Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

Beautiful Country by J.R. Thornton — Release Party, Mon., May 9

beautiful country

Join us Mon., May 9, at 5 pm, for the Charleston release party for J.R. Thornton’s debut novel Beautiful Country (Harper, pb., 320 pp, $16).

Set in modern-day China, this coming-of-age novel follows two friends, one American and one Chinese, both touring with Beijing’s Junior National Tennis Team. A top ranked junior tennis player in the U.S., Chase joins the practices of Beijing’s team and is immersed in the brutal world of Chinese sport.  Chase gains access to a culture rarely open to Westerners, and soon finds himself caught up in secrets. When his closest friend and teammate turns to him for help, Chase is faced with the dilemma of what to do when friendship, rules, and morals are in conflict.

J. R. Thornton graduated from Harvard in 2014 where he studied history, English and Chinese. An internationally ranked junior tennis player, he later competed for the Harvard men’s team and on the professional circuit. As a teenager he lived in Beijing and will return to China in the fall of 2016 as a member of the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars.

jr thornton


Book signing with Peter Selgin, The Inventors, Fri., Apr. 22, 12 pm


Friday, Apr. 22, 12 pm, author Peter Selgin discusses his new memoir The Inventors (Hawthorne Books, pb., 416 pp, $19), Blue Bicycle Books. Please join us for a glass of wine and dessert.

Please note that this event has been moved to the bookstore and is free and open to the public.

About the book: The Inventors follows the author’s relationship with two men, both inventors of sorts, his emotionally remote father and a passionate and unorthodox teacher with whom he remained in touch with far past the eighth grade.  The Inventors tells the story of a man’s search for his father and a boy’s relationship with his teacher, and how these two enigmas shaped that boy’s journey into manhood, filling him with a sense of his own unique destiny. It is a story of promises kept and broken as the author uncovers the truth about both men, and about himself.
peter selgin
About the Author: Peter Selgin is the author of Drowning Lessons, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Fiction, a novel, two books on fiction writing, several plays and children’s books. His essays have won many awards and honors, including six citations and two selections for the Best American anthologies, in which the title essay of his collection appears. Selgin is the prose editor of Alimentum: The Literature of Food” and nonfiction editor and art director of “Arts & Letters.” He is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia College and an associate faculty member of Antioch University’s Creative Writing MFA program.

Lunch with Dottie! Dorothea Benton Frank, All Summer Long, Stars Restaurant, Fri., June 3

dot frank all summer long


Join us Fri., June 3, 12 pm, for lunch at Stars Rooftop and Grill Room (495 King St.) with Dorothea Benton Frank. Dottie will talk and sign copies of her latest novel, All Summer Long (William Morrow, hb., 384 pp.). Our annual “Lunch with Dottie” has proven to be one of our liveliest, most fun events each year. Don’t miss it!

About the book: All Summer Long follows a prominent New York couple, Olivia, the quintessential New Yorker, and Nicholas, a true Southern gentleman, as they prepare to relocate to Sullivan’s Island. As Olivia hides her anxiety over the move and their impending financial issues, the two take off on a summer trip around the world with a host of rich eccentrics, leading them to the ultimate question: can money buy happiness?

Tickets for this event, part of our ongoing Author Luncheon Series, are $62 – included are a three course meal and signed hardback. Click here for tickets.


Dorothea Benton Frank is the author of fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. Born and raised on Sullivan’s Island, she now splits her time between Sullivan’s and New Jersey.

Julian Simmons, The Writer’s Table, Fri., Apr. 8

simmon's the writers table

Join us Fri., Apr. 8, 5 – 7 pm as local writer Julian Simmons signs copies of his Young Adult book The Writer’s Table, the first in a series. Simmons’ debut novel follows Alden Rowe down a perilous and fantastical path to recover his grandpa. After his grandfather’s sudden disappearance, Alden discovers the magical writing table that leads him on a quest to find his book-loving grandpa before time runs out.

