Not Yet, But Maybe Soon

  • Posted on: 30 May 2020
  • By: readersbooks

We're ready for the green light...

Governor Newsom gave the go-ahead for retail stores to open for browsing this week, so now we are just waiting for the county to give us clearance. We have been thinking about how this might look for some time now and we want to assure you that we are ready to address your health and safety concerns. Here is what you can expect: 

Our hours will be from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. everyday, except Sunday when we will be closing at 3:30 p.m. for a weekly deep-clean. No one will be allowed in the store unless they are wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth. All staff members will be masked and gloved. When you enter the front door there will be a table with hand sanitizer and gloves: we ask that you stop there first and either use the sanitizer or put on a pair of gloves. Only seven customers will be allowed in store at a time; all are expected to keep social distancing in mind and maintain a six foot clearance between people. This might mean that you cannot browse the fiction tables until someone else moves away--please be mindful. Ask before you reach, allow others to make room, share the road, so to speak.

We will continue to offer no-contact pickups in the back garden area, so the back door will be locked. If you know what you want (and you don't want to browse) we will be happy to take your phone order and have it ready for you in the garden. At the desk you will find tape markers on the carpeting; as we are not installing plexi-shields we ask that you stay behind these marks. Form one line (six feet between) and go to the first open of the two cash registers. Sorry but no debit cards (pinpads) at this time; we will run all cards as credit cards.

We have removed most of the chairs in the store--we can't allow you to sit for long periods at this time. Every hour we will sanitize all doorknobs, keyboards, telephones etc. The bathroom will be locked. You can ask for a key, but if we have not had the time to clean it between each use, we will have to say no. 

At this point in time we will not be accepting any used books, either as a donation or for store credit. We are working on a plan to use an appointment system but we need to keep things clean and safe so for now please do not drop off any books. The same will apply to potential consignments: we have to wait and see how things work, so no consignments at this time.

This may sound like a lot of rules and regulations and it is not our wish to discourage you from coming to see us. (We miss you!) This is a transition from shelter-in-place to a brave new world and we hope you understand that we are intent on keeping our staff and our customers healthy. 

But until we have the county's approval to open, we have our phones staffed for your orders and inquiries between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm every day (except Sunday, when we will be available between 10 am and 2 pm.) If you'd like to talk with a real live bookseller, please call 707-939-1779. Orders that are on hand can be picked up in the back garden area--no contact necessary. And we are also able to deliver locally if you do not wish to go out. If you prefer to order books in the middle of the night our website is always 'open' or, if you want something mailed to your door, check out our curated lists on the site

We thank you for your continued support, we want to do all we can to fulfill your book-related needs. We have some terrific graduation cards on display in the back pick-up area and we can make suggestions for gifts or hold up titles through the glass or send out a gift certificate for you. We can make recommendations for all kinds of readers, anything between baby books and the newest mystery thriller. Call us, we are booksellers--it's what we love to do.


Keep Calm and Wash Thy Hands

  • Posted on: 14 March 2020
  • By: readersbooks

UPDATE 3/18/20

We are closed at present. When Sonoma County says it is safe to reopen, we shall. Although we are closed to the public, someone can take your phone order between the hours of 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. every day. We can mail books to you as needed.  For all transactions we will need credit card prepayment over the phone.  Please also check out our new site-- Also, because of this emergency, we regret that we cannot accept any used books at this time. Please consult our newsletter and/or our website for further updates. Hang tight, meanwhile. We’ll get through this eventually.

