Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC

Jack Torry, The Last One Out, Wed. Oct. 19, 5:30 pm

On Weds., Oct. 19, 5:30 pm, join journalist John Torry in conversation with historian James Scott on Torry’s newest work of military history, The Last One Out: Yates McDaniel, World War II’s Most Daring Reporter (Schiffer Military, hb., 256 pp., $30).

About the book:

When Yates McDaniel died in Florida in 1983, few outside his family paid much attention. The only hint of his fame came in a brief obituary buried on the inside pages of the New York Times. The obit suggested bravery and a past far more exciting than almost anyone knew. Even those who worked alongside him in the 1960s at the Associated Press were startled to learn what McDaniel had been, what he had done when he was a young man and the world was at war. Yet, this remarkable reporter covered more of the Asian war than anyone else—from the savage Japanese assault on Nanking in 1937 to the fall of Singapore in 1942 to landing with US Marines on New Britain in 1943. He took risks no other reporter ever accepted, and colleagues joked that Japanese bombers followed him wherever he went.

About the author:

Jack Torry is the former Washington bureau chief for the Columbus Dispatch. The Last One Out is his third book.

Poetry Reading with Brandon Rushton and Samuel Amadon, Thurs., Oct. 6, 5:30 pm

Thurs., Oct. 6, 5:30 pm, join former College of Charleston professor Brandon Rushton and current University of South Carolina professor Samuel Amadon for a night of poetry. Rushton will be reading from his new book The Air in the Air Behind It (Tupelo, pb., 116 pp., $21.95). Amadon will be reading from Often, Common, Some, and Free (Omnidawn, pb., 80 pp., $17.95)

Brandon Rushton was born and raised in Michigan. A recipient of awards from Gulf Coast and Ninth Letter, his poems appear widely in publications like The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, Pleiades, Bennington Review, and Passages North. His essays have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review and the critical anthology, A Field Guide to the Poetry of Theodore Roethke. After earning his MFA from the University of South Carolina, he joined the writing faculty at the College of Charleston. In the fall of 2020, he began as a Visiting Professor of Writing at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With Josh English, he co-founded the poetry journal Oxidant | Engine.

Samuel Amadon is the author of Often, Common, Some, And Free (Omnidawn, 2021), Listener (Solid Objects, 2020), The Hartford Book (Cleveland State, 2012), winner of the Believer Poetry Book Award, and Like a Sea (Iowa, 2010), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Lana Turner, and elsewhere. He is the author of four chapbooks, including Each H from Ugly Duckling Presse. He regularly reviews poetry in places such as The Believer, Boston Review, Lana Turner: a journal of poetry and opinion, and Rain Taxi. He edits the poetry journal Oversound with Liz Countryman, and directs the MFA Program at the University of South Carolina.

Brandon Rushton

Samuel Amadon

Clay Rice Silhouettes – Aug. 24!

Renowned silhouette artist Clay Rice returns to Blue Bicycle Books, Wed., Aug. 24, 3 – 6 pm to cut children’s silhouettes.

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!

Personal silhouettes start at $48 for two copies.

We expect slots to fill up quickly; to book an appointment, just register here!

Piccolo Fiction — Sat., June 4, 5 pm

Sat., June 4, 5 pm, Piccolo Fiction presented by Blue Bicycle Books.

Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King Street. Free and open to the public. 843-722-2666.

The festival’s longest-running event exclusively devoted to fiction, Piccolo Fiction presents local and South Carolina authors reading brief short stories. This year’s reading will be in the courtyard beside the bookstore, and, following 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:


Paul Bowers is a writer, devoted trophy husband, and father of three living in North Charleston. A former reporter for The Post and Courier and Charleston City Paper, he now writes a weekly newsletter on education policy, class warfare, and Brutalist architecture, available at


Melissa Falcon Field was born in Hartford, Conn. A former Teach for America instructor and curriculum writer, she is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington has an MFA from Texas State University, where she received the Katherine Anne Porter Writer-in-Residence Award. She is the author of What Burns Away (Sourcebooks, 2015).


