Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

Events and Signings

Mon., Nov. 18 Susan Rice, Tough Love

Fri., Dec. 13 Ran Walker, Daykeeper

Wed., Dec. 18 Steve Palmer, Say Grace

Thurs., Dec. 19 — Bernie Schein, Pat Conroy: Our Lifelong Friendship

Thurs., Jan. 16 Author Luncheon with Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

Sat., Jan. 18 — Brad Taylor, Hunter Killer

Fri., Jan. 24Whole30 founder Melissa Hartwig Urban

Fri., Mar. 27 — Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone


Say Grace with Steve Palmer of Indigo Road, Wed., Dec. 18, 6 pm

Join us Wed., Dec. 18, 6 pm, for the Charleston release party of Say Grace: How the Restaurant Business Saved My Life (ForbesBooks, 184 pp., $25) by Steve Palmer, managing partner of Indigo Road (The Macintosh, Indaco and many more).

The author will talk and sign books, and Katie Daniel of Bar Mash will be on hand serving her award-winning mocktails.

About the Author: After an adolescence filled with addiction, rehabs, half-way houses, and homelessness, and with the help of colleagues, Steve Palmer was able to get sober. He is the managing partner of the Indigo Road Hospitality Group, which employs about a thousand people in 20 restaurants and bars that stretch across four Southern states and Washington, D.C. He is on a quest to help others learn how to be sober in an industry awash with alcohol and drugs.

Palmer has worked in hospitality since he was 13 years old. He has been recognized by The New York Times, NPR, Southern Living, Food & Wine, the James Beard Foundation, and Forbes Small Business Giants for his career as well as his charitable and community efforts. In 2016, Palmer co-founded Ben’s Friends, the food-and-beverage industry support group offering hope, fellowship, and a path forward to industry professionals struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

See the recent New York Times Visionary Series article on Palmer: After Rehab and Loss, A Restaurant Leader Helps His Colleagues

Ran Walker, Portable Black Magic., Fri., Dec. 13, 6 pm

Join us at Blue Bicycle Books, Fri., Dec. 13, 6 pm, for a reading and book signing with 2019 Indie Author of the Year Ran Walker.

Walker is the author of 17 books, most recently Portable Black Magic, a collection of short stories ranging from a writer involved in a love triangle with a ghost to a couple chronicling their adoption process on social media.

His previous books include Daykeeper, a novel following a recent widower through both grief and unexpected joy, and Most of My Heroes Don’t Appear on No Stamps, a collection of poems in an African-American form called the Kwansaba.

About the author: Ran Walker is the winner of the Indie Author Project‘s 2019 National Indie Author of the Year Award, the 2019 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Best Fiction Ebook Award, and the 2018 Virginia Indie Author Project Award for Adult Fiction. He currently works as an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Hampton University and lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.

Bernie Schein and Pat Conroy: Our Lifelong Friendship, Thurs., Dec. 19, 5:30 pm

 Thurs., Dec. 19, 5:30 pm, Bernie Schein will discuss and sign his new memoir, Pat Conroy: Our Lifelong Friendship (Skyhorse, hb., 304 pp, $25.99). Both writers and educators, Schein and Conroy were best friends from the moment they met during a high school pickup basketball game until Pat Conroy’s death in 2016. A love letter and homage, and a way to share the Pat he knew, this book collects Bernie’s cherished memories about the gregarious, welcoming, larger-than-life man who remained his best friend, even during the years they didn’t speak. It offers a trove of insights and anecdotes that will be treasured by Pat Conroy’s many devoted fans.

Bernie Schein was born, bred, and Bar Mitzvahed in Beaufort, South Carolina. He was an educator for forty-five years, many of them in Atlanta. He is the author of three books, including If Holden Caulfield Were in My Classroom and the novel Famous All over Town. He has been published and featured in numerous newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, the Jewish AdvocateAtlanta magazine, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and interviewed on NPR and radio stations across the country. He is now an educational consultant as well as a humorist and raconteur. He and his wife live in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Author Luncheon with Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White, Thurs., Jan. 16, 12 pm

Join us Thurs., Jan. 16, 12 pm for lunch at Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.), as Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White discuss All the Ways We Said Goodbye (William Morrow, hb., 448 pp., $28).

