Friday, January 25, 2008


Reader's Oasis Books, Quartzsite's only permanent bookstore, looks like a typical retail establishment in a small Arizona town from the outside. The inside is not too unusual, either, except for the abundance of rare or hard-to-find books...

But book-lovers are not the only visitors flocking to the Reader's Oasis. This unusual attraction is "home" to Paul Winer, aka "The Naked Bookseller". A yellow public notice, posted next to the door, alerts visitors: this is not your average bookstore!

I was reminded of the Naked Bookseller recently when I saw a photo of my friend Jo Wishnie with Mr. Winer on Jo's blog. When I received an email recently from Jo mentioning that she would be in Quartzsite yesterday afternoon, I arranged to meet her there so we could visit The Reader's Oasis so I could see the star attraction in person.

Here (on the right) is the usual view of Paul Winer, wearing his "thong", his hat, and his filp-flops, his usual garb. He has been a practicing nudist for his entire adult life - and is actually much tanner than this picture shows.

The day I visited was cold, and Paul was wearing a sweater! Oh, well... his conventional upper-body garb was offset by his new thong, given to him that very day by two women patrons of the bookstore: a sock monkey! (I think you can click on the photo to enlarge it if ou are so inclined.)

Paul is an interesting conversationalist and entertained Jo and me with the story of his "prior life" in Vermont as a nude entertainer named Sweet Pie. You soon forget he is naked (which he WASN'T when I was talking with him); he seems like just another of the colorful characters that populate the Arizona desert towns.

My friend Judy says that a photo of "Laurie without her hat on" is a rare sight. Perhaps no one else will notice how underdressed I am but, Judy, to make this photo even more collectable, I took my hat off. Enjoy!

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