Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

Secrets of the Southern Table with Virginia Willis, Fri., June 22 6 pm

Join us Fri., June 22, 6 pm as chef Virginia Willis, winner of a James Beard Award, will be here to discuss her new cookbook Secrets of the Southern Table (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, pb., 336 pp., $30).

In Secrets of the Southern Table, award-winning chef and cookbook author Virginia Willis takes you on a tour of today’s South—a region rich in history and cultural diversity. With her signature charm and wit, Virginia shares many well-known Southern recipes like Pimento Cheese Tomato Herb Pie and “Cathead” Biscuits, but also some surprising revelations drawn from the area’s many global influences, like Catfish Tacos with Avocado Crema, Mississippi-Style Char Siu Pork Tenderloin, and Greek Okra and Tomatoes. In addition to the recipes, Virginia profiles some of the diverse chefs, farmers, and other culinary influencers who are shaping contemporary Southern cuisine. Together, these stories and the delicious recipes that accompany them celebrate the rich and ever-evolving heritage of Southern cooking.

A popular Southern food authority and writer, Virginia is the author of six cookbooks, including the James Beard Award-winning Lighten Up, Y’all. She’s an editor-at-large for Southern Living and writes the regular column “Cooking with Virginia” for, focusing on fresh and seasonal food. She has also been featured in Country LivingHouse Beautiful, and USA Today. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


Perfect Day with Cokie Berenyi, Wed., June 20, 5:30 pm — CANCELLED

Join us Wed., June 20, 5:30 pm as Charleston local Cokie Berenyi, the founder and CEO of Alphavest, will be here to discuss her new book Perfect Day (Morgan James Publishing, pb., 214 pp., $17).

From work with her clients over the past decade as a financial advisor, Cokie Berenyi has developed a system that is the surefire cure to Lifestyle Deficit Disorder. Her simple-to-follow plan outlined in Perfect Day provides the framework you need to create more Perfect Days. In warm, accessible language and engaging anecdotes, Cokie Berenyi takes you on a journey of self-actualization, helping you design your Perfect Day Pyramid, uncover and avoid your “wobble” and build a life-centered business, not a business-centered life.

Perfect Days are not hard–let Cokie teach you how to craft and simply execute more Perfect Days.

Cokie Berenyi has been in financial services and serving the needs of individual and institutional clients and entrepreneurs since 1996. Founder of Alphavest, an industry pioneer that is right-sizing Wall Street one client at a time, Cokie inspires investors and entrepreneurs at-large with her vision and storytelling of her many experiences leading clients through the financial and work-life-balance maze. Author of the Liberated Investor (, a 40 under 40 recipient and Woman CEO of the Year 2012, Cokie is currently climbing the 7 Summits of the world and beat Stephen Colbert in the Charleston to Bermuda race in 2011.

Author Luncheon with Rick Bragg, The Best Cook in the World, Mon., June 25, 12 pm

Join us Mon., June 25, 12 pm for lunch at Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.), as Rick Bragg discusses and signs his new book The Best Cook in the World (Deckle Edge, hb., 512 pp., $29). Tickets are $62 for the three-course luncheon and a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

About the book: Margaret Bragg does not own a single cookbook. She measures in “dabs” and “smidgens” and “tads” and “you know, hon, just some.” But she can tell you the secrets to perfect mashed potatoes, corn pudding, redeye gravy, pinto beans and hambone, stewed cabbage, short ribs, chicken and dressing, biscuits and butter rolls. Many of her recipes, recorded here for the first time, pre-date the Civil War, handed down skillet by skillet, from one generation of Braggs to the next. In The Best Cook in the World, Rick Bragg finally preserves his heritage by telling the stories that framed his mother’s cooking and education, from childhood into old age. Because good food always has a good story, and a recipe, writes Bragg, is a story like anything else.

About the author: Rick Bragg is the author of seven books, including the best-selling All Over but the Shoutin’ and Ava’s Man. He is also a regular contributor to Garden & Gun magazine. He lives in Alabama.

Bring It! Book Launch Party with Ali Rosen, Sat., June 16, 12 pm

Join us Sat., June 16, 12 pm as we throw the local launch party for Ali Rosen‘s new cookbook Bring It! (Running Press, hp., 240 pp., $25).

The word “potluck” may inspire memories of church dinners and mystery covered dishes. But today’s potlucks are essentially outsourced dinner parties, which make gathering around a shared table a cinch. Inside Bring It!, you will find dozens of impressive-looking recipes that come together easily, and are perfect for carrying to any occasion.

