Phoenix News

  • Essex, Vermont—September 9, 2011 Phoenix Books and Cafe added a new color to its palette with the launch of The Gallery at Phoenix Books. Owner Mike DeSanto says, "The addition of works from artists across Vermont positions us as an art gallery. Works by Vermont painters, photographers, and craftspeople are for sale." The Gallery at Phoenix has joined the Vermont Crafts Council, and will focus is gallery on Vermont artists and artisans. Phoenix is participating in the inaugural Foliage Open Studio Weekend on October 1st and 2nd, sponsored by the council.

    Foliage Open Studio Weekend marks the grand opening of the gallery, but only the first step in what DeSanto hopes will be a successful series of art shows: "Over the next year we'll host about six art shows, each with an opening reception and exhibition."

    The Gallery builds on Phoenix Books' long-standing relationship with the Essex Art League (EAL) - whose works they've exhibited since the store opened in 2007. "Phoenix Books gave the artists of the EAL an outstanding opportunity,” says Michelle Jackson of the EAL. “We’ve made many sales - and customers have brought home original pieces of artwork to enjoy. Mike is extremely supportive, and it’s wonderful to have a local place to share our art."

    Phoenix Books features pottery by Vermont artisans Judith Bryant, Warren Dixon and Lynn Flory. "I've always been very interested in art, and I already own pieces by Judith and Lynn, and a painting by Essex artist Lucia Chu," says DeSanto. "The level of talent and skill is simply amazing in our own community. Vermont artists rival any in New York or Boston."

    The Gallery at Phoenix Books is actively considering artists and artisans. Anyone desiring to supply works on a consignment basis should call Mike DeSanto or Colleen Shipman at 872-7111. "I'm interested in seeing some three-dimensional works as well," says DeSanto. The gallery comes highly recommended: “I’m honored to be a part of this independent bookstore,” says Warren Dixon. “They creatively display my work and are extremely helpful with the logistics of selling my pottery."

    DeSanto believes the commitment to sell functional and fine art puts Phoenix in a unique position among bookstores: “This is a lot more than hanging paintings by local artists on a wall, as you see in a restaurant. This is about making a commitment to artists to expand their reach into a new community. Phoenix Books stands behind this effort by featuring these local artists in our newsletter, within the store and as part of our overall marketing effort.

    "You can see, taste, touch and hold everything we sell here - unlike the virtual stuff online. Having a bookstore, with a cafe offering beer and wine and displaying beautiful works of stimulates all of our senses. I proudly say we're for mindful, thoughtful people - without being elitist or snooty! After all, you need to make a thoughtful choice just to visit our bookstore. I want to invite all art lovers to walk through those doors and see for yourselves how these works enhance and energize the physical space. It is quite transforming."

    For more information, please contact:
    Michael DeSanto
    Phoenix Books
    802.872.7111 (p)
    802.872.7112 (f)

    About Phoenix Books and Café: Phoenix Books was established in 2007 on the principles of social responsibility, community, and sustainability. Phoenix Books is a locally-owned, independent bookstore, gallery, and café, and a proud member of Local First Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. Whenever possible, Phoenix Books sources eco-friendly products from Fair Trade/Green Certified companies. ###

    Posted 03/07/2012
  • Click here to check out Michael in an advertisement for VSECU!  The advert is set to start airing this week! You can also find Michael in Seven Days' recent article "Print Versus Pixels," which explores - and questions - the value of e-readers.Michael DeSanto

    "When I buy a book," Michael says, "I'm buying more than the brief life of an electronic image on my screen.  I'm buying a lovely flower for my garden."  He goes on to say, "Here in Vermont, we don't feel compelled to [carry e-books] yet, with the emphasis on yet.  If selling e-books is necessary as part of a product mix for us to stay in business, I would do so.  That being said, I don't like 'em."

    Posted 03/07/2012
  • Click here to see The Gallery at Phoenix Books featured in Vermont Art Zine!

