Definitive List of Recommended Reading ?

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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/09/05 11:40 PM

Hi all ...

Which books would you include on a definitive list of recommended reading for all magicians ( the staple items which all performers should have read ) i.e. the likes of Strong Magic, Books of Wonder and ... ? ? ? What say you ?
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Postby Ian Kendall » 08/10/05 12:17 AM

The first two chapters of the Dai Vernon Book of Magic.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Matthew Field » 08/10/05 03:12 AM

This has been discussed several times on the Forum.

Also check out David Acer's recently published "random Acts of Magic" for some magician's Top 10 lists (an expansion of a column he wrote in Genii).

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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/10/05 03:16 AM

Hi Matthew

Thanks for the reply ... I'm not having much luck in getting the search function to point me in the right direction ... do you perhaps have any direct links available to the posts in question ?

Thanks
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 08/10/05 04:50 AM

Originally posted by Craig Mitchell:
Hi all ...

Which books would you include on a definitive list of recommended reading for all magicians ( the staple items which all performers should have read ) i.e. the likes of Strong Magic, Books of Wonder and ... ? ? ? What say you ?
Let's suppose we are discussing the education of someone who already has done some regular plays, learned to take direction and who wants to explore magic in performance.

There is plenty of magic in the fiction section of the library. Perhaps Neil Gaiman's four part Books of Magic and Sandman would make a good start. The Harry Potter books also describe a world with plenty of magic. Also some study of the card games around might help.

Then we get to HOW to present such things... both the writing and the mechanics. There are books on storytelling.

With a solid foundation in place, the cookbooks of how-to found in the magic shop will come in handy. From The Stars of Magic to Tommy Wonder's two volume set... all the way to the Harbin book on illusions there are great how-to books in our literature.
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby David Acer » 08/10/05 08:01 PM

If you're looking for tricks, you would be hard pressed to find better compilations than these:

STARS OF MAGIC (Starke/Karger)
THE COLLECTED ALMANAC (Richard Kaufman)
THE ART OF ASTONISHMENT (Vols. 1-3) (Paul Harris)
DAI VERNON'S INNER CARD TRILOGY (L&L's combined reprint of Vernon's 3 Inner Secrets of Card magic books)
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF IMPROMPTU MAGIC (Martin Gardner)

I would say these are all "must-haves," if there is such a thing.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 08/10/05 09:33 PM

If you're looking of inspiration there are a number of books about magicians which include material from their acts as well as biographical infomation:
Fechter
The Vernon tributes to Malini and Leipzig
The Eddie Fields book
The Phantom At The Card Table
The Al Baker book (the deluxe edition comes with a forklift)...
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Postby Guest » 08/10/05 10:05 PM

For a wonderful collection of NON-CARD magic,
"The Art of Close-Up Magic" (Ganson) is chock full of great material as well as some very sage performance advice.

I always suggest the first Tarbell "Course" volume to "aspiring" magicians as well - Has great material, wonderful advice of performing and the card section is written for those just starting-out.
It's hard to beat for a good all-around book.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 08/11/05 12:48 AM

Hi all

Thanks for the replies.

The list is for a friend of mine who's wanting to lift their game somewhat ... technically - he's got the chops -- he's now wanting to go that one step further

So in essence - its less about the tricks and more about how to move to the next level in terms of effectiveness, power and presentation ( sounds like an infomercial :) )

Regards from Cape Town

Craig
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Postby Guest » 08/11/05 03:52 PM

Craig,
If that is the case I suggest the following:
"Impro" by Keith Johnstone
"An Actor prepares" by Constantin Stanislavski
"Maximum Entertainment" by Ken Weber
"Magic and Meaning" by Eugene Burger and Robert Neale
"The Books of Wonder" (2 volumes) by Tommy Wonder
"Perform like a Pro" by Quentin Reynolds (This is a DVD)
"Greater Magic" by John Hilliard

Those are almost all focused on improving your performance and not tricks. The last one, Greater Magic is so that he can be truly overwhelmed by all the good magic out there and so he will focus on the "what will I do" as opposed to worrying about the how.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Have you checked out Jack Dean's "Trilogy" yet?
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Postby David Acer » 08/11/05 03:55 PM

Also, be sure to take a look at THE PERFORMANCE OF CLOSE-UP MAGIC (Eugene Burger), BRAIN FOOD (David Parr) and PSYCHOLOGICAL SUBTLETIES (Banachek) for some contemporary performers' thoughts on contemporary performing.
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Postby Guest » 08/11/05 04:54 PM

So many books, so little time...

