Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

19th Annual Bridge Run Reading — Thurs., Apr. 5, 6 pm

Please join us next Thurs., Apr. 5, 6 pm for the 19th Annual Bridge Run Reading, featuring original works by Charleston writers (and BBB staffers) Jonathan Sanchez, Sara Peck and Ben Adams. Beer and wine will flow, readings are short and fun, the event will feature music by Mitchell Davis, and there is no running involved.


Jonathan Sanchez is a writer and book dealer in Charleston, SC The author of the short-story collection Bandit (2005), Jonathan is a two-time winner in the S.C. Fiction project and a former writer-in-residence at the Kerouac House in Orlando. He lives in uptown Charleston with his wife Lauren and two children.


Sara Peck is the author of a chapbook, Yr Lad, Bob (Persistent Editions 2013), a book with poet Jared Joseph, Here You Are (Horse Less Press 2015), and the forthcoming chapbook, Summer is Too Warm to Share a Bed (Dancing Girl Press 2018). She manages Blue Bicycle Books and teaches middle and High School in Mount Pleasant.


Ben Adams lives in Charleston, SC, where he currently works at Blue Bicycle Books. Recent stories can be found at Hobart, Literary Orphans, and Monkeybicycle.

Recommendation: Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles

Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles, Hogarth, 2018, 368 pp, $27


In the opening scene of Anatomy of a Miracle, Cameron Harris, a young Afghan vet, sits outside a Biloxi, Miss., convenience store, paralyzed from the waist down. His older sister and caretaker is inside, buying his daily beer and cigarettes.

Then he stands up.

It’s a life-changing moment, as much of an explosion as the one that buried shrapnel in Cameron’s spinal cord four years earlier.

The store becomes a tourist shrine, with financial and spiritual ramifications for the Vietnamese owners. The Vatican sends an emissary, angling to confirm the miracle as part of an unrelated campaign for sainthood.  A Hollywood crew makes Cameron and his sister Tanya the stars of a reality show called “Miracle Man.”

And Cameron’s doctor, an ultra-marathon-runner and the daughter of a one-hit-wonder Southern author (something of a mix between Truman Capote and John Kennedy Toole, had he lived) struggles to fit the regrowth of spinal tissue into her rigidly logical worldview.

Jonny Miles is the author of Want Not and Dear American Airlines, and was for a time the cocktail columnist for the New York Times. He’s a bold mixologist on the page — serving up a mix of fully-realized, realistic Southern characters. And he’s done his research, the medical and military material is thorough and fascinating. Miles lived in Mississippi for a time and he writes his hero Cameron, a poor kid who quit the football team and enlisted, with equal parts familiarity and compassion.  

Miles’ “Miracle Man” reality TV producer is himself a product of the New South, the kind rarely depicted in books or movies. He’s a northern transplant who grew up in Memphis, and he fetishizes his adopted homeland, decorating his LA office with all manner of Southern artifacts. (Miles, a regular Garden and Gun contributor, doesn’t say it but you can pretty much guess what lifestyle magazine the guy subscribes to.)

At my bookstore, whenever a non-Southern customer asks me “Where’s your accent?” I always tell them the South is a big place. It’s true, it’s a lot to get your arms around. But by slicing off a sliver and holding it up to the light, Jonny Miles has given us a lively and wide-ranging picture of a very real place, one that, like many real places, refuses to sit inert.

— Jonathan Sanchez, owner, Blue Bicycle Books


Join us for the release party for Anatomy of a Miracle and Jonathan Miles, Mon., Mar 26, 5 pm, at the Garden and Gun Offices, 701 E. Bay. St. 


Anatomy of a Miracle with Jonathan Miles, Mon., Mar. 26, 5 pm

Join us at the Garden & Gun editorial office in the Cigar Factory (701 East Bay St.) as we celebrate the new book by G&G contributor Jonathan Miles, Anatomy of a Miracle. Grab a Cathead cocktail, enjoy wine from Broadbent Selections, meet the author, and purchase a signed book.

Space is limited, so click here to RSVP.

Jonathan Miles is the author of the novels Dear American Airlines and Want Not, both New York Times Notable Books. He is a former columnist for the New York Times and has served as a contributing editor to a wide range of national magazines. A former longtime resident of Oxford, Mississippi, he currently lives along the Delaware River in rural New Jersey.


Recommendation: Caitlyn Macy’s Mrs.