All the gang at Readers’ 

We want to let you know what we are doing to address the COVID-19 situation in our area. We are open and planning to stay open--like the rest of you, we've been through bad times before and we'll keep on truckin'. Of course we are taking orders here on our website, but feel free to give us a call as well (707-939-1779) to see what we have in stock and what we can order for you. We'll be happy to do curbside pickup--there's plenty of parking these days! And, situation depending, we may be able to bring your books to you in the Sonoma Valley area for free. If you are farther afield, we'd like to remind you that USPS media mail is cheap, easy, and safe. If you make it down here into the store, we also want to assure you that we've become cleaning demons and we're trying to keep visitors and staff alike as safe as we can. We've made the decision to postpone our March and April events, but watch this space for information about our in-store events and check out our social media pages for some good reading suggestions. We could not exist without our lovely customers. For 28 years, we've been proud of our position here in Sonoma: truly a gathering place for readers of all ages. Thank you for continuing to support your local indie bookstores through good times and bad.

A Bunch of Square--from Rosie

  • Posted on: 20 March 2020
  • By: readersbooks

I have always been a maker of things. As my mother tells me, when I discovered scissors, tape, and yarn, there was no stopping me ("Do you know how much trouble a toddler can get into with those?") When I was nine, I reverse-engineered the art of draping clothing, using various soft bodied dolls and a plethora of straight pins. I used to listen to A Little Princess on tape from the library, and dress my dolls according to the various plot points. When I was fifteen, I made my first knitted sweaters. When I was sixteen, I made my first lap quilt.

It's All Connected--from Andy

  • Posted on: 20 March 2020
  • By: readersbooks

This coming week marks the one year anniversary of the death of my wife, Lilla, and to say it is freighted with emotion for me is, well, an understatement. I went out to the cemetery the other day to pay her a visit. I don't do it as often as I probably should, in part because it's a bit of a drive, but mainly because whenever I do, I realize again just how important a role she played in my life and, in the wake of all that's happened since, how much I've taken hold of my own destiny  This is as much a shock to me sometimes as losing her: to see how much in one short year I've changed.

We were partners, she and I. We took turns dreaming. She agreed to take our two small children and come with me to live in Japan for a year; I agreed with her to leave our happy home in New England and come back to California and start a bookstore from scratch. It was a dance, and often, my role was that of the junior partner, in that I appreciated the various visions Lilla had for our future and was mostly willing to go along with them (I did balk at the romance of camping across the United States, I remember, and she eventually owned up that that was one of her dumber ideas.)

But now I'm on my own, which means that my judgments (informed, uninformed) are irrevocable, and no matter what I do, at the end of the day I own my mistakes. Suddenly, things are grim, existential. There is no partnering, no palming it off on the misguided thinking of your mate. No shock absorber or shoulder to cry on. You do your best to think things through and cross your fingers. You never want things to go wrong, but the truth is, things go wrong from time to time. That's the nature of the universe: you can only control so much

The one year anniversary of a death, the yahrzeit, it's called in Judaism, is important. The rabbis say you are supposed to grieve for a year, then, after that time, you are instructed to move on, renew. That's the tradition, although I've found that while I've been grieving steadily over Lilla, it has not been as simple as reciting a prayer each and every day. There are days when I miss her terribly, and others when she's almost a perfect stranger, when I have to remind myself that she was by my side for forty-four years. Days when I see her reflected in the bookstore and in casual conversations, and other days when she's absent altogether. 

I can't see how I will ever come to the point where she will fade entirely from my memory--not after so many years, so many mutual experiences, the pain, the joy, so much back and forth. But a year has passed, and of course I want to have a fresh, new life. Or let me put it this way: it would be refreshing to have a new life, especially in the time I have remaining. How one goes about that, though, is another matter.

It took them many months to construct her marker. She's buried in a lovely spot, quiet and unencumbered by other graves, and it is a beautiful green stone slab. Simple. Elegant. I think I did well in choosing the elements. I'm sure she would have approved. I stood there and thought about her. And I laid a bunch of lilacs over the marker as a present. Here, I thought to myself, here Lil, I brought these for you.Then I picked up nearby stone and laid it down it as well. Stones is another thing Jews do: we lay them down on graves to show that we were there. That we haven't forgotten. That we're reliable and we'll be back.

