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These events all took place in our Burlington store.

Ghost Stories & Mysteries with Michael Nethercott (Burlington)

What happens when an unlikely pair of sleuths take on a murder case with a paranormal twist and the leader of a ghostly club dies while talking with spirits? Find out when Michael Nethercott, author of The Seance Society, visits Phoenix Books Burlington.

Nethercott will begin the event by telling several ghost stories, both traditional and (presumably) true—from his sprawling Irish family. Nethercott’s newly released novel The Séance Society (St. Martin’s Press) is the first installment of a series set in the 1950s. Following the storytelling, Nethercott will read a short excerpt from The Séance Society, discuss the book, and field audience questions.

About the book: It's 1956, and Lee Plunkett has taken over the family business as a private investigator despite his reluctance to follow in his father's footsteps. When murder intrudes on a group of ghost seekers, Lee is asked to solve the case by a cop on the verge of retirement. At the urging of his perpetual fiancée Audrey, Lee enlists the help of Mr. O'Nelligan, a scholarly Irishman with a keen eye for solving mysteries. The duo is drawn into a murder investigation involving the “Spectricator," a machine designed to communicate with the dead. Soon, Plunkett and O'Nelligan are knee-deep in a suspect pool that includes a surly medium, a former speakeasy queen, a mysterious Spanish widow, and a whole slew of eccentric servants. Engaging, charming, and smart, The Séance Society by Michael Nethercott is a fresh take on the traditional mystery genre for readers who love original characters, witty dialogue, and a great whodunit.

Michael Nethercott is a past winner of The Black Orchid Novella Award, The Vermont Playwrights Award, and The Nor’easter Play Writing Contest. He lives with his wife in Guilford, Vermont.

The Seance Society: A Mystery Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781250017390
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability.
Published: Minotaur Books - October 1st, 2013

"The Witch, the Wheel and the Sleepy Princess" with the Very Merry Theatre (Burlington)

The Witch, the Wheel and the Sleepy Princess is an adaptation for older children and adults of the age-old Sleeping Beauty tale. It combines young actors, marionettes, rod and hand puppets with music and visual imagery.

Very Merry Theatre is a non-profit theater company for children and teenagers that produces shows in many schools, at their own 333Stage in Burlington's old north end, and at a variety of other locations year round. Over a thousand children in northwestern VT perform in a Very Merry show each year, many of which are our own musical adaptations of great literary classics. For more information, go to

Your $5 suggested donation will benefit Very Merry Theatre and Phoenix Books.

A Discussion of Difference with Helen Hipp, author of A Different Kind of Safari

What do your children and students need to feel happy about being different? Educators, parents, and home school providers are invited to join Helen Hipp, author of A Different Kind of Safari, for an open discussion of this question. Find out what you can learn from Rosie the pink hippo, and how you can share those lessons with the children in your life.

Based loosely on real life experiences, A Different Kind of Safari is a creative and fun heartwarming adventure book. The book is intended for parents, caregivers, teachers and children who may have felt at some point in their life that they were different from their peers. A book for all ages, the story clearly presents itself as a thought provoking, illustrating how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are. Feeling “different and lonely” Raymond befriends a hippo while on Safari in Africa. Unlike other grey hippos, this hippo is pink. Ray is soon carried into a world of wonderment, a world beyond labels and challenging assumptions.

Prior to becoming a full-time professional Life Coach and author, Helen received her masters in counseling at Johnson State College and became a credentialed psychotherapist in 2007. Helen's practice, WithinU Life Coaching, supports adults and specializes in supporting adults with special needs and their families. Helen has over 13 years of counseling experience and over 20 years experience as a successful advocate for individuals with special needs.

Tree of Knowledge

Phoenix Books is excited to announce our Tree of Knowledge Summer Reading Program for all of our young customers! Sign-up begins on June 20th, but feel free to join throughout the summer.

Over the summer, participants are encouraged to visit Phoenix Books Essex and Phoenix Books Burlington. While visiting, they'll be given a “leaf” on which they'll document their latest read. Leaves will be attached to our in-store Tree of Knowledge. Readers help the Tree "grow" all summer long by reading books and gaining new knowledge!

Our reading program is designed to be laid back, fun, and free of competition. It will run through the end of August, and is open to kids of all ages.  Come on in to sign up and get your reading log!

