Best of the Bay 2012: BEST LITERARY VALHALLA

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For lovers of esoteric literature, 2141 Mission is a dream come true. The unassuming storefront (the building's ground floor is occupied by the standard hodgepodge of Mission District discount stores) belies a cluster of alternative bookstores on its upper levels. Valhalla Books is flush with titles in their debut printing; Libros Latinos holds exactly that; lovers of law history will find their joy in the aisles of Meyer Boswell; and the building's largest shop, Bolerium Books, holds records of radical history — volumes and magazines that together form a fascinating look at the gay rights, civil rights, labor, and feminist movements (and more!). Most visitors make the pilgrimage with something specific in mind, but walk-ins are welcome as long as they have a love of the printed page.

Bolerium Books, No. 300. (415) 863-6353, www.bolerium.com; Libros Latinos, No. 301. (415) 793-8423, www.libroslatinos.com; Meyer Boswell, No. 302. (415) 255-6400, www.meyerbos.com; Valhalla Books, No. 202. (415) 863-9250