What Are You Reading?

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby David Acer » 08/17/02 04:27 PM

Some time ago, I suggested to Richard the idea of having a small monthly feature in Genii called "What Are They Reading," which would include a brief quote from two or three magicians of note simply stating what magic book they are currently reading, and what they think of it so far. Since then, David Regals "Speaking Volumes" article has been upgraded to "regular feature," making "What Are They Reading" somewhat redundant. Having said that, however, I think it is an ideal subject for the Genii Forum, and an opportunity to direct fellow forumaniacs towards books, old and new, that might be of interest.

Allow me to kick things off then by telling you that Im halfway through David Britlands Equinox (1985), a terrific little collection of card and coin magic published by Martin Breese. Of particular interest is a trick called Voo-Duo, which employs a devious little force that has also been credited to Harry Lorayne and Lee Asher. It slayed among the comics at the back of the room last night, and despite its simplicity (or perhaps because of it), it may be the sleeper of the book.
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/17/02 05:06 PM

I am no magician of note but if you must know what I am in the middle of reading its Williamson's Wonders. The Wishing Well seems to be an overlooked coin trick that is quite different. I had the pleasure of seeing David do this 2 or 3 years back at Tannen's magic shop.
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Postby Guest » 08/17/02 10:04 PM

Wait a minute, David...We're supposed to be READING our magic books?! I thought the system was: Buy - Leaf through - Put on shelf - Praise it because the author talked to us at a lecture or convention - Bitch about the delay til the next new book - Repeat.
Anyway, to be honest, the books I'm reading right now are the ones I'm planning on selling, for no other reason than to whittle down my library. I figured I'd give them one final once over before they are out of my life for good.
They are:
As far as what else I'm reading: Garcia's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SPONGE BALL MAGIC. I finally took to heart what RK said about it being available, but that I must be willing to pay the price. It was quite expensive, but well worth it.
I hope this wasn't too much of a tangent for you.

Postby Bill Duncan » 08/17/02 10:14 PM

Originally posted by John Blaze:

...the books I'm reading right now are the ones I'm planning on selling, for no other reason than to whittle down my library.
... CARD CRAFT ...
I'm purging some old stuff too... Interested in a swap for Card Craft?
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Postby Bill Duncan » 08/17/02 10:20 PM

Just picked up a copy of DesTROYers this afternoon.

I'm a "coin guy" at heart and I've heard good stuff about Mr. Hooser. I've had time to do the full scan of the material but haven't had a chance to study any one routine yet.

Joshua Jay's Commentary section at the front of the book is good reading (if not stellar writing) and he is to be commended for trying to present the performer to the reader before diving into the recipes.

The routine "A Charming Chinese Challenge" looks to be a winner.
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Postby CardFan » 08/17/02 11:50 PM

I just started reading Neo-Magic Artistry by S.H. Sharpe. Great stuff...Also rereading Tamariz's The Magic Way.
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Postby Philippe Noël » 08/18/02 01:45 AM

I am currently reading THE LEGENDARY HIEROPHANT.
A very well made book with a practical index at the end.
I have just read "Hamman's Twist" and Marlo's suggestions at the end. Marlo said that "the real problem(with Hamman's Twist)is to create a method so that the final reversed card is a Four and all cards are shown...with the indifferent card hidden."
I suppose many solutions have been found since but just wanted to give my solution to the problem for those who are perhaps also currently reading the book. It is possible that my solution has been devised by someone else and if it is the case I would be glad to give the credit of course.
Here is the solution:
Effect: A twisting effect with Ace, Two, Three, Four of Clubs.
1. Openly cull the AC,2C,3C,4C to the face of the deck.Order is from face to back: 4C-3C-2C-AC-Rest of deck
2.Remove those four cards plus an indifferent card from the face of the pack and take them in right hand Biddle grip
3. Peel with your left thumb into your left hand, the 4C,3C,2C,AC(really two cards)to show them faces up
4.Turn packet face down and retake in right hand Biddle grip
5. Peel simultaneously the bottom and top card into left hand, then top card, then put double on top. For the spectators, you have just counted the cards again faces down.
6.Peform now the standard Vernon opening to reverse the three middle cards. That is, perform a quadruple lift and show 4C on top. Necktie the packet and turn 4C face down on top. Show that AC is at bottom.
7. Packet is now face down ready for first Elmsley count. Do it and show that 3C has turned face up.
8. An other Elmsley(Underground this time)shows that the 2C has turned face up.
9. Make a quadruple lift to apparently turn 2C face down
10. Now, you are going to show that the AC has turned face up.
11. Peel top card into left hand as in your previous Elmsley counts, then second card, then push two cards as one into left hand and put last card on top. The spectators have seen AC face up.
12. Tell them that there is only one card face up and that is the AC. To show that, packet is in left hand, push with left thumb first face down card to the right and take it with your right hand. Push then AC in right hand under the first card. Make a kind of bottom deal to push bottom card and take it in right hand under the two previous cards. Put the last two cards as one under the previous ones in right hand. Your right hand is holding a fan of four(?) cards with an AC showing face up.
12. Split the fan taking in left hand the two cards to the left of AC(actually three cards)and in right hand AC and a face down card.
13. Put this face down card on top of left hand cards and take a break.
14. Put AC face up on top of left hand cards
15. Take now the two cards above the break in right hand Biddle grip and spread the three face down cards in left hand.
16. Gather those three cards with left fingers and turn them face up
17. Put the two cards you are holding in right hand on left hand cards. Apparently, all cards are now face up.
18. Turn packet face down and show a fan of four face down cards thanks to the buckle count.
19. Turn packet face up and show that one card has magically turned face down. It is the 4C. The indifferent card is under the 2C at the bottom of the face up packet.
That's it, enjoy,