Greater Magic
Stars of Magic
Dai Vernon Book of Magic
Royal Road to Card Magic
Secrets of Conjuring and Magic
Expert at the Card Table (Vernon or Ortiz versions, preferably both)
Our Magic
The Cardician
Slydini Encores
Magicians Tricks And How They Are Done
The New Modern Coin Magic
The Ron Bauer Private Studies
The Card Magic of LePaul
The Magic of Brother John Hamman
The Card Magic of J.N. Hofsinzer
The Tarbell Course in Magic
Downs Art of Magic
Sachs Slieght of Hand
The Fine Art of Magic (Kaplan)
The Vernon Card Series (4 volumes)
Marlo's RCT
Classic Secrets of Magic
Vernon on Malini/Liepzig
All of Victor Farelli (Ramsay, Liepsig, etc.)
Galloway on Ramsay - the trilogy
Routined Manipulations/Art of Closeup Magic/Ganson

I stopped at 25 titles. This is a real working library, the cornerstones of any solid closeup/standup library, in my opinion. Anything less and you are shortchanging yourself. Most of the titles are currently available, in one form or another, or are easily acquired thru the used book dealers. The investment is likely less than $1.000.00, a small amount of money when compared to skating equipment for hockey, or the $$$ it cost just to tee off at most good courses often enough to get your handicap into the low double digits...

Best, PSC
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Postby CHRIS » 08/11/05 04:54 PM

The theory section of Card College Volume 2 (now also as ebook) is one of the most thoughtful chapters and will lift you up several levels.

Best,
Chris....
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Postby Guest » 08/11/05 05:41 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by pchosse:
[QB] So many books, so little time...

1.) Greater Magic
2.) Stars of Magic
3.) Dai Vernon Book of Magic/Vernon on Malini/Liepzig (3 Books)
4.) Royal Road to Card Magic
5.) Secrets of Conjuring and Magic
6.) Expert at the Card Table (Vernon or Ortiz versions, preferably both)
7.) Our Magic
8.) The Cardician
9.) Slydini Encores
10.) Magicians Tricks And How They Are Done
11.) The New Modern Coin Magic
12.) The Ron Bauer Private Studies (24 Pamphlets)
13.) The Card Magic of LePaul
14.) The Magic of Brother John Hamman
15.) The Card Magic of J.N. Hofsinzer
16.) The Tarbell Course in Magic (8 Books)
17.) Downs Art of Magic
18.) Sachs Slieght of Hand
19.) The Fine Art of Magic (Kaplan)
20.) The Vernon Card Series (4 volumes)
21.) Marlo's RCT (1 Volume edition)
22.) Classic Secrets of Magic
23.) Routined Manipulations/Art of Closeup Magic/Ganson (5 Books)
24.) All of Victor Farelli (Ramsay, Liepsig, etc.)(8 Books)
25.) Galloway on Ramsay - the trilogy (3 Books)


I stopped at 25 titles. It is actually a total of fifty books when you count the multi-volume sets like Tarbell and the Routined Manipulations series, etc. But, this is a real working library, the cornerstones of any solid closeup/standup reference and study source, in my opinion. Anything less and you are shortchanging yourself. Most of the titles are currently available, in one form or another, or are easily acquired thru the used book dealers. The investment is likely less than $1,500.00, a small amount of money when compared to the $$$ it cost just to tee off at most good courses often enough to get your handicap into the low double digits...

