Best of the Bay 2012: BEST TOME TRADE

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Interested in perpetuating a bibliophilic mythos among your houseguests? Turned on by the image of sitting quietly by a roaring fireplace, sipping a brandy, and reading Kafka amid towers of dusty tomes? Well, the Bay Area Free Book Exchange has those tomes for you to own. Since its opening in 2009, the Exchange has given away more than 245,000 free books for the sole joy of making knowledge accessible in book form. The nonprofit is run by a collection of book-lovers in El Cerrito who sell some of the donated volumes on eBay in order to pay rent, electricity, and other expenses. The rest of the stories, however, make their way to the Exchange's storefront, where every weekend customers are invited to take up to 200 titles at once. Stock your bathroom with freaky medical guides? Actually read the books you snap up? We'll let you work out the ethics on your own.

10520 San Pablo, El Cerrito. (510) 705-1200, www.bayareafreebookexchange.com