Lest you think it's easy to write these words, I probably ought to tell you, it isn't. It tears me up, in fact, but I force myself to do it because not only does it keep me connected to my previous life, it's the only way I know that will pave my way into the next. I don't believe in angels or God. Grief, on the other hand, is real. And grief and redemption are interwoven, at least in my mind. It's how I roll. 

--Andy Weinberger

From Andy: A Moving Target

  • Posted on: 16 March 2020
  • By: readersbooks

If you’ve been watching the news (and who hasn’t?) lately, you will know that the rapidly spreading coronavirus has created fear and in some cases, panic, in California.  The governor has told us not to congregate in numbers larger than fifty. It is not yet a law, but he strongly suggests it, and of course, on medical grounds he is right.  

The short-term economic impact of such an action will surely be devastating for Sonoma--bad for large corporations, but even worse for the rest of us, mom-and-pop operations just loping along, even in the best of times.   

Readers’ Books takes the health and safety of our customers very seriously, and we will never compromise on that issue.  We also feel a deep responsibility to our staff and to all you book-lovers out there who would be bereft if deprived of the wealth of new books coming on the market. To further compound the situation, Sonoma public libraries have announced that they will be closed until the end of March at least.

So what to do? Some of my friends in the book business have decided to close their doors until the craziness passes. The virus will abate eventually. Warmer weather is ahead, and that’s a good thing. But you can’t put an exact date on when or how severe our local experience will be. It seems to be related to population density, and it also seems that social isolation, or just staying at home, will be a big part in winning this coming battle.

For the time being, we’ve decided to keep our doors open. We will be curtailing most author events, we will also be closing an hour earlier than usual, at six. Our reasoning is that this is a small town (low density), we think (hope) we fulfill a vital need in this community, and it is very rare (nowadays especially) that we find anything even approaching a crowd in our store. The truth is that book browsing is a largely solitary occupation. People come in one at a time and mull over this or that table, make their purchase and leave, sometimes without ever saying a word. It’s rather monastic, in fact. 

We can understand why you might want to hold off on consumerism for now, but we urge you to consider the long term effect.  We are doing everything we can to keep the wheels greased, but we need you to step up as well. And it’s not just Readers’ Books I’m talking about, it’s all the small, local stores you love to patronize. If you want this garden to be around in the days and weeks to come, it’s the same story--you just have to water it.  Even if you don’t have an immediate book need, here’s one easy idea you might take to heart--how about calling up and buying a gift certificate to put toward future purchases? We’ll happily mail it out or hold it for you and you’ll have some of your Christmas or Hanukkah taken care of! Christmas in March! What a concept.  

As I said, we are monitoring this thing on a daily basis and will let you know. We want to stay in business, yes, but we also want what’s best for all of us. Meantime, wash thy hands.

--Andy Weinberger


Our Own Andy's Book!

  • Posted on: 13 September 2019
  • By: readersbooks

Just in case you missed it, Readers' Books owner Andy Weinberger is proud to present his first novel, An Old Man's Game: An Amos Parisman Mystery. It's a PI novel like you've never seen before, featuring retired private eye Amos Parisman, who is hired by the local temple's board when a controversial rabbi drops dead over his matzoh ball soup at Canter's Deli in Los Angeles. As he looks into what seems to be a simple, tragic accident, Amos uncovers a world of treachery and hurt that shakes a large L.A. Jewish community to its core.

An Old Man's Game: An Amos Parisman Mystery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781945551642
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Prospect Park Books - December 3rd, 2019

Lilla Gilbrech Weinberger Obituary

  • Posted on: 29 March 2019
  • By: readersbooks

Lilla Gilbrech Weinberger, beloved Sonoma bookseller and political organizer, died suddenly and unexpectedly, Sunday, March 24th, following a tragic fall down a flight of stairs.That was how it ended. But that one sentence doesn’t begin to encompass her life. 

Born in Pasadena, California, on October 8, 1941, she grew up in a mixed-raced, working class neighborhood. Her father was an engineer who spent the bulk of his career in aero-space and her mother was a skilled gardener and seamstress.