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Postby Mark Jensen » 08/18/02 01:49 AM

You mean we are supposed to read these books from cover to cover? That would make my wife much happier. My reading table has a stack of books, magazines and lecture notes, etc about 3 feet high.

Of course, that's what happens when I read Paul Cummin's The Trick That Never Happened from his FASDIU Part One (page 6). Then Paul has the gall to mention Larry Jennings Morlocks' Revenge in The New York Magic Symposium, Collection 2 and Darwin Ortiz's Time and Again in Cardshark.

So I have to go dig those books out and read those effects. Then I start looking through some of my other books, magazines (including the "It's faster to search through the paper copies" Linking Ring on DVD set), lecture notes, etc for other versions of the effect. All I can say is Thanks Paul ;)

Oh, but back to the last book I read cover to cover (just finished it a couple of weeks ago), The Incredible Dr. Matrix by Martin Gardner. A very interesting read and some strong magic too, like Miraskill by Stewart James, an effect by Bob Hummer, another by Dai Vernon, etc. Of course, then I had to go pull out The James File and read the original Miraskill and all the variations and here we go again :eek:


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Postby CHRIS » 08/18/02 04:42 AM

I love to read old books to get new ideas and to find out how old many of our methods and tricks are. Currently I am reading and re-reading "Physical Amusements and Diverting Experiments" Guiseppe Pinetti 1784.
What a marvellouse book. Increadible tricks, wonderful ideas. For me one of the best old books. It describes how to change the color of a rose. How to shoot a bird and bring it back to life. How to drown a fly for 24 hours and bring it back to life. Card tricks based on skill and based on mathematical principles. Artificial spiders that move by electricity and much more.

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Postby Alain Roy » 08/18/02 06:56 AM

I just finished reading Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a fascinating book that gives the other side of the story of the Wizard of Oz. Who is wicked? What does it mean to be evil? Well-written, interesting--I recommend it. If you haven't read the Wizard of Oz in a while, read it first. It's a quick read.

I also just finished reading Bert Allerton's The Close-Up Magician, which was an excellent read. I've often heard of Allerton, but didn't know much about him. This was a good introduction both to Allerton and his magic. The book was partly written after his death, and it is decorated with clippings for Allerton's scrapbook--newspaper articles, letters and like--which give at least a little insight into Allerton. The magic is fun to read about to, though some of it is described a bit briefly. I recommand the book. I've seen it around (eBay and elsewhere) for about $6-$10.

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Postby David Acer » 08/18/02 09:50 AM

I agree, Alain, and I think Allerton's The Close-Up Magician should be required reading for anyone interested in walkaround and/or restaurant magic. Every trick has been reduced to its barest elements, both in effect and handling, and the result in many cases is an almost Zen-like beauty.
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Postby Lisa Cousins » 08/18/02 12:03 PM

The magic book I'm working from (which is not the same thing as the magic book I'm reading from) is Guy Hollingworth's "Drawing Room Deceptions." I sure appreciate the tone of the instruction: "Kindly take the four kings into your left hand" - that sort of thing. I always feel like I'm doing Guy some sort of favor when I take the kings into my hand. The illustrations are exquisite, especially the gorgeous borders. They don't need to be there, yet add so much, and pointless beauty is a special love of mine.

