better than a winery tour, and at author events you might get a glass
Perhaps it says something about my marriage that Mac and I, on a 24th anniversary trip to Napa and Sonoma last week, visited not a single winery, but did find time to browse the shelves of Readers’ Books.
I’ve browsed this bookstore on my way to and from fellow novelist Terry Gamble’s house, where I’ve occasionally been treated to writing retreats. If you know me, then you probably know that Terry’s Good Family is one of my favorite books, so I was thrilled to see the poster for it on the wall. It was the first time I’d been in Readers’ Books with Mac, though, and Mac meets people everywhere he goes. So instead of anonymously and quietly browsing and buying, I met and chatted with Andy Weinberger, who – with his wife Lilla – has owned the store for more than 20 years. They are clearly the best kind of people: two east-coasters who fell in love with Sonoma, noted it didn’t have a bookstore, and packed away their former lives to move west and open one. (There’s a nice piece about their journey to bookstore ownership on the Sonoma Patch.)
Readers’ has a fabulous patio out back with a gorgeous fountain – a lovely place to read, as well as to enjoy events. They also occasionally do offsite events, like their Summer Poetry Series, which they are doing in partnership with Sonoma Valley Art Museum. This Thursday, Gwynn O’Gara, Patti Trimble, Mike Tuggle, and Bill Varnaw will be kicking that off at the museum.
Did I mention the store was open on the Fourth of July?
If you need further inducement to make time during your next winery tour to stop by, there hangs on the wall a stunning signed letter received as thanks for time spent on the American Booksellers’ Association board. I’ll leave you to drop in to see which famous writer’s signature it bears.
And if you doubt the benefits of marrying a man who prefers book tasting to wine tasting on a post-holiday-parade, post-anniversary afternoon, read this anniversary post Mac wrote. The photo, from our honeymoon, shows me with book, rather than wine glass, in hand. – Meg
I do occasional posts highlighting independent booksellers, who are so important to helping new literary voices find their audiences; the independents–especially those in the bay area–were instrumental in helping me find mine. If you have a favorite bookstore, please email me and I’ll do my best to have it featured here.