Bookstore Bingo

Kids entering 4th-8th grade in the fall are invited to play Bookstore Bingo this summer!  Read books to achieve "BINGO:"

  • Complete 1 line or 4 corners and kids get a free advance reading copy (while supplies last).
  • Complete the outer border and enter to win a $25 gift card and other great prizes.
  • Complete the entire card and enter to win a $50 gift card and other great prizes

Come on in to either Phoenix Books location to sign up and get your Bingo card!  Sign-up begins June 20th, but feel free to join throughout the summer.

Participants of Bookstore Bingo are encouraged to take part in our Tree of Knowledge summer reading program as well.

Legendary Locals of Burlington with Robert Resnik (Burlington)

Longtime Burlington resident and reference librarian Robert J. Resnik has collected a wealth of photographs from local archives and personal collections showcasing the remarkable variety of entrepreneurs, artists, businesses, and individual characters that have contributed to making Burlington such an interesting place. Legendary Locals of Burlington boasts more than 200 images of the places and peoples that make Burlington legendary - including, we're proud to say, Phoenix Books co-owners Mike DeSanto and Renee Reiner!

It is not just the beautiful scenery and endlessly interesting weather that makes Burlington desirable but also the amazing people and businesses of Burlington that make it unique. Burlington is the hometown of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream; Horatio Nelson Jackson, the first man to drive an automobile across the continental United States; the Lake Champlain Chocolate Company; first lady Grace Coolidge; the Vermont Pub & Brewery, one of the nation’s first brewpubs; philosopher and educator John Dewey; the world-renowned jam band Phish; a small army of accomplished and eclectic artists; and more interesting coffee and tea shops than almost any other small city in the country.

Robert J. Resnik is not a native Vermonter (although his mother’s family arrived in Burlington from what is now Belarus in the 1890s), but he has lived in the Burlington area for more than 40 years. In addition to his full time job as a librarian at the Fletcher Free Library (where he has worked since 1990) and his fondness for everything related to the local history of Burlington, Robert also loves music. He plays more than 30 different musical instruments, writes music reviews for local papers, serves as a program consultant for a variety of area concert venues and has also has been the host of “All the Traditions,” a popular folk and world music radio program on Vermont Public Radio, since 1996. Robert is also well-known in northern Vermont as a wild mushroom hunter and a wild chef.

Legendary Locals of Burlington, Vermont Cover Image
ISBN: 9781467100663
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Legendary Locals - July 15th, 2013

Flying Blind with Don Mitchell (Burlington)

This Halloween season, bats just might prove to be man's best friend: Join Don Mitchell for a discussion of his unlikely adventures befriending bats - and ruminating on the nature of authority, the purview of the state, and the value of inhabiting one’s niche along the way.  Don's new book is entitled Flying Blind.

About the Book: When a biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department approaches Middlebury writing professor and shepherd Don Mitchell about tracking endangered Indiana bats on his 150-acre farm in Vermont’s picturesque Champlain Valley, Mitchell’s relationship with bats—and with government—can be characterized as distrustful, at best.

But the flying rats, as Mitchell initially thinks of them, launch him on a series of “improvements” to his land that will provide a more welcoming habitat for the bats—and a modest tax break for himself and his family. Whether persuading his neighbors to join him in pulling invasive garlic mustard out of the ground by hand (marketed to them as an opportunity for “silent meditation”), navigating the tacit ground rules of buying an ATV off Craigslist, or leaving just enough honeysuckle to give government inspectors “something to find,” Mitchell’s tale is as profound as it is funny—a journey that changes Mitchell’s relationship with bats, the land, and, ultimately, his understanding of his own past.

The interwoven narratives of contemplations on nature and life in Flying Blind are in the vein of Terry Tempest Williams’s Refuge and Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. “Befriending bats had been a means to figure out, against all odds, where in the world I actually was. And exactly who I was,” Mitchell writes. “And to participate—thankfully, joyfully—in the wild party that keeps going on around us.”

Don Mitchell is a novelist, essayist, and sometime screenwriter whose most recent books are The Nature Notebooks (a novel) and a guidebook to Vermont in the Fodor’s/Compass American series. He’s also the architect and builder of over a dozen low-cost, energy-efficient structures on Treleven Farm, and a shepherd with thirty-five years’ experience managing a flock of sheep there. One of his current interests is forest management with the goal of enhancing habitat for endangered bats. From 1984 to 2009 Don taught courses at Middlebury College, primarily in creative writing–especially narrative fiction and writing for film–and environmental literature. Now he devotes most of his time to projects designed to enhance the farm and support the vision of Treleven, Inc.