Best, PSC
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Postby Guest » 08/11/05 05:43 PM

removed...
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Postby Carl Mercurio » 08/12/05 11:20 AM

The Professional Touch (McComb)
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Postby rich pinsonnault » 08/12/05 01:47 PM

hi,Regarding the list of books that are a must have ,
classic magic of Larry Jennings
Jennings 67
Card College series
Vernon books(all)
Collected Almanac
Best of Friends 1 and 2
Hope this helps, Rich
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Postby Joe Gallant » 08/12/05 03:54 PM

Any "must have" list should include:

  • Close-Up Card Magic by Harry Lorayne
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/12/05 07:23 PM

This discussions of books keeps coming up. On other forum I post at can keep cetain threads on the top. Its called a stickie. Can we make this one a stickie?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/12/05 10:15 PM

No "Stickies" on this Forum.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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Postby Brad A._dup1 » 08/13/05 12:19 PM

I'd say any of the books on the right side of your screen are great for your libraries!

;)
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Postby Ricky Difeo » 08/13/05 04:45 PM

Hi!

I Want add the following Litles Books:

Legendary Kabbala
Leggendary Hieropant
Mint 1 and 2
All books of Ken Krenzel
All booklets of Eddie Joseph
Card Finesse I and II

Thank.-

Ricardo Difeo
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Postby Tabman » 08/13/05 07:08 PM

And don't forget bound reprints of The Jinx and The Phoenix. These are must reading in my library.

-=tabman
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Postby George Olson » 08/14/05 07:53 PM

Let's not forget the Digital Gen !

Hours and hours of wonderful study and ideas,

Gypsy Thread, is but one example of thoughts that saw the first light of day through it.

GO
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Postby Guest » 08/15/05 03:25 PM

Tabman,

In addition to Jinx and Phoenix, I am really enjoying the reading in Hugard's Magic Monthly. So many writers shared that larger periodical that it is a really fun read.

Jon
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Postby Guest » 08/15/05 10:42 PM

Hey, everybody knows that one of the finest collections of magic in print is Lorayne's Apocalypse, in which Kaufmann played a big part. I congratulate both men for having the vision to put together a true landmark publication...

opie
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Postby Guest » 08/16/05 01:12 AM

Before he passed away in the early 80's, my mentor Kirk Stiles had a radical idea. He told me every magic organization should require new members to memorize and recite "The Magic State of Mind"--the entire first chapter in THE AMATEUR MAGICIAN'S HANDBOOK by Henry Hay.

Kirk believed a daunting recital of Henry's words would serve two purposes: first, to clearly establish the path that lay before the 'newbie'; and second, to remind the veterans of what is expected of them.

Of course, it will never happen...but it is worth thinking about.

Best,
Mick Ayres
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Postby Guest » 08/16/05 01:08 PM

Mick...good point! It is not just the books that we need to examine....There are great articles and chapters in lesser-thought-of books. Please forgive me mentioning his name here..tsk tsk...but [censored] would have everybody who wants to be a magician to read Part 6 (pgs 423-448)of Hugard and Braue's Expert Card Technique: Close-Up Table Magic.....

The chapter topics are on Misdirection and Presentation and are quite worth reading...and, personally, I would not be without that book in my collection anyway...

Oh, and BTW, everything Hay wrote is worth having; I just wish his illustrations were better...If you will examine his writings closely, Hay was really just trying to give an "academic" overview of the magical literature he believed was important...I just wonder if he realized how much of an impact his works would make....

opie
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Postby P.T. Murphy » 09/06/05 01:51 PM

Just a start...in no particular order...

1. Mastering The Art of Magic - E. Burger
2. Brain Food - D. Parr
3. Secrets - J. Carney
4. Words About Wizards - R. Parrish
5. Hiding the Elephant - J. Steinmeyer
6. Tarbell Course - H. Tarbell
7. Magic and Meaning - E. Burger and B. Neale
8. Magic Mirror - B. Neale and D. Parr
9. Illusion Show - D. Bamberg
10. Death and Resurrection Show - R. Taylor
"Those who do not believe in magic
will never find it. " -Roald Dahl
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Postby David Alexander » 09/06/05 07:03 PM

If you're going to entertain with magic - as opposed to presenting a series of puzzles or looking to impress people with "skill" - then studying the rudiments of stagecraft is vital. See Henning Nelms' "Magic and Showmanship" for a number of solid principles upon which you can develop good stagecraft, economy of motion, and timing.