Tickets are $62 for the three-course luncheon plus a signed copy of the book. Get tickets here.

New York Times bestselling authors of The Glass Ocean and The Forgotten Room return with All the Ways We Said Goodbye, a glorious historical adventure that moves from the dark days of two World Wars to the turbulent years of the 1960s, in which three women with bruised hearts find refuge at Paris’ legendary Ritz hotel.

Karen White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street series, The Night the Lights Went OutFlight PatternsThe Sound of GlassA Long Time Gone, and The Time Between, among other novels.

Beatriz Williams is the New York Times bestselling author of Along the Infinite SeaTiny Little ThingThe Secret Life of Violet GrantA Hundred Summers, and Overseas.  She lives with her husband and children in Connecticut.

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of The Lure of the MoonflowerThat Summer, and The Other Daughter, among other novels.

The Road to Healing with Ken Woodley, Thurs., Dec. 5, 5:30 pm

Join us Thurs., Dec. 5, 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.

Saturday’s Child Book Discussion with Deborah Burns, Thurs., Nov. 14, 7 pm

Join us Thurs., Nov. 14, 7 pm as Deborah Burns will be here to discuss her new memoir Saturday’s Child (She Writes Press, pb., 256 pp., $16.95). The talk will be moderated by Anne Janas, a Charleston-based communications strategist and board member at the Gibbes Museum of Art.

An only child, Deborah Burns grew up in prim 1950s America in the shadow of her beautiful, unconventional, rule-breaking mother, Dorothy―a red-haired beauty who looked like Rita Hayworth and skirted norms with a style and flair that made her the darling of men and women alike. Married to the son of a renowned Italian family with ties to the underworld, Dorothy fervently eschewed motherhood and domesticity, turning Deborah over to her spinster aunts to raise while she was the star of a vibrant social life. As a child, Deborah revered her charismatic mother, but Dorothy was a woman full of secrets with a troubled past―a mistress of illusion whose love seemed just out of her daughter’s grasp.

In vivid, lyrical prose, Saturday’s Child tells the story of Deborah’s eccentric upbringing and her quest in midlife, long after her parents’ death, to uncover the truth about her mother and their complex relationship. No longer under the spell of her maternal goddess, but still caught in a wrenching cycle of love and longing, Deborah must finally confront the reality of her mother’s legacy―and finally claim her own.

Deborah Burns is a former Chief Innovation Office and brand leader for ELLEgirl, ELLE Décor, Metropolitan Home, and ELLE Global Marketing. Now a media industry consultant, she helps brands, executives, and professional women reinvent themselves through her expertise, coaching process, and website,, which she founded. Beneath her business leader exterior, however, always beat the heart of a writer, and several years ago she began the creative journey to write Saturday’s Child and tell her mother’s story. She lives on Long Island, New York with her husband and their three children.


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., downtown Charleston. 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., about her new memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For (Simon and Schuster, hb., 544 pp., $30). Booksigning to follow.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information please call Blue Bicycle Books, 843-722-2666.

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 transition to the Trump administration.

“Reading Tough Love is like taking a master class in how to be a powerful woman.  It is also a classic American tale, relatable to anyone who has ever dreamed of success.  I was riveted from the first page of Tough Love to the last.” —Shonda Rhimes

“At the core of Rice’s story, and brilliant career, is a fearless commitment to the truth and an unwavering devotion to the lessons she inherited as the descendant of Jamaican immigrants in Maine and enslaved Africans in South Carolina: to prize education as the path up to the American Dream and to have the confidence to be herself.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Before the talk, the community is invited to join in the monthly “Okra Soup” meal and discussion at 5:30 pm, in Hanahan Hall at Grace, led by Rev. Kylon Middleton of Mt. Zion AME and Rev. Callie Walpole of Grace Cathedral.  This monthly gathering brings individuals of diverse backgrounds around the table for meaningful conversation while enjoying the most soulful of Lowcountry dishes: Okra Soup!







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.