administration.

Mother, wife, scholar, diplomat, and fierce champion of American interests and values, Ambassador Rice powerfully connects the personal and the professional.

Cohension Culture with Dr. Troy Hall, Wed., Oct. 23, 5:30 pm

Join us Wed., Oct. 23, 5:30 pm as author Dr. Troy Hall will be here to to discuss his new book Cohesion Culture (Koelher Books, hb., 160 pp., $24.95).

In Cohesion Culture, Dr. Troy Hall convincingly argues that leaders who are objective, evenhanded, and humbly serve others thereby make an impact. Sixty-three percent of employees are actively searching for a new position. In today’s war for talent, the focus should be on talent retention, not just talent attraction. C-Suite Executives, Company Founders, and Sr. HR Leaders need to develop an organizational culture where employees want to belong. Dr. Troy Hall helps you create a “Best Places To Work” environment, where your employees love to work, and stay to work.

As the Chief Strategy Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, Dr. Troy and his team have built a Cohesion Culture™ where employees have a sense of belonging, feel valued, and make a commitment to organizational success. Dr. Troy uses his book to showcase how and why South Carolina Federal Credit Union has been named a “Best Places To Work” by Glassdoor, the Credit Union Industry, and state of South Carolina. Dr. Troy’s mission is to advise executives on how to build a Cohesion Culture™ with the expressed intent of retaining top talent. When a culture of cohesion is in place, employees experience a sense of belonging, feel valued and align with the commitments of your organization.

Malaya Launch Party with Cinelle Barnes, Tues., Oct. 29, 6 pm

Join us Tues., Oct. 29, 6 pm as Cinelle Barnes will be here to launch her new essay collection Malaya: Essays on Freedom (Little A, hb., 204 pp., $24.95).

Out of a harrowing childhood in the Philippines, Cinelle Barnes emerged triumphant. But as an undocumented teenager living in New York, her journey of self-discovery was just beginning.

Because she couldn’t get a driver’s license or file taxes, Cinelle worked as a cleaning lady and a nanny and took other odd jobs—and learned to look over her shoulder, hoping she wouldn’t get caught. When she falls in love and marries a white man from the South, Cinelle finds herself trying to adjust to the thorny underbelly of “southern hospitality” as a new mother, an immigrant affected by PTSD, and a woman with a brown body in a profoundly white world. From her immigration to the United States, to navigating a broken legal system, to balancing assimilation and a sense of self, Cinelle comes to rely on her resilience and her faith in the human spirit to survive and come of age all over again.

Lyrical, emotionally driven, and told through stories both lived and overheard, Cinelle’s intensely personal, yet universal, exploration of race, class, and identity redefines what it means to be a woman—and an American—in a divided country.

Cinelle Barnes is a memoirist, essayist, and educator from Manila, Philippines, and is the author of Monsoon Mansion: A Memior (Little A, 2018) and Malaya: Essays on Freedom (Little A, 2019), and the editor of a forthcoming anthology of essays about the American South (Hub City Press, 2020). She earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Converse College. Her writing has appeared in Buzzfeed Reader, Catapult, Literary Hub, Hyphen, Panorama: A Journal of Intelligent Travel, and South 85, among others. Her debut was listed as a Best Nonfiction Book of 2018 by Bustle and nominated for the 2018 Reading Women Nonfiction Award. Barnes was a WILLA: Women Writing the American West Awards screener and a 2018-19 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards juror, and is the 2018-19 writer-in-residence at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, where she and her family live.


Lost Charleston with Leigh Jones Handal, Sat., Oct. 12, 2 pm

Join us Sat., Oct. 122 pm as author Leigh Jones Handal will be here to give us a tour of Lost Charleston (Pavilion, pb., 144 pp., $22.50).

From the dawn of the photographic era, Lost Charleston chronicles the markets, mansions, hotels, restaurants, church towers and cherished businesses that time, progress, and fashion have swept aside.

The miracle of Charleston is that despite the very worst that man and nature has thrown at it–from earthquakes to hurricanes, great fires to Civil War bombardment–so much of the city has been preserved. Lost Charleston shows what else could have been on display for tourists to visit had events been otherwise. Using classic archive images, Charleston’s greatest architectural and cultural losses are documented in chronological order from 1861 through to 2018.