Jonathan Sanchez is the owner of Blue Bicycle Books and the director of YALLFest, Charleston’s young adult book festival. He also leads a popular summer writing camp. Recent publications include Mockingbird and State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love.



Sean A. Scapellato is a writer of fiction and essays, a former creative writing teacher at Charleston County School of the Arts, and now a lawyer in Charleston. He is an adviser to the South Carolina Writers Association board of directors.

Chris Lamb, Stolen Dreams, Sat., June 11, 1 pm


Join journalist and historian Chris Lamb Sat. June 11 at 1 pm for a signing of his newest book, Stolen Dreams: The 1955 Cannon Street All-Stars and Little League Baseball’s Civil War (University of Nebraska, hb, 392 pp., $34.95).

About the book:

Stolen Dreams by Dr. Chris Lamb is the story of how a seemingly mild act of protest became part of a much bigger struggle for racial equality during the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars was South Carolina’s first Black Little League team, its charter approved in 1953. To the young boys in the league it meant they could play on a real field, with real uniforms and equipment. But it meant more than that to the team’s founder, Robert Morrison. He dreamed that the team could become a vehicle for change–if youth baseball could be integrated, so could other institutions.

When the 11- and 12-year-olds registered for a tournament in July 1955, it became clear just how hard that change might come. White teams refused to take the field with the Cannon Street team. Segregationists denied the boys their dream of playing in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Cannon Street all-stars spent decades trying to forget that day. It would not be clear to them until they were middle-aged men that they were part of something much larger.

Although the core of this book is about that team and the discovery of their heartbreaking story, the book also offers a broader examination of how the Civil Rights Movement began in South Carolina, about the centuries of bigotry in the South and how it shaped the city of Charleston and its people, from its horrific roots in the 1600s to the murders at Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015.

About the author:

Chris Lamb is chair of the Journalism and Public Relations department at Indiana University-Indianapolis. He’s an author, historian, lecturer, satirist, and columnist. Lamb is the author of 11 books, including two that were published in 2020 (The Art of the Political Putdown: The Greatest Comebacks, Ripostes, and Retorts in History and Sports Journalism: A History of Glory, Fame, and Technology. He’s written extensively on sports, race, and media. Before becoming a college professor, he worked for newspapers and magazines. Since becoming a professor, he’s written about 250 articles and columns for such publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Los Angeles Times,, and Christian Science Monitor.


Carla Lalli Music, That Sounds So Good, Thurs. Apr. 21, 5:30 pm

Join chef, cookbook author, and YouTube personality, Carla Lalli Music, Thurs., Apr. 21 at 5:30 pm for a talk and signing for That Sounds So Good: 100 Real-Life Recipes for Every Day of the Week (Clarkson Potter, 288 pp., $35). She’ll be in conversation with Charleston writer Merritt Watts.

About the book:

Great food is an achievable part of every day, no matter how busy you are; the key is to have go-to recipes for every situation and for whatever you have on hand. The recipes in That Sounds So Good are split between weekday and weekend cooking. When time is short, turn to quick stovetop suppers, one-pot meals, and dinner salads. And for the weekend, lean into lazy lunches, simmered stews, and hands-off roasts.

Carla’s dishes are as inviting and get-your-attention-good as ever. All the recipes—such as Fat Noodles with Pan-Roasted Mushrooms and Crushed Herb Sauce or Chicken Legs with Warm Spices—come with multiple ingredient swaps and suggestions, so you can make each one your own. That Sounds So Good shows Carla at her effortless best, and shows how you can be, too.

About the author:

Carla Lalli Music is the James Beard Award-winning author of Where Cooking Begins (a national bestseller) and the host of Carla’s Cooking Show on Patreon. The former food director at Bon Appétit, Carla is known for anchoring the hit YouTube series, “Back to Back Chef,” and has appeared in many BA test kitchen videos. Her second cookbook, That Sounds So Good, was published in October 2021. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, children, and backyard wood-burning oven.

