I figure if you read Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon" and Leiber's "Our Lady of Darkness" you will have a road map to find all the trouble and fantasy you might need, to get started on your discovery of the City. Don't get me wrong...books are wonderful and yet, my approach to the City has been a personal one of just stumbling into and onto places of intrigue...Living museums, if you will.
What might be a fun book is one we all write about 5 places we think no one else knows about. I know this is falicy since most everyone here knows most every place in SF and we could cull the archives to confirm this.
But let me toss out a few favorites 1) Aquatic Park 2) Hang Ah tea room on Waverly Pl. 3) The Wave Organ near the St. Francis Yatch Club 4) Sutro Park 5) The Ramp in China Basin.
Bit off topic I guess but my best defense for ignorance. jb