Search Me!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Killer Stuff and Tons of Money by Maureen Stanton

Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market AmericaPublisher: Penguin Press HC
ISBN: 1594202931
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb


Summary from publisher:

One dealer's journey from the populist mayhem of flea markets to the rarefied realm of auctions reveals the rich, often outrageous subculture of antiques and collectibles.

Millions of Americans are drawn to antiques and flea-market culture, whether as participants or as viewers of the perennially popular Antiques Roadshow or the recent hit American Pickers. This world has the air of a lottery: a $20 purchase might net you four, five, or six figures. Master dealer Curt Avery, the unlikely star of Killer Stuff and Tons of Money, plays that lottery every day, and he wins it more than most. Occasionally he gets lucky, but more often, he draws on a deep knowledge of America's past and the odd, fascinating, and beautiful objects that have survived it.

Week in, week out, Avery trawls the flea and antiques circuit-buying, selling, and advising other dealers in his many areas of expertise, from furniture to glass to stoneware, and more. On the surface, he's an improbable candidate for an antiques dealer. He wrestled in high school and still retains the pugilistic build; he is gruff, funny, and profane; he favors shorts and sneakers, even in November; and he is remarkably generous toward both competitors and customers who want a break.

But as he struggles for a spot in a high-end Boston show, he must step up his game and, perhaps more challenging, fit in with a white-shoe crowd. Through his ascent, we see the flea-osphere for what it truly is-less a lottery than a contact sport with few rules and many pitfalls. This rich and sometimes hilarious subculture rewards peculiar interests and outright obsessions-one dealer specializes in shrunken heads; another wants all the postal memorabilia he can get. So Avery must be a guerrilla historian and use his hard-earned knowledge of America's past to live by and off his wits. Only the smartest survive in one of America's most ruthless meritocracies.

Killer Stuff and Tons of Money is many things: an insider's look at a subculture replete with arcane traditions and high drama, an inspiring account of a self-made man making his way in a cutthroat field, a treasure trove of tips for those who seek out old things themselves, and a thoroughly fresh, vibrant view of history as blood sport.

My Review:

I read this one while I was baking a couple hundred cupcakes. You would be surprised how much reading you can get done while baking.

I have to admit that I am kind of in love with this book. I am an Antiques Roadshow addict. Both the American and British version. I love antiques and I love learning about their history.  I am kind of obsessed and that’s why this book appealed to me. I loved this book because I felt like I was a part of the action. I loved all of the crazy, zany characters I met during Maureen’s time in the antiques world. They definitely made the book come alive and many of them are characters that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

I absolutely loved the descriptiveness. I learned so much about antiques and the flea market. I love books that teach me something new. I now feel as if I could survive—not well but still survive—in an flea market or antique dealing atmosphere. I love that this was not a dry, overly informative book about the antiques world—as the cover would lead you to think. Killer Stuff and Tons of Money was interesting and fun. It was also quite funny at times. It kind of reminded me of Candy Freak by Steve Almond. They are about completely different subjects but both Maureen and Steve delved into a world that many of us are not familiar with and did it in a very interesting and engaging way.

I’m not usually into non-fiction but this is the exact type of non-fiction that I love to read. Highly recommended.


*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.


  1. This one sounds like a lot of fun. I love Antiques Roadshow too.

  2. I love that you are in love with this book! LOL

    I'm glad you enjoyed it - it sounds like a fascinating non-fiction read. Thanks for being on the tour.



Blog Template by In Between Design Studio