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Best General Bookstore
Where to conjure up visions of Athens 

Moe's Books

Four stories tall, more than forty years old, four blocks from the UC Berkeley campus, and packed to the gills with new and used books in dozens of deliciously arcane categories that tell you you're not in Kansas anymore, Moe's is a living legend. Founded during a local literary renaissance and still helmed by the original owner's daughter, it hosts poetry readings regularly and has been a hangout for several generations of bards, rebels, and wannabes of every artistic, political, and philosophical stripe who cling feverishly to Berkeley's image as Athens West. Like a semisecret aerie on the uppermost floor, Moe's art and antiquarian shop features first editions, monographs, art books, and the sort of collectibles over which you just can't stumble in thrift shops anymore. Some of the staff have worked here for decades, so when they tell you where to find a Sumerian-English dictionary or that illustrated edition of The Hollow Earth, believe them.

Readers' Pick:
Cody's Books
Two Berkeley locations: 2454 Telegraph Ave., 510-845-7852;
1730 Fourth St., 510-559-9500

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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