Julian Simmons is a Charleston native who in addition to writing, is a successful recording artist.

julian simmons

David Sedaris at the Gaillard Center, April 19


Blue Bicycle Books is proud to be the official bookseller for David Sedaris, Tues., April 19, 7:30 pm, at the Gaillard Center.

Tickets are on sale here.

The author of nine story and essay collections, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, Holidays on Ice, and most recently, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris has become one of America’s preeminent humor writers.

Read more about the event here.

sedaris and jonathan

Thomas Wilson — The Ashley Cooper Plan, POSTPONED

the ashley cooper plan

Join us, date tbd, at Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St., as urban planner Thomas Wilson signs The Ashley Cooper Plan (UNC Press, pb., $35).

About the book:  In this highly original work, Thomas D. Wilson offers surprising new insights into the origins of the political storms we witness today. Wilson connects the Ashley Cooper Plan–a seventeenth-century model for a well-ordered society imagined by Anthony Ashley Cooper (1st Earl of Shaftesbury) and his protégé John Locke–to current debates about views on climate change, sustainable development, urbanism, and professional expertise in general. In doing so, he examines the ways that the city design, political culture, ideology, and governing structures of the Province of Carolina have shaped political acts and public policy even in the present. Wilson identifies one of the fundamental paradoxes of American history: although Ashley Cooper and Locke based their model of rational planning on assumptions of equality, the lure of profits to be had from slaveholding soon undermined its utopian qualities. Wilson argues that in the transition to a slave society, the “Gothic” framework of the Carolina Fundamental Constitutions was stripped of its original imperative of class reciprocity, reverberating in American politics to this day.

About the Author: Thomas D. Wilson is an urban planner, writer, and independent scholar.


Kathryn Budig — Aim True — Downward-Facing Riverdog, Thurs., Apr. 14

aim true 2 kathryn budig

Join us Thurs., Apr. 14, 6 pm at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park, 360 Fishburne St., downtown Charleston, as author and yogi Kathryn Budig leads a yoga class on the Riverdogs baseball field.  (Cleats not required. Or encouraged, really.)

Buy event tickets here.

Can’t make it? Pre-order a signed copy of Aim True  (William Morrow, pb., $25) here.

About the book: In Aim True, Budig extends her empowering message beyond the mat. Life is an adventure that is meant to be explored, challenged, and fully lived. The best part? When you approach life with an open mind and heart, the possibilities are endless.

Whether your goal is to love who you are right now, reshape the way you view food, develop a meditation practice, or discover new ways to embrace the great balancing act that is life, this holistic approach to yoga, diet, and mindfulness has something for you. Filled with vibrant photographs and whimsical illustrations, this guide is as beautiful as it is life-changing.

About the author: Kathryn Budig is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher and author known for her accessibility, humor, and ability to empower her students through her message, “aim true.” She is a warrior for self-acceptance, honesty, and helping her students and readers find true balance. The Kansas native graduated from the University of Virginia with a double degree in English and Drama before moving to Los Angeles, where she trained under the tutelage of Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller.


downward facing riverdog

Poetry reading by Richard Garcia, author of Porridge — Thurs., Mar. 17, 5:30 pm


Join us Thurs., Mar. 17, 5:30 pm, for a poetry reading and reception with Richard Garcia, author of Porridge (Press 53, pb., $14.95).

About the author:  Richard Garcia is the winner of Press 53’s 2016 Award for Poetry. The author of six books, his poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Crazyhorse, The Cortland Review and Ploughshares. His work has been included in The Best of the Prose Poem, The Pushcart Price: Best of the Small Presses, and Best American Poetry 2005.  He is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Pushcart Prize, the Greensboro Award from the The Greensboro Review, the Cohen Award from  Ploughshares, and the Georgetown Prize from Georgetown Review. He was poet-in-residence at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles for twelve years, where he conducted workshops in art and poetry for hospitalized children. He teaches at the Antioch University M.F.A. in Creative Writing program in Los Angeles. He lives in Charleston.

richard garcia pic

Author Luncheon with Michele Moore and The Cigar Factory, Fri., Mar. 18, 12 pm

the cigar factory

Blue Bicycle Books’ Author Luncheon Series continues, Friday, Mar. 18, 12 pm, Halls Chophouse, 434 King St., as author Michele Moore discusses her new novel The Cigar Factory (University of South Carolina Press, hb., $28).