Each of Ali’s recipe includes a note called “How to Bring It,” for make-ahead, reheating, and transport instructions. Flavors are designed for maximum impact, but won’t take hours to cook, or require special ingredients. Have dinner with the neighbors, sit down to a picnic in the park, or bring a dish to the school luncheon. They come together easily, hold well, and travel beautifully. They’ll have you rethinking the potluck.

Ali is the founder and host of Potluck with Ali Rosen, a television show and website dedicated to sharing the best and brightest in food. Potluck airs on NYC Life and its videos have appeared on HuffPost, Edible, and People. Ali was chosen for the Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 for Food & Drink. She has written for Bon Appétit, Epicurious, Fodor’s, and Refinery 29. Originally from Charleston, she now lives in New York City.

Author Luncheon with Mary Alice Monroe, Beach House Reunion, Fri., June 15, 12 pm

Join us Fri., June 15, 12 pm for lunch at Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.), as Mary Alice Monroe discusses and signs her new book Beach House Reunion (Gallery Books, hb., 400 pp., $26). Tickets are $32 for the three-course luncheon, or $58 to add a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

In Beach House Reunion, Mary Alice Monroe weaves together a tale of the struggles and triumphs of the historic Rutledge family of Charleston. Beautifully wrought and rich with keen insight, this is an illuminating tale of new beginnings, resilience, and one family’s enduring love. Three generations of the Rutledge family gather together to find the strength, love, and commitment to break destructive family patterns and to forge new bonds that will endure long beyond one summer reunion.

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. She has received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

School Integration: Past and Present, Sun., May 20, 4 pm

Sun, May, 20, 4 pm, Blue Bicycle Books presents a special mini-symposium on School Integration: Past and Present. Join us for a look at five decades of integration, from groundbreaking heroes of the 60s, through busing in the 70s and 80s, to present-day schools like James Simons and Charlotte’s Shamrock Gardens.

420 King St, downtown Charleston. Free and open to the public. For more information please call 843.722.2666.

Featured speakers:

Pamela Grundy, author of Color and Character: West Charlotte High and the American Struggle over Education Equality.

Rachel Devlin, author of A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women who Desegregated America’s Schools.

Millicent Brown, professor at Claflin University, who as a young woman desegregated Rivers High School on Upper King Street, featured in A Girl Stands in the Door.

Color and Character (UNC Press, hb., 248 pp., $26) tells the story of West Charlotte High School. The historically black school was integrated through Charlotte’s busing program in the early seventies, when white students from some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods were reassigned. For two decades, West Charlotte was a national model for integration, excelling in academics, arts, debate and athletics. Grundy uses the history of a community’s beloved school to tell a broader American story of education, community, democracy, and race—all while raising questions about present-day strategies for school reform.

Pamela Grundy is a historian, author, and activist. She is also the author of the award-winning Learning to Win: Sports, Education, and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina. She blogs about her children’s experience at Shamrock Gardens Elementary, one of the many high-poverty, high-minority schools created as Charlotte dismantled its celebrated busing program, at

In A Girl Stands at the Door (Basic Books, hb., 384 pp., $20) historian Rachel Devlin tells the remarkable stories of desegregation pioneers. She also explains why black girls were seen, and saw themselves, as responsible for the difficult work of reaching across the color line in public schools. Highlighting the extraordinary bravery of young black women, this bold revisionist account illuminates today’s ongoing struggles for equality.

Rachel Devlin is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University, where she teaches courses on women, gender, sexuality, and childhood. She is the recipient of numerous grants, from the American Academy of Learned Societies and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute among others.

Dr. Millicent Brown is a Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor of History in the Department of History and Sociology at Claflin University (Orangeburg, SC)., and serves as Principal Investigator for the “Somebody Had to Do It” Project. She has a B.A. from the College of Charleston, a Master’s of Education from The Citadel and a Ph.D. in 20th Century U.S. History from Florida State University, but credits a transformative year as a Ph.D. student at Howard University for cementing her academic attachment to issues of race, gender and class struggle.




Piccolo Spoleto Event with Ethan J. Kytle and Blain Roberts, Denmark Vesey’s Garden, Fri., June 8, 5 pm

Join us Fri., June 8, 5 pm as Professors Ethan J. Kytle and Blain Roberts will be here to discuss their new book Denmark Vesey’s Garden (The New Press, hb., 464 pp., $29).