Dr. Benjamin Gilmer, The Other Dr. Gilmer, Sat., Mar. 26, 1 pm

Join Asheville physician Benjamin Gilmer, Sat., Mar. 26, 1 pm, author of The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice (Ballantine, 304 pp., hb., $28). A true story about a shocking crime and a mysterious illness that will change your notions of how we punish and how we heal, The Other Dr. Gilmer expands on the popular This American Life episode produced with journalist Sarah Koenig (Serial).

Fresh out of residency, Dr. Benjamin Gilmer joined a rural North Carolina clinic only to find that its previous doctor shared his last name. Dr. Vince Gilmer was loved and respected by the community—right up until he strangled his ailing father and then returned to the clinic for a regular week of work. Vince’s arrest for murder shocked his patients. How could their beloved doctor be capable of such violence? The deeper Benjamin looked into Vince’s case, the more he became obsessed with discovering what pushed a good man toward darkness.

When Benjamin visited Vince in prison, he met a man who appeared to be fighting his own mind, constantly twitching and veering into nonsensical tangents. Sentenced to life in prison, Vince had been branded a cold-blooded killer and a “malingerer”—a person who fakes an illness. But it was obvious to Benjamin that Vince needed help. Alongside This American Life Benjamin resolved to understand what had happened to his predecessor.

About the author: Benjamin Gilmer is a family medicine physician in Fletcher, N.C. He is an Albert Schweitzer Fellow for Life and associate professor in the department of family medicine at UNC and at the Mountain Area Health Education Center. A former neurobiologist turned rural family practitioner, Dr. Gilmer has lectured across the country about medical ethics, rural health, and the intersection of medicine and criminal justice reform. He lives with his wife, Deirdre; their two children, Kai and Luya; and their dog, Prince Peanut Butter, in Asheville.

Derek Baxter, In Pursuit of Jefferson, Wed., Mar. 30, 5:30 pm

Join historian Derek Baxter, on Wed., Mar. 30, 5:30 pm for a presentation on his new book, In Pursuit of Jefferson: Traveling through Europe with the Most Perplexing Founding Father (Sourcebooks, 416 pp., hb., $27.99).

About the book:

In 1784, Thomas Jefferson was a broken man. Reeling from the loss of his wife and stung from a political scandal during the Revolutionary war, he needed to remake himself. To do that, he traveled. Wandering through Europe, Jefferson saw and learned as much as he could, ultimately bringing his knowledge home to a young America. There, he would rise to power and shape a nation.

More than two hundred years later, Derek Baxter, a devotee of American history, stumbles on an obscure travel guide written by Jefferson―Hints for Americans Traveling Through Europe―as he’s going through his own personal crisis. Who better to offer advice than a founding father himself? Using Hints as his roadmap, Baxter follows Jefferson through six countries and countless lessons. But what Baxter learns isn’t always what Jefferson had in mind, and as he comes to understand Jefferson better, he doesn’t always like what he finds.

About the author:

Derek Baxter graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in history. He wrote a book about his experience following the route through Europe that Jefferson set out in Hints to Americans. After years of research, Derek made nine separate trips abroad on Jefferson’s trail.

Author Luncheon with Mary Laura Philpott, Bomb Shelter, Wed., Apr. 20, 12 pm

Join best-selling author, Mary Laura Phillpott (I Miss You When I Blink) for a lunch and launch of her new memoir Bomb Shelter: Love, Time and Other Explosives, Wed. Apr. 20, 12 pm at Halls Signature Events, 5 Faber St., downtown Charleston.

Tickets are $39 for the three-course lunch, or $66 with a signed copy of Bomb Shelter (Atria, hb., 288 pp). Click here to buy tickets!

Doors open at 11:30 am, lunch served promptly at noon, with talk to follow.

