Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

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.


Blood, Sweat, and Tears with Derrick E. White, Wed., Oct. 2, 5:30 pm

Join us Wed., Oct. 2, 5:30 pm as Dartmouth College professor Derrick E. White will be here to discuss his book Blood, Sweat, and Tears (UNC Press, hb., 320 pp., $30).

Black college football began during the nadir of African American life after the Civil War. The first game occurred in 1892, a little less than four years before the Supreme Court ruled segregation legal in Plessy v. Ferguson. In spite of Jim Crow segregation, Black colleges produced some of the best football programs in the country. They mentored young men who became teachers, preachers, lawyers, and doctors–not to mention many other professions–and transformed Black communities. But when higher education was integrated, the programs faced existential challenges as predominately white institutions steadily set about recruiting their student athletes and hiring their coaches. Blood, Sweat, and Tears explores the legacy of Black college football, with Florida A&M’s Jake Gaither as its central character, one of the most successful coaches in its history. A paradoxical figure, Gaither led one of the most respected Black college football programs, yet many questioned his loyalties during the height of the civil rights movement.

Among the first broad-based histories of Black college athletics, Derrick E. White’s sweeping story complicates the heroic narrative of integration and grapples with the complexities and contradictions of one of the most important sources of Black pride in the twentieth century.

Derrick E. White is a scholar of modern Black history with an emphasis on intellectual, political, and sports history. He is the the author of The Challenge of Blackness: The Institute of the Black World and Political Activism in the 1970s (Florida, 2011) and co-editor of Winning While Losing: Civil Rights, The Conservative Movement and the Presidency from Nixon to Obama (Florida, 2014). He is currently working a book tentatively titled, Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Florida A & M and the Rise and Fall of a Black College Football Dynasty. 

Patricia Lockwood and Jillian Weise Poetry Reading at Redux, Sat., Sept. 28, 7 pm

Sat., Sept. 28, at 7 pm, poets Patricia Lockwood and Jillian Weise will be reading at Redux Contemporary Art Center (1056 King Street). The event is free and open to the public, and Redux is accessible and inclusive to all people.

Jillian’s new book, Cyborg Detective, came out in early September. After the reading, there will be time for audience discussion with the authors, followed by a meet-and-greet and booksigning.

Patricia Lockwood is an American poet and essayist. In addition to her memoir Priestdaddy, which was named one of the 10 best books of 2017 by The New York Times, she has published two poetry collections and is notable for her trans-genre poetics.

Jillian Weise is a poet, performance artist and disability rights activist. She is the author of four books: three poetry collections and a novel. Her first book, The Amputee’s Guide to Sex, was recently reissued in a 10th anniversary edition with a new preface. Cyborg Detective is just out from BOA Editions. Weise co-edited a feature on disability poetics with Khadijah Queen for The New York Times. Her work has also appeared in A Public Space, Granta and Tin House. Her web series, “Tips for Writers by Tipsy Tullivan,” has been profiled by BOMBElectric Lit and Inside Higher Ed. She teaches at Clemson University.

Jennifer Berry Hawes at Grace Church Cathedral Okra Soup Meeting, Tues., Sept. 17, 5 pm

Tues., Sept. 17, at 5 pm, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jennifer Berry Hawes will be at Grace Church Cathedral (98 Wentworth St.) to give a talk about her book Grace Will Lead Us Home (St. Martin’s Press, hb., 320 pp., $29).

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 Grace Will Lead Us Home, Jennifer Berry Hawes provides a definitive account of the Emanuel AME Church tragedy and its aftermath. With unprecedented access to the grieving families and other key figures, Hawes offers a nuanced and moving portrait of the events and emotions that emerged in the massacre’s wake.

The two adult survivors of the shooting begin to make sense of their lives again. Rifts form between some of the victims’ families and the church. A group of relatives fights to end gun violence, capturing the attention of President Obama. And a city in the Deep South must confront its racist past. This is the story of how, beyond the headlines, a community of people begins to heal.

Jennifer Berry Hawes writes for the Charleston-based Post and Courier, where she spent a decade covering religion and now works on a team that handles in-depth investigative reporting projects for the paper. Her work has won many honors including a Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award, a National Headliner Award, and a Dart Award for Journalism & Trauma. She lives in Charleston.

Building a Better Runner with Terry Hamlin, Thurs., Sept. 12, 6 pm

Thurs., Sept. 12, at 6 pm Terry Hamlin, founder of the Charleston Running Club, will be here to talk about his new book Building a Better Runner (Vertel Publishing, pb., 199 pp., $22).

Building A Better Runner is your ultimate guide to distance running. Whether you are a teenager who enjoys running the mile, a hobby runner who wants to be fitter and faster, or a high-level athlete aiming for Olympic gold, this book has training tips and plans to suit your needs. There is a specific way that the body improves. If the right phases of training are used at the right times, then an athlete (from a beginner or hobby runner to an elite, high-level runner) can benefit from this scheduling. By using a scientific method developed by author and runner Terry Hamlin, this book utilizes physiology, biochemistry, and periods of stress and recovery to create the most effective program for runners looking to better themselves athletically. Hamlin wants runners to understand how the body works on a kinetic and cellular level. Additionally, he hopes to help runners understand that it’s possible to remove your frustration with not improving and make the sport of running an exciting, lifelong pursuit.

Terry Hamlin began to run to stay in shape for surfing. He went on to the University of South Carolina, where he was offered a partial scholarship in his sophomore year and accepted. He has always considered himself a road racer. Two friends, Frank Shorter and Steve Prefontaine, were having great success on the track and road, so Hamlin upped his mileage in 1974. When another friend, Bill Rodgers, won the 1975 Boston Marathon, Hamlin began to focus on the sport even more and learned all he could through his biochemistry/psychology dual major about what made him and other runners “tick.” Hamlin was ranked in the top twenty distance runners in America in 1979. He won dozens of races from the mile to the marathon. In fact, a team he put together in 1978 still holds the US Twenty-Four-Hour Relay Record. In 1977, while working full-time as a chemist at the Medical University of South Carolina, Hamlin and Dr. Marcus Newberry put together the famed Cooper River Bridge Run. That same year, Terry created the Charleston Running Club, one of the best running groups in America. Hamlin is a full-time realtor in Charleston, South Carolina, and he coaches runners interested in “becoming the best runner within.” He has coached five runners to the US Olympic Trials and has two more on the way, as of the release of this book. Hamlin lives outside his hometown with his wife, Dolly, and their two schnauzers, chickens, and assorted animals on his horse farm in the Francis Marion National Forest.