Alain - I've read "Wicked." I love the idea of seeing familiar stories from a different angle. I didn't care for the "radical political" justification for the wickedness, though - it just seemed out of character with the original fantasy.

David - I'm not particularly interested in walkaround and/or restaurant magic, but you sure make the Allerton sound good.
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Postby Guest » 08/18/02 03:54 PM

My library is still missing some of the bread-and-butter classics, which is why I picked up The Card Magic of Le Paul at SAM and have been sipping on its contents all summer. I'm now in the process of swapping Le Paul's invisible turnover pass for the turnover pass I learned from Expert Card Technique. I think Le Paul's fingering creates less risk of flashing the left-hand "dip" during the move.

I'm also greatly enjoying Mike Close's "Workers #2," which I ordered after getting drawn into the "Frog Prince Top Change" thread. The more I hang out on Genii Forum, the more I wind up spending on magic.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/18/02 04:56 PM

The best handling for the Turnover Pass is a combination of published techniques which I explained in my video. You mention the "dip": the best way to cover it is by "cocking" the lower half of the deck inward just prior to the move. This is the technique which is explained so often just prior to Jennings' handling of the Christ Twist.
Now--you should be ashamed that you didn't have LePaul's book! Read "Gymnastic Aces" and then ask me for the tips to make sure it always works. I taught this to webmaster Brad recently and he could do it almost perfectly within a half hour. Also, consider replacing your "Card to Wallet" wallet with a packet of envelopes like LePaul uses. The book is full of remarkable material.
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Postby Guest » 08/18/02 05:30 PM

Thanks, Richard. You have no idea what other gaps in my library continue to cause me shame.

Actually, I'd already discovered the value of cocking the lower half on my own (no lurid wisecracks, anyone!) for the ECT turnover pass. In addition to reducing the dip, it helps me reestablish a break between transposed packets. Still, cocked or uncocked, I think the LePaul turnover pass has a smaller dip than the ECT version. (I notice that LePaul recommends cocking the lower packet in preparation for the side slip.)

I'd be very interested in your tips on Gymnastic Aces. My clumsy initial attempts at this move have greatly amused my wife.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/18/02 06:52 PM

Aces on top. Deck face down. Right hand cuts off LOWER half, MORE than 26.
Faro from top down. Shove outer packet in about 1/3 of the way (or slightly more). Use left first finger to smear bottom cards of outer packet inward.
Make a fist with the right hand, held thumb side upward. Firmly grasp inner packet between right thumb, above, and first finger, below. Right thumbtip should extend almost to center of inner half. Grip is firm.
Give deck a snap with your right wrist (snap down and rebound up). Top card will fly out looking as if it has come from the middle. With practice you can control emerging card so it lands face up on the table about a foot in front of the deck.
The Ace shoots out with a SINGLE movement of the right hand. Do NOT shake more than once. If it doesn't come out, you've got too much of the deck telescoped together or you're holding too tightly or both.
Good luck and don't tell these tips to anyone else :) . The finesse described here is NOT mine. Can't recall who taught it to me.
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Postby MaxNY » 08/18/02 07:01 PM

Read "Catch Me If You Can" by Frank Abingail. He was a con man that made over 6 million dollars in the 60's-70's, conning several airlines. Talk about living the illusion. It's a real easy read, may take you a day, very funny. This book has been made into a movie, (out?? this Winter??) and I think Leo Decapo will play Frank.
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Postby David Acer » 08/18/02 07:04 PM

Cocking your lower half aside, Ralph, 'A Flourish and a Pass' in The Card Magic of LePaul is also a joy to behold.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 08/18/02 11:32 PM

I finished Wicked a couple of months ago and recommend it. If you like things that show you a new perspective on things that you're already familiar with, of course, the granddaddy of them all is Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead, the play by Tom Stoppard which retells the story of Hamlet from the perspective of his boyhood friends.

The book I just finished reading is called Crafty Screenwriting by Alex Epstein. It's not out yet (I gave him some feedback and got a prerelease copy) but should be soon and will apparently be priced at $10, an absurdly low figure for this excellent book on screenwriting. Any magician interested in scripting their effects will want to pick this book up when it comes out, and pay particular attention to what Alex has to say about the Hook.