Apart from the grand buildings there are also elements of Charleston life that have disappeared over time, many of which will still resonate with the local community. These include beloved local restaurants, annual festivals, the fishing fleet that DuBose Heyward wrote about in his novel Porgy, a famed local football team, trolley cars, and the Piggly Wiggly store. Plus there’s the Jenkins Orphanage Band whose dance moves gave the city its most famous export: The Charleston!

A native South Carolinian, Leigh Jones Handal has been an avid student of Low Country history since she was a Brownie Scout. She is co-editor of the City of Charleston’s official Tour Guide Training Manual and organized Historic Charleston Foundation’s annual spring house-and-garden tours for 13 years, as well as the Preservation Society of Charleston’s Fall home tours. A graduate of the College of Charleston, Leigh has been a licensed tour guide for more than 20 years.

Marianne Williamson event Mon. Sept. 23 RESCHEDULED FOR Wed. Oct. 9

The bookstore event with author and presidential candidate Marianne Williamson for Mon., Sept. 23 has been postponed to Wed., October 9, 11 am, due to the funeral of Emily Clyburn, civil rights activist and wife of Congressman James Clyburn.

Gertie with Kathryn Smith, Sat. Oct. 2, 2 pm

Join us Sat., Oct. 2, 2 pm as Kathryn Smith will be here to sign her new book Gertie: The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre; Heress, Explorer, Socialite, Spy.

Gertie lived a 20th century life full of fun, adventure, derring-do and drama. Read all about her Gilded Age girlhood, explorations on three continents, hijinks on the French Riviera with the Lost Generation, work for the OSS—the original American spy agency—during World War II, and her imprisonment by the Nazis. And that’s less than half the story of this remarkable South Carolinian’s life!

Kathryn Smith is a journalist and writer with a long fascination with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his circle and his times. Her abiding interest in FDR led to her decision to write The Gatekeeper, the first and only biography of Marguerite LeHand, his private secretary, confidant, advisor and friend. Kathryn frequently speaks about Missy, often in character and in period costume. Kathryn’s most recent venture is co-authorship, with Kelly Durham, of the Missy LeHand Mystery novels, beginning with Shirley Temple Is Missing. A second novel, The President’s Birthday Ball Affair, is in the works.


Marianne Williamson 2020 Teen Voices Forum, Wed., Oct. 9, 11 am

Wed., Oct. 9, 11 am the Marianne Williamson 2020 Teen Council presents the MW202o Teen Voices Forum with guest of honor 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson in conversation with Teen Council organizer Mateusz Wojnarowicz. This free event in the Blue Bicycle Courtyard will feature live music and refreshments, followed by a meet-and-greet and booksigning with the candidate in the store from 12:15-1 pm.

In addition to being a candidate for president, Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed lecturer, activist and author of four #1 New York Times bestselling books. She has been one of America’s most well-known public voices for more than three decades. Seven of her twelve published books have been New York Times bestsellers and Marianne has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Good Morning America, and Bill Maher.


REVIEW: City of Beasts by Corrie Wang, Reviewed by Jonathan Sanchez

Just about every aspect of the eighties has come back as retro. (The 2020 Olympics will even have break dancing, which sounds like an idea from one of the zanier Electric Boogaloo characters.) But one major part of life in the Reagan era that hasn’t been rehashed much is the overhanging threat of nuclear war. 

It’s certainly the first thing that comes to mind when my fellow parents stress about their children suffering the trauma of active shooter drills. We had fallout shelters and War Games and The Day After, and “99 Red Balloons.” 

Corrie Wang’s City of Beasts is a terrific, old-school post-nuclear dystopia, the kind we used to see back in the eighties. There’s also catastrophic flooding in a nod to a more current crisis. Global warming sea-level rise has sent refugees to Buffalo NY, and then in the chaos, someone hacked the missile codes, so her story begins after a good-old-fashioned World War III. (Remember that? Back in the Cold War, that extra Roman numeral I was all it took to signify nuclear annihilation and all its radioactive aftermath.)