Caitlin Macy’s Mrs. is about both big money — the hedge funds of the newly-rich, the investment banks of the established families — and little money, the hundred-dollar bills a billionaire’s new wife carries in her purse. (My favorite detail in this detailed novel comes when an unnamed chorus of rich women, looking back on their days starting out in New York, recall having to “buy four new spices at $6.99 a pop” for a dinner party thrown to impress.)

The book opens as Philippa Skinker shows up at an elite preschool, late for noon pick-up. She’s the picture of aloof: a former model, married into old money. Philippa steps out of a cab and says the driver is over-charging her and she can’t pay him. The chorus of responsible, Normal-Rich mothers all clamor to help, twenty-dollar-bills flashed on the sidewalk like a betting scene in a movie.

The women both condescend and look up to the statuesque Philippa, treating her like you might a great-grandmother, someone to be both respected and tended to. She’s the one who they think never had to suffer or pay her dues: buy the $6.99 spices or “pound around the Reservoir in Central Park after dark to squeeze a run in.”

Months later, on the same sidewalk, in front of the parents and toddlers and the headmistress, Philippa Skinker confronts another parent, the new-rich hedge fund billionaire John Curtis, loudly insisting he pay a very old, illicit and painful debt.

It’s a brilliant, climactic counterpoint to the opening scene. Being too beautiful and old-money to have cab fare is forgivable. Demanding payment of a personal debt in public is crass, tactless, jarring.

When Curtis balks and when Gwen Hogan, the most sympathetic character in the novel, the mom on the other side of the financial divide from Philippa and the Normal-Rich Chorus, appears at Philippa’s elbow and says “Give her the money John,” I got chills. It’s a powerful moment of sisterhood, friendship cemented by crossing lines in the sand.

While we’ve been led to believe the Big Plot of the novel is about men and their Real Money — the hedge fund Curtis runs, the investment bank Skinker runs and the insider trading Gwen’s G-Man husband is prosecuting — this is the emotional climax of the book. Gwen and Philippa rip the hundred-dollar bills out of Curtis’s wife’s wallet and Philippa shoves the money into her coat pockets and leaves:

She had a long, ground-covering stride, and as she walked away, one or two of the hundreds escaped her pockets and floated down, then several at once, and when she didn’t stop to stuff them back in, they trailed behind her like the magic dust that follows Disney princesses.

They say that behind every fortune is a scandal, but behind a lot of fortunes are a million little hustles, a million little transactions, drops of rain that accumulate and flow downstream. In Bonfire of the Vanities, Sherman McCoy’s wife gives a great, withering speech comparing bond trading to collecting the crumbs that fall off a piece of cake.

Mrs. shares a lot with Bonfire, another whip-smart, well-researched, zeitgeisty novel of the financial world. Like several characters in Mrs., Tom Wolfe’s McCoy went to Yale and lives on Park Ave. We see him at school drop-off, admiring the nice figures of the other kids’ mothers. Macy gives us the thoughts of G-Man Dan Hogan as he runs across the Brooklyn Bridge; Wolfe’s prosecutor Larry Kramer is a similar physical presence, constantly flexing his sternocleidomastoid muscles to hilarious effect. But Macy, while just as insightful (any middle-aged guy will identify with the thoughts on Dan’s run), has less of Wolfe’s smirking journalistic reserve, she dives deeper emotionally.

Macy’s affection for her characters is so strong, her characters so fascinating and complex and important, it’s frustrating to think that because she is a woman who writes about women as well as men, writes about the little money as well as the big, not nearly as many men will read this book as Bonfire. That’s a shame, because it’s a fantastic social novel, one that just happens to be called Mrs. and have an orange-and-teal wallpaper cover. Her description of a preschool fundraiser or an awkward playdate is as well-observed as any dance or dinner in Anna Karenina.

Mrs. deserves a wide audience of both men and women; I’ll be recommending it a lot this year.

— Jonathan Sanchez, owner, Blue Bicycle Books in Charleston.

Caitlyn Macy will be in Charleston Mon., Mar. 12 for an Author Luncheon. More information and tickets here.



Wine + Food Festival Signing Schedule, Mar 2 – 4, 2018

Fri., March 2 – Sun., March 4

Wine + Food Festival Retail Tent, Marion Square (near the Fountain, Calhoun and King). All signings are free and open to the public.