A book that strikes at the source of the recent flare-ups over Confederate symbols in Charlottesville, New Orleans, and elsewhere, Denmark Vesey’s Garden reveals the deep roots of these controversies and traces them to the capital of slavery in the United States: Charleston, South Carolina, where almost half of the slaves brought to the U.S. stepped onto our shores, where the first shot at Fort Sumter began the Civil War, and where Dylann Roof murdered nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, which was co-founded by Denmark Vesey, a black revolutionary who plotted a massive slave insurrection in 1822.

As early as 1865, former slaveholders and their descendants began working to construct a romanticized memory of the antebellum South. In contrast, former slaves, their descendants, and some white allies have worked to preserve an honest, unvarnished account of slavery as the cruel system it was.

Examining public rituals, controversial monuments, and competing musical traditions, Denmark Vesey’s Garden tracks these two rival memories from the Civil War to recent decades—when a segregated tourism industry reflecting these opposing visions of the past took hold in the popular vacation destination. Denmark Vesey’s Garden exposes a hidden dimension of America’s deep racial divide, joining the small bookshelf of major, paradigm-shifting interpretations of slavery’s enduring legacy in the United States.

Ethan J. Kytle is a professor of history at California State University, Fresno. The co-author, with Blain Roberts, of Denmark Vesey’s Garden (The New Press) and the author of Romantic Reformers and the Antislavery Struggle in the Civil War Era, he lives in Fresno, California.

Blain Roberts is a professor of history at California State University, Fresno. The co-author, with Ethan J. Kytle, of Denmark Vesey’s Garden (The New Press) and the author of Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women, she lives in Fresno, California.

Author Luncheon with Karen White, Dreams of Falling, Mon., June 11, 12 pm

Join us Mon., June 11, 12 pm for lunch at Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.), as Karen White discusses her latest novel Dreams of Falling (Berkley, hb., 416 pp., $26). Tickets are $32 for the author talk and three-course luncheon, or $58 to add a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

About the book: Nine years ago, a humiliated Larkin Lanier fled Georgetown, South Carolina, knowing she could never go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she realizes she has no choice but to return to the place she both loves and dreads–and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home.

Larkin’s mother Ivy is discovered badly injured and unconscious in the burned-out wreckage of her ancestral plantation home. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly fifty years–whispers of love, sacrifice, and betrayal–that lead back to three girls on the brink of womanhood who found their friendship tested in the most heartbreaking ways.

About the author: Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, known internationally for her mystery series set in Charleston. She spent most of her growing-up years in London and is a graduate of the American School there. She now lives near Atlanta with her husband, two children, and her dog Quincy (who appears in several of her books).

Author Luncheon with Cinelle Barnes, Monsoon Mansion, Thurs., May 31, 12 pm

Join us Thurs., May 31, 12 pm for lunch at  Halls Signature Events (5 Faber St.)., as Cinelle Barnes will talk about and sign her debut memoir Monsoon Mansion (Little A, hb., 252 pp., $25). Tickets are $31 for the three-course luncheon, or $56 to add a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

Cinelle Barnes was barely three years old when her family moved into Mansion Royale, a stately ten-bedroom home in the Philippines. Filled with her mother’s opulent social aspirations and the gloriously excessive evidence of her father’s self-made success, it was a girl’s storybook playland. But when a monsoon hits, her father leaves, and her mother’s terrible lover takes the reins, Cinelle’s fantastical childhood turns toward tyranny she could never have imagined. Formerly a home worthy of magazines and lavish parties, Mansion Royale becomes a dangerous shell of the splendid palace it had once been.

Told with a lyrical, almost-dreamlike voice as intoxicating as the moonflowers and orchids that inhabit this world, Monsoon Mansion is a harrowing yet triumphant coming-of-age memoir exploring the dark, troubled waters of a family’s rise and fall from grace in the Philippines. It would take a young warrior to survive it.

Cinelle Barnes is an essayist, memoirist, and educator with a BA in media studies in journalism from Hunter College and a master of fine arts in creative writing from Converse College. She is a fellow of the Kundiman Creative Nonfiction Intensive at Fordham University and the Voices of the Nations Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, a founding member of the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference, and a presenter-member for the Creative Writing Studies Organization. Her writing has appeared in Literary Hub, Skirt, Hub City Press’s online anthology, and TAYO Literary Magazine, among others.

VeryVera Cookbook with Vera Stewart, Tues., May 15, CANCELLED