Renee's Picks

Renee Reiner, a veteran bookseller since she and Mike bought The Book Rack and Children's Pages in 1995, took the lead in opening our second location in downtown Burlington. "Having successfully created a vibrant community bookstore," she says, "I will look back many years from now and say I've lived a good life."

Reviewed by: 
Renee
Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good Cover Image
By Chuck Collins, Morris Pearl (Foreword by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781603586832
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Chelsea Green Publishing Company - September 23rd, 2016

Chuck Collins was an heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune and chose to give away his trust fund in his mid-20's.  He's been working on wealth inequality ever since.  He was also one of my teachers in the early 90's when I received a master's degree in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.

This book is important to me because philanthropy is one of my core principles. Chuck has found an authentic way of talking about wealth in a context that I think can help bring us together as a community, at least this is my hope.


Reviewed by: 
Renee
Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780991331307
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Elephant Room Press - January 9th, 2014

Waking Up White is the most important book I’ve read in years (possibly ever).  Debby Irving was raised in a middle/upper middle class white enclave of suburban Boston.  As a young adult, she felt she ‘got it’ when it came to race – a liberal do-good type. 

Through graduate studies, she began to learn about white privilege – how our culture ensures that we benefit in every way because of the color of our skin. 

People of color are fully aware of this injustice, that the deck is entirely stacked no matter how they behave, how much money they earn, no matter what.  Whiteness forms the fabric of our society. 

Irving was profoundly disturbed by learning about this reality.  I especially appreciate that the tone of her memoir is not defensive or attacking or apologetic.  Rather, because she is willing to expose her naiveté and ignorance with graciousness, I, as a liberal, white person very sensitive to race, was able to look at my own world and my place in it in a more open way.  I am grateful to Irving because she has given us a significant gift.

I encourage book groups to choose Waking Up White.  I believe that this book will generate heartfelt exploration and foster invaluable conversations.


Reviewed by: 
Renee

"Syria: Remember Me is the most important book of the season.  It may be one of the most important books of our time.  Through photographs, author Deborah Felmeth reminds us in a critical way what it means to be human.  Critical because she shows us Syrians whose goodness is easily forgotten.  She reminds us that there are places in this world that are being destroyed and therefore people whose lives are being shredded.
"Our media would have us believe that human beings, Syrians in this example, are to be feared.  I do not believe that this is true.  I believe that it is vitally important to know about and speak of a story that is being ignored."
—Renee

 

Syria: Remember Me (Hardcover)
by Deborah Felmeth
$75.00
ISBN: 9781935922926
Availability:  Available for purchase at Phoenix Books. Give us a call so we can put a copy on hold for you before this title sells out!
Published: Wind Ridge Books of Vermont

Syria: Remember Me bears witness in both words and images to the strong, dignified, beautiful, and complex lives of the Syrian people—from the fertile Euphrates River Valley to the wide-open expanse of the great Syrian Desert, and from the maze of overflowing markets to the spacious interiors of gold-domed mosques.

The photographs in this collection were taken over two decades, between 1991 and 2011, and precede the devastating war that now sweeps the beleaguered land. Today, the daily images of Syria that the media thrusts before us reveal only devastation, grief, rage, and the victimhood of war. The author hopes to hearten that view and encourage readers toward a more humanizing encounter. Turn the pages and gaze into the eyes of Syrians young and old, humble and proud, engaged in the simple miracle of living an everyday life at peace.

Reviewed by: 
Renee
101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History Cover Image
By Michele Bollinger (Editor), Dao X. Tran (Editor)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781608461561
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Haymarket Books - November 6th, 2012

I love this book because it teaches us about important people who have made a significant difference and improved lives.  It bypasses founding fathers and industry moguls in favor of regular folks who stood up for a cause.  It is a readable 'people's history, geared to middle school students, although my Dad picked it up and is reading it cover to cover.


Reviewed by: 
Renee
God Got a Dog Cover Image
By Cynthia Rylant, Marla Frazee (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442465183
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beach Lane Books - October 29th, 2013

As our world has gotten more complex and messy, and as many of us move away from organized religion, along comes this charming, warm and gracious book! Well worth a sit-down and read.


Reviewed by: 
Renee
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307352156
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - January 29th, 2013

Cain explains introverts for those who believe the myth that being extroverted is important. I was struck on many levels: what was I like at 5 or 10; how teachers navigate a classroom with a variety of personalities; how extroverted parents may struggle with introverted kids (and vice versa). Very well done and pretty much a must read!


Reviewed by: 
Renee
The Round House Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062065254
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - September 24th, 2013

Erdrich weaves a gripping story from the first. The Round House won the National Book Award for good reason!


Reviewed by: 
Renee
Phoenix Books is not the only business that exists because of our community. Cortese describes terrific work happening all over the country!
Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit from It Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780470911389
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: John Wiley & Sons - May 23rd, 2011

Reviewed by: 
Renee
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374533403
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 24th, 2012

Every medical professional should read this book! It explores the clash between culture and the American medical establishment. This book is both disturbing and important.


Reviewed by: 
Renee
This is the best dog book (and the only one you need)! Donaldson explains why dogs sometimes get in trouble in a human world. Incredibly pro-dog, as you will see in her somewhat sarcastic tone.
The Culture Clash Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781888047059
Availability: Special Order
Published: James & Kenneth Publishers - October 1st, 1996

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