And on timing, an excellent book from which one can learn the rudiments of timing is Jon Raucherbaumer's book on Don Alan. It has Don's presentations verbatim. This is not done to have you copy Don Alan word for word, but to study and understand how Alan, a consumate entertainer with magic, was able to extract the most from simple and direct routines and effects. What he did was easy to understand and fun to watch. Would that more understood this approach. You can see his approach laid bare by Jon. This is a highly underrated book.

Finally, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is a standard on learning to be well-socialized. Good manners and charm will go far further than an invisible pass. If you are charming and well-socialized you AND your magic will be welcome wherever you go. If you are a bore, the best executed sleights in the world will not make up for the deficiency in personality.
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Postby Guest » 09/16/05 09:12 AM

Certainly Dariel Fitzgee's trilogy, or at least his marvelous "Magic By Misdirection."
-- Gary
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Postby Brian Marks » 09/16/05 02:12 PM

This list keeps on growing and I am lucky to get through 5 of these book. I working through Greater Magic and Pscyological Sublties by Banachek
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/16/05 02:41 PM

Stepping away from my position that conjurers are not such good teachers of magic or performing, I'd like to suggest a book written by a couple of performers for your consideration;

The Secret Art of Magic by Evans and Craver.

The difference between getting through the tricks and getting through to the audience is explored in two sections covering the concrete how to of actually performing on the street, and in the second section a discussion of strategy in magic. Practice and theory balance the book nicely IMHO.
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Arthur Martello » 09/17/05 04:28 AM

How can any list exist without the Fitzkee trilogy? I just came across this post and could not believe my eyes.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/17/05 05:49 AM

Originally posted by Arthur Martello:
How can any list exist without the Fitzkee trilogy? I just came across this post and could not believe my eyes.
From that, I'd like to believe you can offer a critique of the Gaiman works cited above, about how magic is supposed to look to the laity and how we might most effectively keep their perspective in mind as we craft our works.

I'd like to believe the same about the books I suggested, though why EVERY list SHOULD contain a few books one person likes eludes me. There are many ways to approach magic and many authors have tackled the subject.

My guess is that some here have not read much on mythology or history as well. Not to worry, it's right there in the nearest B&N. :)

After learning about what magic is, then the performing stuff is IMPORTANT, though why go to a book instead of your local theater group? There is no armchair "how to perform" that covers what you learn with script in hand and a director telling you what they want you to communicate. Words only go so deep. The rest is a kinesthetic experiential knowing that comes from DOING.
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Postby Guest » 09/17/05 05:58 AM

The list still needs to include Fitzkee's The Magic of Rezvani, Thompson's My Best, and anything by Al Baker....and has anybody mentioned C. Lang Neil's Modern Conjuror?

I love the old stuff.....opie
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/17/05 06:12 AM

Originally posted by Opie R.:
The list still needs to include Fitzkee's The Magic of Rezvani, Thompson's My Best, and anything by Al Baker...
I disagree Opie. Those are nice books. Though necessary? Tell you what; you read and offer a critique of the Gaiman Books of Magic and I'll re-read and and review one of the magic books you cited that is of comparable page count. We can compare notes. Deal?

For those who have not made themselves familiar with the modern mythology involved, here is a link to some annotations and comments online: http://www.stahl.bau.tu-bs.de/~hildeb/books_magic/
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Guest » 09/17/05 06:22 AM

No thanks...I am too nice of a guy to write critiques....besides, I thought this thread was "Definitive List of Recommended Readings?"

Always nice chatting with you....opie
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/17/05 06:36 AM

Originally posted by Opie R.:
No thanks... I thought this thread was "Definitive List of Recommended Readings?"
IMHO it is important to know about the thing we are simulating. ( reference to the Robert-Houdin quote there )

How about we add one of the following: Edith Hamilton's or Bulfinch's Mythology then? Folks who wish to explore modern mythology can go on to Harlin Ellison and Neil Gaiman at their leisure. :)
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Postby Guest » 09/17/05 07:25 AM

No argument with Hamilton and Bulfinch; I have both in my collection of approximately 3000 literary works....

....but I was kind of sticking to "Recommended" (subjective) books on magic...

My second Masters Degree in English had a heavy concentration in medieval studies...

I have not read too many DC Comic Publications lately, and the gothic stuff just leaves me cold...

...as always....opie
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