In a city that has a fair number of good book stores, especially of the used variety, it's hard to single out just one for recognition. This year an old favorite, Left Bank Books, rises to the top of the stack. The store's combination of up-to-the minute new offerings upstairs and gently worn treasures in the basement is a book lover's afternoon (or evening) delight. What truly sets Left Bank apart, though, are the details. The employee recommendations rarely disappoint and usually introduce even the most informed reader to books that have slipped through the cracks. Left Bank's author readings/signings are always worth the trip. (Bonus treat: Many of the discussions carry over into neighborhood bars after the signing is over, giving bibliophiles and autograph hounds a chance to connect with the writers in an even less formal setting.) The store is also a strong supporter of reading groups, hosting four itself and supplying books to a few dozen more. Left Bank celebrated its 35th birthday this summer, and it seems to be improving with age.