Books - where to go next?

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 04/04/03 08:27 AM

As a new magician, I have collected a few books that focus almost completely on technique and tricks: Wilson's Cyclopedia, Magic for Dummies, Card College 1 (ordering 2 next week), RRTCM, etc.

After reading numerous reviews about books that contain more than techniques and tricks (i.e. theory, performance), I was curious as to where you think I should go next. Books by Ortiz, Carney, Marlo, etc. seem to be highly recommended, but I don't know where to start :confused: I gather that Card College 2 has a section on these subjects.

Any advice into your favorite books to get a beginner "thinking" would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Darren
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Postby Guest » 04/04/03 08:36 AM

Oooooops. I should have posted this in the reference room. Sorry. :o

I did look over the top 10 book list there, but did not know which books were technique oriented, which ones were "thought" oriented, which were both, etc.

Thanks for your help.

Darren
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Postby Guest » 04/04/03 09:07 AM

If you are looking for advice on strengthening and organizing presentation for your effects, you would probably benefit greatly from the following sources:

Strong Magic - Darwin Ortiz - Now out of print but you may be able to track down a copy.

5 Points of Magic - Juan Tamariz - Out of Print and difficult to find. Occasionally this book shows up on E-Bay but it isn't cheap. However, if you perform for pay, it could be a very wise investment.

The Magic Way - Juan Tamariz - Same notes I made for 5 Points can be applied to this book too.

Dai Vernon Book of Magic - Dai Vernon has a great chapter called "The Vernon Touch", plus there's some great magic in the book.

Leading With Your Head - Gary Kurtz - I haven't read it, but I believe Gary Kurtz wrote the booklet based on his belief that we all know enough moves and we could benefit by applying psychological principles and misdirection to the routines. Gary was not only a great magician, but also a great thinker in magic so I am willing to bet that this book is worth its weight in gold.

I am sure there are other sources, but the ones I listed are ones that come to mind and with one exception, I have them all and have reread them a couple of times over.
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Postby Guest » 04/04/03 10:20 AM

Darren:

When you receive your second volume of Card College, you will find a theory section as good as many of the more discussed classic full length books, albeit in abbreviated form. Re-reading RRTCM will also put you in touch with many of the theoretical underpinnings of our performance art, as will another great value produced by Dover, Expert Card Technique.

I'm now finding -- as others before me have shared -- that much of my continuing magical education will be found in what I already own, awaiting rediscovery.

--Randy Campbell
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 04/04/03 10:20 AM

"Our Magic" by Maskelyne and Devant is the classic book on magic theory. "Magic and Showmanship" by Henning Nelms is another good one. You should also check out anything by Eugene Burger -- "Mastering the Art of Magic" is the best starting point for him. "Theatrical Close-up" by Peter Samelson is a book that doesn't get mentioned often enough. If you can find a copy, get it. There's a great introduction by Jamy Ian Swiss on the subject of art in magic, and the descriptions of the effects go into the "why" just as much as the "how."

-Jim
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Postby Daniel » 04/04/03 11:36 AM

The Fitzkee trilogy of books, "The Trick Brain," "Magic By Misdirection," and "Showmanship for Magicians" contain a wealth of material beyond tricks, as do "The Books Of Wonder."

I'm in the middle of volume 2 of Tommy Wonder's books and you can't help but be amazed then inspired by his love of the art. You can learn a lot from them.
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Postby Guest » 04/18/03 11:30 PM

I think Gary Kurtz book (a lot of his mental material is under the name Jakurisch, or something like that) is available from Stevens Emporium, Calif./
MartinJ
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Postby Guest » 05/10/03 08:40 PM

Try Expert Card Technique by Hugard & Braue. Anything by Marlo is great in my opinion! Marlo does some difficult moves, but you must be stretched if you want to grow in your card magic.
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Postby Guest » 05/11/03 12:12 PM

Try Expert Card Technique by Hugard & Braue. Anything by Marlo is great in my opinion! Marlo does some difficult moves, but you must be stretched if you want to grow in your card magic. -- Cardician66
Funny you should give this advice, because this is the very course I took.

When I first became interested in card magic ECT was the first book I bought because it was at the book store.

And the best and only card magician I knew at the time gave the same Marlo advice.

Both were completely terrible entrees into card magic, because they rely on a host of previous knowledge, and are rife with jargon and terse prose. Only years later do I find myself both conversant and capable of digesting the information and ideas contained in ECT and much of the Marlo oeuvre. These are volumes for experts, not "your favorite books to get a beginner 'thinking,'" which was Darren Roberts's question.

Rereading my previous post, I must say I didn't intend to recommend ECT to the beginner, but I was pointing out the strong value contained therein.