Friday, Mar. 2

12-12:45 pm – Erin Byers Murray, Shucked; Troy Gagliardo, Pseudo Southern

1-1:45 pm – Micah Lemon, The Imbible; Sara Franklin, Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original

2-2:45 pm – Kerry Diamond, Cherry Bombe; Frank Lee, S.N.O.B Experience

3-3:45 pm – Gail Simmons, Bringing It Home; Jeremy Sewall, Oysters; Toni Tipton Martin, Jemima Code

4-4:45 pm – Jennifer Brule, Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways; Joshua McFadden, Six Seasons; Steven Satterfield, Root to Leaf; Tad Carducci, Tippling Bros

Saturday, Mar. 3

12-12:45 pm – Charlotte Caldwell, Faces of Local Food; Bianca Bosker, Cork Dork; Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune

1-1:45 pm – J.J. Johnson, Between Harlem and Heaven; Slade Rushing, Brennan’s New Orleans Cookbook; Tama Matsuoka Wong, Foraged Flavor

2-2:45 pm – Cynthia Graubart, Sunday Suppers

3-3:45 pm – Jamie DeMent, Farmhouse Chef; Kristen Kish, Kristen Kish Cooking; Lynn & Cele Seldon, 100 Things to Do in Charleston Before You Die

4-4:45 pm – Eric Gabrynowicz, Tupelo Honey; Heidi Vukov, Bonjour, Y’all; Kim Nelson, Daisy Cakes Bakes

Sunday, Mar. 4

12-12:45 pm – Claire Gatlin, Charleston Receipts; John Tesar, Knife

1-1:45 pm – Chantal Martineau, How the Gringos Stole Tequila

2-2:45 – Holly Herrick, Mashed: Beyond the Potato

4-4:45 – Ashley Christensen, Poole’s

Piccolo Fiction – Charleston Music Hall – Sun., May 27, 5 pm

Piccolo Fiction presented by Blue Bicycle Books, Sun., May 27, 5 pm, Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. Free and open to the public.

The festival’s longest-running event exclusively devoted to fiction, Piccolo Fiction invites local authors to write and share original  short stories. This year’s reading will be in the historic Charleston Music Hall, and, following recent tradition, each story will begin with the words “I ducked into the alley…”

Since 2000, Piccolo Fiction has featured dozens of S.C. writers, with stories broadcast by S.C. Public Radio and published in the Charleston City Paper.

Featured authors:

An author, editor, and educator, Susan DeFreitas’s creative work has appeared in (or is forthcoming from) The Writer’s Chronicle, The Utne Reader, Story, Southwestern American Literature, and Weber—The Contemporary West, along with more than twenty other journals and anthologies. She is the author of the novel Hot Season (Harvard Square Editions), which won the 2017 Gold IPPY Award for Best Fiction of the Mountain West, and a contributor at A first-generation American of Caribbean descent, she holds an MFA from Pacific University and splits her time between Charleston and Portland.

Alex Eaker is an MFA candidate in creative writing at the College of Charleston, where he also earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English and Communication. Although he was raised in Connecticut, he likes to call Charleston his home now. He’s had works published in Cleaver Magazine and SmokeLong Quarterly.

Susan Rivers began her career as a playwright, receiving the Julie Harris Playwriting Award and the New York Drama League Award, and working as an NEA Writer-in-Residence in San Francisco. Fiction became her focus after moving to the Carolinas in 1995. She currently lives and teaches in Upstate South Carolina. Her debut novel, The Second Mrs. Hockaday (Algonquin Books), was a finalist for the 2017 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and currently is one of four finalists for the Southern Book Prize.

J.C. Sasser started her professional career at age 12, working as a dishwasher, waitress, and cook at a truck stop off Georgia’s I-16. Over her life, she has worked as an envelope licker, tortoise tagger, lifeguard, Senate page, model, editor, water-polo coach, marine biologist, plant grower, software consultant, and 6-Sigma Black Belt. She is the award winning author of Gradle Bird (Koehler Books 2017) and a contributor to the forthcoming anthology, Gather at the River: Twenty-five Authors on Fishing edited by David Joy and Eric Rickstad (Hub City Press 2019). She lives in an old barn on Edisto Island with her husband, Thomas, along with their two sons, T.C. and Robert Esten, two dogs, Cro and Blue Moon June, a school of fighting fish, and a flock of frenzied chickens.