    Posted 03/07/2012
  • On February 7th, students at Brown's River Middle School participated in Vermont Writes Day. Students wrote for seven minutes, and had the option to polish that draft and enter it into a contest. Phoenix Books was proud to co-sponsor this event and to serve as an impartial jury in choosing the contest winners. Thank you to all who participated, and congratulations to Audrey, Lukas, Flannery, and Hana! Audrey Pearl (5th grader)I never really was an avid reader as a small child. Books frightened me with their big black print, and those crisp, white pages that tore so easily. They always had an overwhelming smell, ink and crinkling paper. As I grew older though, my knowledge blossomed like a flower, finally seeing the sun. My history as a reader started as a tiny seed of inspiration, and grew into a beautiful tree, healthy and proud. Now I love to get lost in a world of my imagination where I can let my soul fly free. Let go of all the terrifying realities of life and soar through page after page of adventure, fantasy, love, and happily ever-afters. The moment I pick up a book, my whole body changes. It starts with a tingling in the center of my heart and spreads all throughout my body, filling me with hope and anticipation! There in the world of literature, I feel magical, like I could do anything in the whole wide world!!! Books are so powerful. They can make you feel sad, joyful, angry, scared, hopeful, so many emotions pour from those black, black letters and soft white pages.Books are my life. Without them I would be lost, without a compass, without a light filled with knowledge and grace to guide me through this big, broad world!!!!!!!Lukas Keating (6th grader)I remember the first time I read. It was when I was 3 or 4 years old. I had just finished skiing, and I was very tired. We got down to the car, a beat up old blue Toyota and I was just about to sit down when- I noticed a book lying on the floor of the car. I picked it up and my mom said, "Hey Lukas, we have to go." I jumped into the car and, since I had nothing else to do, I read the book. I looked at the pictures and I read the words. By doing a combination of both I managed to successfully read it. I screamed in delight. The words gave me power. I could use them later on. I felt like I had discovered something new, something completely alien to me. The feeling was that of biting in to a sweet chocolate, rich joy and happiness. I felt special because now I could read. I treasured the power of reading forever, because it is the best thing that ever happened to me.Flannery Abbey (7th grader)The first thing I remembered was a flash of light, which probably wasn’t a good thing. I rubbed my head, dazed, and tried to push away the aching headache that was pulsing through my brain, muddling each one of my thoughts. There was a flash…the light was yellow? I couldn’t quite remember. More troubling, though, was the fact that I couldn’t remember my own name. Once it hit me, it was like a cannon had shot the idea off in my brain as I frantically tried to remember my name. It was no use. All I could remember was the flash, which didn’t help me much. My world was spinning, so I fumbled for something to touch, something to hold on to. I scrambled around, trying to find something, pawing at the air with furious and scared swings. At last my fingers brushed something in the darkness, something hard that was below me. Ah, that’ll be the floor. I thought, and then I was suddenly confused even more, which I wasn’t sure was possible. Frantically I pushed my fingers into the floor, as if I was trying to make them sink through, until the world stopped orbiting around me. I blinked, and tried to take in my surroundings. I traced the cracks in the floor with my fingers, feeling the dips and where each crack veered off, like a tiny river in the stone. I attempted to stand up, trying to steady my weight. Eventually I let my hands leave the rigid position they were in, clamped to my sides, and began to stubble around. I wobbled a bit as I walked, and even though my eyes were beginning to adjust to the darkness, I could not see much of anything. Eventually I reached what must have been a wall, which I realized in a moment, was also stone. With no visible door, and definitely no windows, I felt trapped, to say the least, if not held hostage against my will. I sank back to down to the floor, craving its solidarity as I tried to make sense of the strange conundrum that had befallen me. If I could remember the flash, I knew there must be more in my brain, something I just wasn’t reaching. There was some explanation for this, I thought. I paced around, thankful that my eyes had now fully adjusted to the darkness and were penetrating it with sharpness that might have resembled how an owl might see. Somehow, though, in even in the confused state I was in, that didn’t feel right. I carelessly threw the thought aside and further continued racking my brain for anything, anything at all I could remember. I could only remember the flash. Or so I thought. There was something else there, though, and I could feel it the way wind slips through your fingers. I just had to grab on to it. Squinting and aiming my concentration at the thought that was almost in my grasp, I attempted to mentally grab hold of it. It was like trying to capture smoke, and it almost taunted me. At last I came up with what I believed to be a part of it, knowing that this was no where close to the whole thing, and that I had been outwitted by my own mind, of all things. Oh the irony. A word, a simple word, was all it was. I felt like it was important, but that was it. There was no meaning connected to it, nothing that held a clue to its importance in my past. The word? Changling, and despite remembering a vast majority of other words and their meanings, the meaning of this one eluded me, which was especially frustrating when that was all I had to go on, besides the blinding flash. In other words, I was most likely doomed. Hana Kallen (8th grader)My mom is a reader, I swear that’s all she’s ever been, and ever will be. Me, I get lost in books, and just squirm around and can’t find my way out. My mom bought a giant bookshelf before I was born, when she was pregnant with me.”She’s going to be a reader,” my mom said. That bookshelf was filled with books by the time I was a year old. Sitting in my mom’s lap as she’d read to me. My eyes widened with wonder at the words dancing on the page. I learned to recite the alphabet when I was four years old, in preschool. Reading is like a huge glowing red exit sign above my head. It seems to say, leave reality for a while, escape with me. And I follow. Books are indescribable. The experience of it is just amazing. I don’t know where I would be today as a person if my mom didn’t read me three books to me before bed. If only every one had the chance to get lost in the amazing world of books. If only everyone had that glowing red exit sign.

    Posted 03/07/2012
  • If you missed our Phoenix Review Holiday 2011 edition, which was featured in the Tuesday, November 22 issue of the Burlington Free Press, be sure to download the PDF version here or stop by the store to pick up a copy! It's chock full of gift ideas for everyone on your holiday list.

    Posted 03/07/2012
  • "As of October, Essex, Vermont, once again has an independent bookstore..."  Read more.

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  • "Renee Reiner, owner of Phoenix Books in Essex Junction, remembers being “smitten” with Marty Galvin, her high school English teacher at Walt Whitman High School, in the late ’70s."  Read more.

    Posted 03/07/2012
  • "On a recent Saturday morning, Phoenix Books and Cafe bustled with customers anticipating book readings..."  Read more.

    Posted 03/07/2012
  • Did you miss the event with Michael Hastings?  Check out this vid from the Essex Reporter.

    Posted 03/07/2012
  • Listen in to this great show, including a recommendation of our own!

    Posted 03/07/2012