Magically I'm reading Constant Fooling by David Regal. I've read both volumes twice and each time I've created at least five new things that were inspired by David's words.
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Postby Guest » 08/19/02 03:17 AM

Thanks much, Richard; David, I'll have another look at that item.

Postby sleightly » 08/19/02 04:56 AM

Let's see...

In the last month or so, I have been swept up in Germain the Wizard from Todd Karr's Miracle Factory, the wonderfully dark Lemony Snicket books (I'm up to The Austere Academy), Buried Alive and The Two-headed Boy by Jan Bondeson (non-fiction works covering the fascination with buried corpses that aren't quite, and medical curiousities), but my daughter won't let me stop reading Little Bunny's Card Trick by Bill Goldman, My Little Sister Ate One Hair by Bill Grossman and Polka Bats and Octopus Slacks by Calef Brown (she's 2).

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Postby Guest » 08/19/02 05:29 AM

I rarely read one entire book start to finish. I usually pull whatever book grabs my interest when I am on my way to the "library". The last couple of books I read through were Jack Carpenter's Expert Portfolio (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in very good card magic as well as solid gambling routines) and the first 3 chapters of Royal Road to Card Magic (overhand shuffle, riffle shuffle and flourishes).

Postby Steve Snediker » 08/19/02 06:54 AM

I'm a "reading several books at once" sort of guy myself. Currently I'm working on "The Golden Rule Of Schnoozing" by Aye Jaye, "The Actor Prepares" by Stanislavski, Penn & Teller's "How To Play In Traffic", "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, and my current favorite "Try The Impossible" by Aronson.

It just seems healthy to have some magic, some philosophy, some humor, and some fiction to really feel balanced.

Another branch of this thread might include a discussion of what books do you continually come back to -- a classic that continues to enrich and inspire. One of mine is Corinda's "Thirteen Steps To Mentalism".

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Postby Robert Kane » 08/19/02 08:39 AM

I have been reading Billy McComb's The Professional Touch and Sidney Clarke's The Annals of Conjuring.

McComb's book gives a wealth of practical information on how to put together a working professional act.

Clarke's book is just plain fun history reading and also acts as a source of inspiration for presentation. :)
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Postby David Acer » 08/19/02 09:26 AM

Steve, I'm a HUGE Orson Scott Card fan, and when you're done with Ender's Game, may I recommend Seventh Son, the first in a series called The Tales of Alvin Maker.

Robert, McComb's The Professional Touch is an excellent collection of magic by an excellent performer. One wonders why it doesn't come up in conversation more often.
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Postby Matthew Field » 08/19/02 01:24 PM

I just finished Germain the Wizard and Teller deserves some kind of award for his stupendous Afterword.

I'm reading David Regal's new books, the new Robert Neale book and I'm still wending my way through The Lost Notebooks of John Northern Hilliard.

My non-magic reading has been devoted to books by my favorite author, Don DeLillo. I'm re-reading several of his works.

I'm surprised Richard K. didn't talk about Professional Card Magic, Cliff Green's great book.

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Postby Joe M. Turner » 08/19/02 02:07 PM

I recently read the Chanin book and am now reading Sam Sharpe's Neo Magic Artistry.

Steve Beam's new book arrived in today's mail, so that goes with me on my brief vacation later this week.

Non-magic reading: Miracles by C.S. Lewis.
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Postby Steve Hook » 08/19/02 08:12 PM

On Second Thought (Lee Earle) for the first time.

13 Steps to Mentalism (Corinda)and Pieces of My Mind (Earle) for the second time.

Simply Simon and Mind, Myth, & Magic are also getting a few pages read a night, along with Genii and MAGIC issues that I'm behind on...because I'm reading five books...

Wasn't it JR who wrote about the "overload"?

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/19/02 10:33 PM

Originally posted by Matthew Field:
I just finished Germain the Wizard and Teller deserves some kind of award for his stupendous Afterword.
I will second that! I skipped to the end and read it first, but I'm back on schedule now. I also enjoyed David Ben's remarks, and the CD is incredible.

Also on the magic side, I've been rereading David Ben's lecture notes – three times so far (many thanks to Lisa Cousins for letting us know that Michael Canick had some copies for sale).

On the magic/fiction side, I just picked up a copy of We're Off to See the Killer by William Murray. This one of the series is dedicated to Michael Skinner.

