Last year when doing research on Quartzsite after I’d left, I saw a few references to a nudist who ran a bookstore. After thinking, oh, I missed that, I didn’t give it much thought.
When I met Iggy on Facebook and we compared our 2015 Quartzsite and RTR experiences, he asked if I’d been to the bookstore with the naked guy. When I said I hadn’t, he told me that during his visit, the owner wore nothing but a sock (and he wasn’t talking about on the guy’s foot). Iggy said the guy sometimes wore a jacket if the temperature dropped.
The naked guy in the bookstore became a joke between us (along with the English dish called spotted dick, but that’s a whole other story). Once I got to Quartzsite, I kept saying I was going to go to the bookstore and see the naked guy, but I kept leaving town before I made it out that way. Finally on the last Saturday of the RTR, I paid my visit.
I did see Paul when I walked into the shop. He was wearing big glasses, a jacket, and a black…what to call it? Thong? Pouch? Penis sheath? Banana hammock? What I’m trying to say is that his penis and testicles were covered, but not much else was. When he turned around (yes, I looked), I saw his butt cheeks and a strip of cloth running up his butt crack. (Wedgie city!) It really wasn’t all that shocking. However, I was expecting to see a naked guy there. I’m sure it would have been more shocking had I stumbled across a nearly naked man in a bookstore.
The bookstore is incredible! It is big and stuffed full of books and handwritten signs and pictures and shiny rocks and memorabilia. There is a lot to see in that store. The selection is broad, from 3 for $1 romance novels to military history to old-school children’s books to cookbooks to books on religion to books pertaining specifically to the Southwest. The bookmark I ended up buying (featuring a photo of Paul with his thumb up and sporting a big beard and shades; wearing multiple turquoise necklaces, a straw hat, and a bit of cloth over his privates) boasts over 180,000 titles, and I believe it.
One unusual thing I noticed (in addition to the nearly naked proprietor) was that the majority of the books in the place are tightly wrapped in plastic. Why? One person (unaffiliated with the bookstore) I talked to thought maybe it was to keep dust out of the books. Personally, I’d be hesitant to buy a used book I couldn’t check for mold, water damage, or loose binding.
I also noticed that Paul seems to play up the wackiness of a naked guy in a bookstore. There were photos of him throughout the store, many featuring different penis coverings. I guess if there’s a naked guy in a bookstore anyway, it’s a good way to draw people in. If you’ve got a naked guy around, you might as well flaunt him.
It’s easy to laugh at a naked guy selling books, but in the photos of him scattered through the store, Paul looks like a happy man. If his dream was to be a nudist in the desert and sell books, he’s quite a success. There aren’t too many places where a man can wear a thong in January and not (literally) freeze his balls off. As a nudist in Quartzsite, Paul pretty much has it made.
I didn’t buy any books at Reader’s Oasis. I had plenty of books in the van, and I’m being careful about the money I’m spending. But I did buy two Reader’s Oasis bookmarks. One is for me so I can hang it in the big collage in my van. The other is for Iggy because I knew he wouldn’t buy one for himself.
I took the photo in this post.