Bookstores that offer more than just a good read for people interested in a low-key social scene:
Sisterhood Bookstore, 1351 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 477-7300. The city's oldest women's bookstore features a reading discussion series the third Thursday of each month.
Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-3110. Where Hollywood malcontents and literati browse while hanging on the venerable Sunset Strip. Featuring book readings, signings and occasional celebrity sightings.
A Different Light, 8853 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 854-6601. An eclectic bookstore offering literature by, for and about the gay community, with up to 20 readings per month and at least one HIV-related event.
Midnight Special Bookstore, 1318 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. (310) 393-2923. Perfect for the bookworm looking to escape the trendy shops of the promenade. Features documentary screenings, several spoken-word readings, including open poetry night each Friday at 8 p.m. (sign-ups at 7:30 p.m.). Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting group meets the first Tuesday of each month. Science and public interest group meets monthly.
The Bodhi Tree Bookstore, 8585 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. (310) 659-1733. L.A.'s Center for all things metaphysical providing everything you ever wanted to know about Zen and self-discovery. The annex next door offers free and paid workshops several times a week on subjects that ranged from music and healing to feng shui.
Traveler's Bookcase, 8375 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles. (213) 655-0575. This all-travel bookstore just east of the Beverly Center also features travel accessories and lectures, book signings and readings by travel authors.