A few years later and the world — or Buffalo at least —  has divided into two camps, women on one side of the Niagara River and men on the other. When the teenage narrator, Glori, crosses over and encounters the men’s world for the first time, it offers up a whole host of fun possibilities and rifts on male/female relations. The women live in something of a nerdy sorority, kung fu convent, taking turns at chores and training as lethal ninjas (nun-jas?). The men live like slobs — Lord of the Flies with porn and motorcycles. 

But what’s fun about this book is that Corrie isn’t heavy-handed with this dichotomy. The women’s side is a bit boring in its rigorous asceticism, and the men have their charms. To be sure, it is a dystopian world,  twice-ruined, and both times are the fault of men. But Wang clearly has more to say than “girls rule / boys drool.” It’s clear that, for all their faults, Wang actually likes the men. She herself has spent a lot of time in a male-dominated arena — her other gig is as a restauranteur — and Food and Beverage is probably one of the best ways to see men at both their worst and their best, often in one night. 

Corrie may be a Buffalo girl who spent her formative years in Brooklyn, but Charleston is her home now, and she gives her new hometown a shout-out. Glori comes across a group of refugees from the Lowcountry in an abandoned subway. If you need another warning about climate change, how about seeing residents of your town living in subterranean squalor below Buffalo, because they can’t handle the New York / nuclear winter.

I highly recommend City of Beasts. Wang clearly loves her characters, be they ‘beasts’ or ‘fees,” and she’s written a snappy, fresh take on male-female dynamics.

Witold Rybczynski Lecture on Charleston Architecture at the Simons Center for the Arts, Thurs., Oct. 17, 7 pm

Witold Rybczynski
Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City
Lecture with book signing and reception to follow
In partnership with the College of Charleston and Preservation Society of Charleston
Thurs., Oct. 17, 7 pm
Simons Center for the Arts, Room 309
Witold Rybczynski, Emeritus Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of twenty books, including HomeHow Architecture Works, and a prize-winning biography of Frederick Law Olmsted. He has written for the Atlantic, the New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal, and has been architecture critic for Slate. He is the recipient of the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Vincent Scully Prize, and a National Design Award for Design Mind.    

City of Beasts Book Launch with Corrie Wang — Tues., Sept. 17, 5-7 pm at Babas On Cannon

The party of the fall might just be Tues., Sept. 17, 5-7 pm at Babas on Cannon (11 Cannon Street), celebrating the release of Corrie Wang’s new young adult novel City of Beasts (Freeform, hb., 384 pp., $18). There will be drink specials and raffle prizes, including giftcards to Jackrabbit Filly, the restaurant Corrie and and her husband Shuai own.

Can’t make it? Order a signed copy here.

In City of Beasts, fees and beasts live separately. The division of the sexes has kept their world peaceful for seventeen years. Glori Rhodes, like most fees her age, adores her neighborhood’s abandoned Costco, can bench her body weight, and knew twenty-seven beast counterattack moves by the time she was seven. She has never questioned the separation of the sexes or the rules that keep her post-nuclear hometown safe. But when her mother secretly gives birth to a baby beast, Glori grows to love the child and can’t help wondering: What really is the difference between us and them?

When her brother, at the age of five, is snatched in a vicious raid, Glori and her best friend, Su, do the unthinkable–covertly infiltrate the City of Beasts to get him back. What’s meant to be a smash-and-grab job quickly becomes the adventure of a lifetime as the fees team up with a fast-talking, T-shirt cannon-wielding beast named Sway, and Glori starts to see that there’s more to males, and her own history, than she’s been taught. Glori, Sway, and a motley cohort of friends will go to the ends of the earth to find her little brother–and maybe save their divided world while they’re at it.

Corrie Wang owns and operates Jackrabbit Filly, a friendly neighborhood restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. She is passionate about libraries, recycling, and eating all the food everywhere. Her debut novel, The Takedown, received much love from the New York Public Library and YALSA. She and her husband Shuai live in a cozy yellow house with their pups Moose and Olive. You can find out very little about her at or a bit more on Instagram @corrie_wang.