Tickets are $30 for the author talk and three-course luncheon, or $58 for lunch plus a signed book. BUY TICKETS HERE

About the book: The sun leaned for down bringing shade to the waterfront,” begins Michele Moore’s entrancing debut novel, hearkening back to an era when the legendary fishermen of Charleston’s Mosquito Fleet rowed miles offshore for their daily catch. With evocative dialect and remarkable prose, The Cigar Factory tells the story of two entwined families, both devoutly Catholic — the white McGonegals and the African American Ravenels — in Charleston during the world wars. Moore’s novel follows the parallel lives of family matriarchs working on segregated floors of the massive Charleston cigar factory, where white and black workers remain divided and misinformed about the duties and treatment each group receives.

Cassie McGonegal and her niece Brigid work upstairs in the factory, rolling cigars by hand. Meliah Amey Ravenel works in the basement, where she stems the tobacco. While both white and black workers suffer in the harsh working conditions of the factory and both endure the sexual harassment of the foremen, segregation keeps them from recognizing their common plight until the Tobacco Workers Strike of 1945. Through the experience of a brutal picket line, two women come to realize how much they stand to gain by joining forces, creating a powerful moment in labor history that gives rise to the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.”

Moore’s extensive historical research included interviews with her own family members who worked at the cigar factory, adding a layer of nuance and authenticity to her empowering story of families and friendships forged through struggle, loss, and redemption. The Cigar Factory by Story River Books editor-at-large Pat Conroy.

About the Author: Michele Moore has served as a fellow in the English Department at Piedmont College in Demorest, Ga. She was a 2006 finalist for the Bellwether Prize for Literature. Her creative nonfiction has been broadcast on Georgia Public Radio and published in the Louisville Review and others.

Buy tickets online here. For special requests call 843.303.1113. Doors open at 11:30 am (please do not arrive before 11:30) and lunch is served promptly at noon. Limited seating provides an intimate experience with the author

Author Reading with Baird Hoffmire and Boris Crookedback and the Dragon of Wang-Dang-Baloo, Fri., Mar. 4, 4 pm

Boris Crookedback

Blue Bicycle Books’ welcomes author/illustrator Baird Hoffmire, Friday, Mar. 4, 4 pm, Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St., as he debuts his children’s book Boris Crookedback and the Dragon of Wang-Dang-Baloo (pb., $10).

About the book: What happens when a big, bad, mean dragon comes to a little village and terrorizes all its inhabitants? Will anyone step up and be a hero? Can anyone defeat such a fearsome foe? Enter Boris Crookedback, the most unlikely hero you will ever meet.  Discarded at birth and deemed too ugly and pitiful by most of the villagers, Boris is far more than what meets the eye. With smarts on his side, a heart of gold, and the pluck to save his true love, Boris may just be more of a force than anyone has reckoned!

* An important footnote to this project, 2 of the major characters in this book suffer from birth defects (among other things). If and when the book gets printed a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these books will be donated to the following worthy causes:

HEART benefits adults with special needs. aids in the research and correction of this birth-defect.

The Scoliosis Research Society aids in the research and correction of spinal maladies.

Please feel free to check out these organizations and donate.

About the Author: When he’s not daydreaming of global peace, ending world hunger, or fighting crime as a caped crusader, Baird Hoffmire is an animator, illustrator, graphic designer and exhibiting artist.  He resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his beautiful wife, Jane, and his equally lovely daughters, Sadie and harper. With a BFA in Illustration from Western Carolina University and a BFA in Media Arts and Animation from the Art Institute of Atlatna, Baird has been making a living as an artist since 2003. 

Baird Hoffmire