Books provided by Blue Bicycle Books.

Can’t make it? Order a signed copy here.

About Bomb Shelter:

A lifelong worrier, Mary Laura Philpott always kept an eye out for danger, a habit that only intensified when she became a parent. But she looked on the bright side, too, believing that as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe.

Then, in the dark of one quiet, pre-dawn morning, she woke abruptly to a terrible sound—and found her teenage son unconscious on the floor. In the aftermath of a crisis that darkened her signature sunny spirit, she wondered: If this happened, what else could happen? And how do any of us keep going when we can’t know for sure what’s coming next?

Leave it to the writer whose critically acclaimed debut had us “laughing and crying on the same page” (NPR) to illuminate what it means to move through life with a soul made of equal parts anxiety and optimism (and while she’s at it, to ponder the mysteries of backyard turtles and the challenges of spatchcocking a turkey).

Hailed by The Washington Post as “Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr, and Laurie Colwin all rolled into one,” Philpott returns in her distinctive voice to explore our protective instincts, the ways we continue to grow up long after we’re grown, and the limits—both tragic and hilarious—of the human body and mind.

About the Author:

Mary Laura Philpott’s first book was the national bestseller I Miss You When I Blink. Her essays that examine the overlap of the absurd and the profound in everyday life ad have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Real Simple, and more. A former bookseller at Nashville’s Parnassus Books and a Davidson grad, she is a life-long visitor to the Charleston area. She lives in Nashville with her family.

“a writer of singular spark and delight” — Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)


Brad Taylor, End of Days, Fri., Jan. 21, 7:00 pm


Join New York Times best selling novelist Brad Taylor on Fri., Jan. 21 at 7:00 pm, for an evening celebrating the release of his newest novel, End of Days (William Morrow, 448 pp., hb., $28.99).  This event will take place at Halls Signature Events, at 5 Faber Street.

About the book:

When a paragliding trip over the picturesque mountains of Switzerland results in the brutal murder of the former head of Israeli intelligence, Mossad brings in terrorist hunters Aaron and Shoshana to investigate. But they’ll need help to find out who was behind the attack and what they’re planning next. Luckily, Aaron and Shoshana know exactly who to call.

Taskforce operators Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill have been trapped in Charleston, South Carolina during COVID-19, so when Aaron and Shoshana show up on their doorstep with Israeli passports and a new mission, they jump at the chance to assist their friends. Some suspect that Keta’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-funded militia group operating in Iraq, might be responsible for the “accidental” deaths of key members of the American and Israeli governments. But something isn’t adding up, and Pike, Jennifer, and the two Mossad operators are determined to find the real assassins before more people are cut down.

As they stumble upon the trail of a serial killer loose on the streets of Rome connected to the deaths and follow evidence leading to the exalted Knights of Malta, they must wade deep into the contentious religious and political fractures of Israel and the greater Middle East. It’s a dangerous world where fanatics and legitimate organizations exist side by side, and it’s up to the Taskforce to determine who is really pulling the strings. What they find could have disastrous consequences not only for them, but for the entire world…

About the author:

Brad Taylor was born on Okinawa, Japan, but grew up on 40-acres in rural Texas. Graduating from the University of Texas, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry. Brad served for more than 21 years, retiring as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. During that time he held numerous Infantry and Special Forces positions, including eight years in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta where he commanded multiple troops and a squadron. He has conducted operations in support of US national interests in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other classified locations.

His final assignment was as the Assistant Professor of Military Science at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. He holds a Master’s of Science in Defense Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School, with a concentration in Irregular Warfare. In 2011, Brad published his debut novel, One Rough Man, which was an immediate success and launched the Pike Logan series. Now with more than 15 installments and more than 3 million copies sold, the series has consistently hit the New York Times bestseller list. When not writing, he serves as a security consultant on asymmetric threats for various agencies. He lives in Charleston, SC with his wife and two daughters.