This week on Visual Tuesday – we’re giving you quite the feast for the eyes.
As you all know, we’re on the road to Florida to finish the plumbing, skylights, and some carpentry in our renovation. Sade and I have done all we can to get the bus in tip top shape for the trip, paying mechanics to fix Jolene’s boo-boos, demo-ing the back half and reorganizing it into a livable space, and painting and prepping the bookstore front half for selling.
We’re driving through Arizona currently, and just HAD to stop in Quartzsite to witness what my Roadside America app called “The Naked Bookstore Owner.” The store is *actually* called Reader’s Oasis Books, and is run by a lovely man named Paul Winer (no, not Wiener), aka Sweet Pie. He’s run this bookstore for decades, and is a famous musician, and local legend as well.
At first, yes, his free…spirit…might be shocking to some, but he is SO kind, and like his namesake, sweet as pie, that he immediately puts you at ease. Of course, we couldn’t help but immediately horn in..err, rather..hone in on the horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and kids sections in his gorgeous, homespun store that’s crammed to the rafters with over 200,000 books. A fact he very proudly shared with us early in our visit – and we don’t doubt him – every available (cough) crevice was packed with an incredible of number books, cassette tapes, CDs, comics, you name it – this man probably had a copy or two lying around.
We scored some amazing Goosebumps titles missing from our collection, some terrifying tomes for our horror stock, along with excellent vintage cassettes to listen to while we’re on the road, including some Paul gifted us from his extra backstock (thanks, Paul!). We also learned that a massive percentage of Quartzsite’s business happens in January and February with the huge RV show and that nearly a MILLION people migrate to camp and buy/sell at this huge sporting goods, RV, and swap meet sale. Nearly 2 miles of tents can be explored – and people come from all over the country for this annual event. Paul generously offered to host The Road Virus next year if we wanted to return (heck YES!). He believes, as we do, that independent booksellers are not in competition with one another, but can in fact, benefit from one another by bringing attention to the carefully curated collections and the unique, um, attractions each bookstore claims.
If you are ever in western Arizona, I wholeheartedly suggest stopping in Quartzsite and visiting Reader’s Oasis Books. You’re sure to find a volume or two you cannot live without, and the owner will delight you with his distinctive charm and wit, and with his genuinely generous nature. We know The Road Virus won’t be able to resist the beckoning call of the Oasis when we return to the American Southwest.