I would recommend Carneycopia before Secrets simply because it seems like they should be read in that order.

--Randy Campbell
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/11/03 02:24 PM

Sorry, but most of the suggestions in this thread are extremely poor for a beginner in card magic.
Do not read Marlo's books: they are boring and contain lots of mediocre material he never performed anywhere but for the mirror in addition to the choice material.
A much better choice for a beginner are Harry Lorayne's early books, Close-Up Card Magic, Personal Secrets, My Favorite Card Tricks, etc. Also, Lorayne's The Magic Book, for sale by L&L, is a great beginner's book with lots of excellent material.
Frank Garcia's books Super Subtle Card Miracles and Million Dollar Card Secrets are great--if you can locate them.
Al Leech's books contain lots of great, easy material, as do J.K. Hartman's books.
Finally, a more advanced book that still isn't too technically difficult to handle is The Secrets of Brother John Hamman.
Early on, it's best to avoid stuff by Marlo, Vernon, Dingle, Jennings, etc.: all very difficult to do and not the stuff to get started on.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 05/11/03 06:51 PM

Let me also say that ECT would be a really bad choice for a beginner, because it really is intimidating. I believe it was Michael Ammar who said that when he first read it he thought it was a work of fiction. I had the same feeling.

Royal Road is excellent, cheap, and accessible. Lorayne's Close-Up Card Magic is also excellent, relatively inexpensive, and easy to find from magic dealers.

I do believe the Card College books are the best instructional texts available currently. I would start with volume 1 and work through the bunch. Maybe CC1 along with Royal Road, to get a couple of different, non-conflicting perspectives.

Since Darren's original query was about theoretical/presentational literature, I would assert that the appendix to Card College 2 is perhaps the best practical overview of magic theory since Our Magic.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/12/03 04:03 PM

Since no one has mentioned it, I would highly recommend Mastering the Art of Magic by Eugene Burger. It's filled with a terrific helping of both great tricks and wonderful essays on many theoretical aspects of performing magic. It's also good precisely because it contains both, helping you to see how the theory informs practice.

But really, the best advice to magic theory, especially for a beginner, is to read as much of it as you can. Learn as many different viewpoints and/or perspectives as possible. Over time you'll see where they agree, and where they differ. You'll start to see which make sense to you, and which make sense for you, and what the difference may be.

Then, when you do anything in magic, whether it's inventing a new method, creating a presentation, rehearsing a show, or simply choosing an effect to learn, you'll be able to use the most appropriate theory to your benefit.
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Postby Guest » 05/19/03 07:21 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Sorry, but most of the suggestions in this thread are extremely poor for a beginner in card magic.
Do not read Marlo's books: they are boring and contain lots of mediocre material he never performed anywhere but for the mirror in addition to the choice material.
A much better choice for a beginner are Harry Lorayne's early books, Close-Up Card Magic, Personal Secrets, My Favorite Card Tricks, etc. Also, Lorayne's The Magic Book, for sale by L&L, is a great beginner's book with lots of excellent material.
Frank Garcia's books Super Subtle Card Miracles and Million Dollar Card Secrets are great--if you can locate them.
Al Leech's books contain lots of great, easy material, as do J.K. Hartman's books.
Finally, a more advanced book that still isn't too technically difficult to handle is The Secrets of Brother John Hamman.
Early on, it's best to avoid stuff by Marlo, Vernon, Dingle, Jennings, etc.: all very difficult to do and not the stuff to get started on.
I certainly have to agree with Richard here.

When you get to the more intermediate levels, the Card Magic of LePaul (another one that deserves mention and is often overlooked by many people starting out) is a classic. Excellent descriptions, but the photos in the recent editions have lost a LOT in quality. Find an older copy if possible. (Hint to Richard: This would be a GREAT addition to your list of publications - a new and enhanced version of LePaul)

Keep up on the Card College, by all means. It is a very complete compendium of material for technique.

But please remember that magic is a performing art. Technique is very important - but so is presentation.

Kind regards,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com
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Postby Guest » 06/11/03 03:54 PM

A couple more:

The Tarbell Course in Magic - something IMHO every magician should own.... great essays on many facets of performing.

Annemann's Card Magic - Available as a Dover Publications reprint, Ted Annemann is in many ways STILL light years ahead of a lot of us in terms of effect construction, routining, etc.

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks by Jean Hugard - Enough to keep you busy.

Charles Jordan's Best Card Tricks - This man who died in 1944 has had a tremendous impact on card magic - again, another Dover reprint. Jordan's exploration of the humble riffle shuffle is fascinating and useful material for the card enthusiast.

Regards,
Vlad
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