EVENT CANCELLED – Becoming Madeleine with Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy, Tues., March 20, 5 pm

Join us Tues., March 20, 5 pm as Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy will be here to discuss their new book Becoming Madeleine (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, hb., 176 pp., $20). Charlotte and Léna are the granddaughters of the iconic writer Madeleine L’Engle.

Using never-before-seen archival materials that include photographs, poems, letters, and journal entries, Becoming Madeleine weaves together an in-depth and unique view of the famous writer. It is a story of overcoming obstacles―a lonely childhood, financial insecurity, and countless rejections of her writing―and eventual triumph. Becoming Madeleine will speak not only to fans of the icon’s work, but also to anyone interested in writing.

Charlotte Jones Voiklis has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and manages Madeleine L’Engle’s literary legacy. She lives in New York City.

Léna Roy works with young writers in Westchester, New York and Connecticut as the Regional Manager for Writopia Lab. She is also the author of the young adult novel, Edges. She lives in New York.

EVENT CANCELLED Author Luncheon with Charlotte Caldwell, The Faces of Local Food, Thurs., March 22, 12 pm

*****Sorry this event has been cancelled*****

Join us Thurs., March 22, 12 pm for lunch at 5 Faber, as Charlotte Caldwell discusses her new book The Faces of Local Food (Sweetgrass Books, hb., 232 pp., $45). Tickets are $31 for the three-course luncheon and talk, or $76 including a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

The Faces of Local Food is a collection of personal vignettes giving readers an intimate perspective into the lives of those people who contribute to a vibrant local food system. Step out of the grocery store to join fishermen, farmers, and ranchers on their boats and in their fields, in the kitchens of innovative chefs, and in the warehouse of a local food hub. Meet with other meaningful contributors and visionaries to hear their stories – their histories, motivations, experiences, challenges, and insights.

Author and photographer of Visions and Voices: Montana’s One-Room SchoolhousesKirby’s Journal: Backyard Butterfly MagicThe Cow’s Boy: The Making of a Real Cowboy, and The Cow’s Girl: The Making of a Real Cowgirl, Charlotte Caldwell uses her photography as a springboard for storytelling. A native of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, Charlotte is a graduate of Middlebury College and also holds master’s degrees in environmental studies and special education. Charlotte and her husband divide their time between their home in historic Charleston and their ranch in Montana.


Clay Rice Silhouettes — Wed., March 14!

Renowned silhouette artist Clay Rice returns to Blue Bicycle Books, Wed., March 14, 3-6 pm to cut children’s silhouettes and sign his latest books, The Stick and Ants ‘n’ Uncles (Familius, hb, $17).

Clay Rice -- silhouette artist -- with Kid

Taught by his grandfather, Carew Rice, Clay is a 21st-century folk artist and a Lowcountry treasure. Cutting a child’s silhouette in under five minutes is a performance in itself. You’ll be amazed when he captures a recognizable profile of your squirming two-year-old in less time than it takes to get her shoes on. His national touring schedule keeps him on the road often, cutting more than 10,000 children’s silhouettes a year, so events back home in Charleston are rare!

clayricesillPersonal silhouettes start at $42 for two copies. We expect slots to fill up quickly; to book an appointment, please call us at 843.722.2666. 

Author Luncheon with Caitlin Macy, Mrs., Mon., March 12, 12 pm


Join us Mon., March 12, 12 pm for lunch at 5 Faber, as Caitlin Macy discusses her new novel Mrs. (Little, Brown, hb., 352 pp., $27). Tickets are $31 for the three-course luncheon and talk, or $58 including a signed copy of the book.

Get tickets here.

In the well-heeled milieu of New York’s Upper East Side, coolly elegant Philippa Lye is the woman no one can stop talking about. Despite a shadowy past, Philippa has somehow married the scion of the last family-held investment bank in the city. Then, into her precariously balanced life, come two women: Gwen Hogan, a childhood acquaintance who uncovers an explosive secret about Philippa’s single days, and Minnie Curtis, a newcomer whose vast fortune and frank revelations about a penurious upbringing in Spanish Harlem put everyone on alert.

When Gwen’s husband, a heavy-drinking, obsessive prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, stumbles over the connection between Philippa’s past and the criminal investigation he is pursuing at all costs, this insulated society is forced to confront the rot at its core and the price it has paid to survive into the new millennium.

Caitlin Macy is the author of The Fundamentals of Play and Spoiled. A graduate of Yale, she received her MFA from Columbia. Her work has been published in The New YorkerThe New York Times MagazineO, and Slate, among other publications. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.