On the non-magic side, I recently finished The Resurrection of the Shroud by Mark Antonacci. It's a fascinating, thought provoking and well-documented account of the scientific testing the Shroud of Turin has undergone. It's not the easiest book to read: lots of scientific jargon, and, in order to drive home a point, he's redundant at times. I recommend it regardless of your religious inclinations.

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Postby Guest » 08/24/02 01:53 PM

Hi, interesting question...

I am currently reading Ortiz's "Strong Magic" and it has become my favorite magic book. Amazing isn't it considering that there are no tricks in it?

I am also going through Kaufman's "The Secrets of Brother John Hamman". I've just started today but it really looks as good as everybody keeps telling me.

Postby Guest » 09/02/02 06:41 PM

That article you wrote for Genii on Vernon's Princess card trick made me laugh out loud several times. Where the girl said "she was pretty sure she knew how that one was done"... That had to be a real quote. Also that you had been ASSURED that not only did no one ever pick the nine of diamonds but hardly SAW it. (grossly paraphrased)...actually the whole article was really funny to me as I remember experimenting with that trick myself for a few weeks. Thanks for the laughs.

Postby David Acer » 09/02/02 08:48 PM

Hi Bunky,

Thanks for the kind words! Word has it Max Maven has prepared a rebuttal to the piece, which should be appearing in the October issue.
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Postby Doomo » 09/02/02 09:28 PM

currently reading Vertical Run by Joe Garber and Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson...About done with magic books for a while... Tried reading Grift Sense by Swain... Terrible read...
RFA Productions yeah... It is cool stuff.

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Postby David Acer » 09/03/02 10:50 AM

After polishing off David Britland's Equinox this weekend (which I thoroughly enjoyed), I began digging into The Best of Benzais. The opening chapter on the Coins-Through-Table offers some beautiful techniques, and I spent hours trying to skip a card off the table into the deck (with limited success) after reading "Stabbed in the Pack."
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/03/02 11:41 AM

Harry Lorayne has been succesfully doing his version of "Stabbed in the Pack" for years. I'm sure it MUST be on one of his videos. The secret is to start (standing) very far away, and creep forward as you talk, then when you actually lunge forward to toss the card, your hand is only a foot or so away from the deck. You MUST aim for the table JUST in front of the deck. The card will hit and go right in. Always works, not hard at all.
The knot routine in the Benzais book is one of the best kept secrets in magic, though you must be seated to do it.
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Postby mike cookman » 09/03/02 11:47 AM

Jack Carpenter's Expert's Portfolio is quite good, I've been reading that one, too. I also have been enjoying David Acer's Natural Selections Volune 2. Lots of good stuff. :)
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Postby Guest » 09/03/02 02:57 PM


That tip you gave for gymnastic aces is something I also learned at an early age, Eddie Fechter always did that...another thing that he did (along with No-Moves Lou) was to control 4 selections to the top (he would also secretly get the identity of the card below the selections...ie. the 5th card from top) have all 4 selections named...pop them out. Then for the kicker, they would state that it works with any card and tell the audience to just shout out a card. After 8 or 10 people shout out a card, you look at an audience member and say that the (whatever card you glimpsed) is a good card...than pop that one out as well...

Postby Guest » 09/03/02 05:37 PM

This Saturday I got the Dia Vernon Book of Magic and have been working on his Cups and Ball Routine. I'm certain my wand spin is a very poor replica of the original. I have also just started John Carney's Carneycopia. I just finished reading Banacheks Psycological Subtleties where I learned how to make my Wifes headache disappear - worth the price of the book ;)

Postby Guest » 09/05/02 12:46 PM

I like your question David. My books at the moment are:

1. Secrets of Conjuring and Magic. I am reserching everything on the Conus Aces.

2. Royal Road to Card Magic. Same effect with an excellent handling

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, enchanting

4. Strong Magic is always in my bag so that I can read it at any moment. This is one book with continual reading, the wisodm will be absorbed and evaluated on a much deepper level.

Postby Cugel » 09/05/02 07:08 PM

Currently on vacation on the Gold Coast in sunny Queensland, reading:

Blackwater Sound, James Hall
Redemption Ark, Alistair Reynolds
Eye of the Storm, Peter Ratcliffe
Blues with a Feeling, the Little Walter story, Glover et al...

Brought along Ortiz At The Card Table but haven't picked up cards all week (though I've done pretty well at the craps tables at the Casino here - haven't played any cards though...)

Wish I could remember some of Eugene's bathroom books to list and make myself look smart, ayuk.


PS. Doomo - Neal Stephenson's books are excellent.
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