Not antique books — books about antiques

Posted: December 23rd, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, La Mesa Reads | No Comments

Heather Pisani-Kristl | La Mesa Reads

If you’ll permit me a little free-association: It’s January, time for the Rose Bowl game and the celebrated Rose Parade. The Rose Bowl is also the site of Southern California’s biggest flea market and antiques fair, taking place monthly for over 45 years. And here we are in La Mesa, possibly the best place in San Diego County to find vintage, lovingly used or genuinely antique items at stores in and around the Village.

So January in La Mesa is the perfect time to discuss vintage finds — real or fictional — at La Mesa Library.

If you’re a traveling collector, you can start your vacation planning with “Flea Market Secrets: An Indispensable Guide to Where to Go and What to Buy” by Geraldine James. Even if you’re not going very far, you can dream of visiting “The Flea Markets of France” by Sandy Price or the “Markets of Paris” by Dixon and Ruthanne Long. The soon-to-be-released “Junk Gypsy: Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder & Wander” by Amie and Jolie Sikes — the “Thelma and Louise of the design world” — promises unique roadside finds a little closer to home, on the back roads of Texas.

Whether you’re traveling by car or by armchair, you’ll need something entertaining to read. Antiques dealers are legion in the mystery world, and at the library you’ll find the “Trash n’ Treasures” series of murder mysteries by Barbara Allan in e-book form, such as “Antiques Maul” and “Antiques Roadkill.” The library also has the Lovejoy mysteries by Jonathan Gash (“Faces in the Pool,” “The Ten Word Game”), starring a roguish and not-entirely-aboveboard antiques dealer, and the Lara McClintoch mysteries by Lyn Hamilton (“The Chinese Alchemist,” “The Moai Murders”), which lead the reader around the world in pursuit of antiquities.

You might have to drag the kids with you while you’re treasure hunting, but it’s never too early to train a connoisseur of junk. I started bottle digging in New England with my dad when I was 8 and entered high school with a wide knowledge of knickknacks gleaned from hanging around an antique shop after school. If your child or grandchild shows enthusiasm for anything with a patina, introduce them to “Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk Into Treasure” by Mike Wolfe and Lily Sprengelmeyer. They might go beyond the shoebox-of-stuff phase and turn into a collector with a discerning (or in my case, kitschy) eye.

What do you do with all the great old things you couldn’t pass up? You could make your home “Flea Market Fabulous” with the help of Antiques Roadshow personality Lara Spencer. Or maybe you’ll have to settle for just being “Flea Market Chic” with designers Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell. Once you’ve found your treasure, the library can loan you the current issues of “Warman’s Antiques and Collectibles or Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guides.” Not that you’re going to sell your new acquisitions, of course – you just want to see if you got a good deal!

Second Saturday Concerts

The Friends of La Mesa Library and San Diego County Library have partnered to offer a series of free music concerts at La Mesa Library during January–June 2017. Concerts will take place on the second Saturday of each month at 1 p.m., and will feature local talent in a family-friendly environment. The Second Saturday Concert series kicks off on Jan. 14 with singer-songwriter Jim Earp, whose music can be heard at Come in and enjoy more than an hour and a half of live guitar performance and song.

—Heather Pisani-Kristl managing librarian at the La Mesa branch of the San Diego County Library. Call the library at 619-469-2151, visit in person at 8074 Alison Ave., or get information online at

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