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Flying Blind: One Man's Adventures Battling Buckthorn, Making Peace with Authority, and Creating a Home for Endangered Bats Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781603585200
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability.
Published: Chelsea Green Publishing Company - August 23rd, 2013

Shadows Walking: Douglas Skopp (Burlington)

Join us in welcoming Douglas R. Skopp to Burlington for a reading and discussion of his novel Shadows Walking, the story of a doctor in Nazi Germany who attempts to fathom the unfathomable.

About the Book: Johann Brenner, an idealistic physician and ardent German nationalist, has joined the Nazi Party and willingly participated in its “crimes against humanity.” His Jewish boyhood friend, Philipp Stein, has also become a doctor. Their lives inevitably intersect until their last, fateful meeting at Auschwitz. After the war, Brenner, now with stolen papers and a new name, becomes a janitor in the courthouse where the Nuremberg Trials are being held. Hoping to “heal himself” and begin a new life with his estranged wife, he decides that he must write her a letter telling what he has done—and why.

A SUNY Distinguished University Teaching Professor emeritus, Douglas R. Skopp taught aspects of modern German history, including the World Wars and the Holocaust, during his career at SUNY Plattsburgh. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1963, earned a Master’s Degree in Medieval Studies from Connecticut College in 1964, and a Ph.D. in History from Brown University in 1972. During 1985-1986, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar/Teacher, serving as a guest professor at the Leibniz Universitӓt in Hannover, Germany, and conducting archival research in major German and British archives that forms the base of his research for Shadows Walking.

Star Wars Reads Day Returns! (Burlington)

Celebrate Star Wars Reads Day and master the art of reading! We'll have the latest Star Wars books (for everyone from kids to adults), costumed character appearances by 501st Legion members, Star Wars-themed crafts, and more! Costumes welcome.

The 501st Legion is a world-wide costuming organization dedicated to the 'Bad Guys' (they quibble on that term) of the franchise. They also work closely with their sister organization, the Rebel Legion. While they focus on movie-quality costumes, they work to give back to the communities in which they live. Learn more here.

The local branch of the 501st Legion attended Free Comic Book Day on Church Street with Earth Prime Comics, and trooped at the Brownell Library to support their Star Wars Club, as well as at the Derby Line Community Day. They're actively seeking recruits.  Anyone interested in joining the dark side?

Star Wars Reads Day is a national event that celebrates reading and Star Wars. It was created by Lucasfilm and its publishing partners--Abrams, Chronicle Books, Dark Horse, Del Rey, DK Publishing, Random House Audio, Scholastic, Titan Magazines and Workman.  The first Star Wars Reads Day took place in October of 2012.  Here are a couple of photos from our 2012 SWRD event:

My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl's Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize with Jody Williams (Burlington)

Join us in welcoming Nobel Laureate Jody Williams to Burlington! Jody Williams, who received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ban landmines, is founding chair of the Nobel Women's Initiative, launched in January 2006.  Her new memoir is entitled My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl's Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize.

About the book: From her modest beginnings to becoming the tenth woman--and third American woman--to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Jody Williams takes the reader through the ups and downs of her tumultuous and remarkable life. In a voice that is at once candid, straightforward, and intimate, Williams describes her Catholic roots, her first step on a long road to standing up to bullies with the defense of her deaf brother Stephen, her transformation from good girl to college hippie at the University of Vermont, and her protest of the war in Vietnam. She relates how, in 1981, she began her lifelong dedication to global activism as she battled to stop the U.S.-backed war in El Salvador.

Throughout the memoir, Williams underlines her belief that an "average woman"--through perseverance, courage and imagination--can make something extraordinary happen. She tells how, when asked if she'd start a campaign to ban and clear anti-personnel mines, she took up the challenge, and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) was born. Her engrossing account of the genesis and evolution of the campaign, culminating in 1997 with the Nobel Peace Prize, vividly demonstrates how one woman's commitment to freedom, self-determination, and human rights can have a profound impact on people all over the globe.

Jody Williams is the recipient of fifteen honorary degrees, and in 2004 Forbes magazine named her one of the hundred most powerful women in the world in its first such list. Since 1998 she has served as a Campaign Ambassador for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which she helped found in 1992. Williams holds the Sam and Cele Keeper Endowed Professorship in Peace and Social Justice at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. In 2012-13, she became the inaugural Jane Addams Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Social Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

My Name Is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl's Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize (California Series in Public Anthropology #25) Cover Image
By Jody Williams, Eve Ensler (Foreword by)
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780520270251
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: University of California Press - March 12th, 2013


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