Sunday, June 28, 2009

Indie Profile: Readers Oasis--Quartzsite, AZ

Well, it is hard to say anything about Readers Oasis without first mentioning the owner-operator Paul Winer, who has his own unique way of beating the heat. I had passed this bookstore several times but I was usually on my way to the airport and hadn't had the chance to stop in. Finally, I set aside the time.

I had been "warned" about Paul some time ago, but I guess the details had slipped my mind. I was browsing the store when he suddenly appeared from around a corner and the effect of this mostly naked man suddenly upon me was startling. I tried to catch myself, but I think he saw me visibly flinch.

The store is an open-air diverse mix of books, magazines, music, videos, and memorabilia. It is located in the small desert town of Quartzsite, a community that balloons in the winter with RV-ing winter visitors. The store is homey and informal. I don't even think there is a cash register. Winer also keeps a sizable section of free merchandise, ready for the taking, quite a novelty in today's environment.

If you are looking for a specific book, and you want to find it quickly, Readers Oasis is probably not the best option. While there is some effort to section off areas by subject and genre, the divisions didn't seem very consistent. Nothing is alphabetized and many items are stacked one atop another. Come ready to browse leisurely in an eclectic, quirky atmosphere. It's definitely worth a stop.

Goindependent Rating: Three Emeralds

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