Magic Tricks - Book Reviews


Since the 1950's, Coin Magic by J.B. Bobo has been the standard work for magicians who either do, or want to do coin magic. It is an encyclopedic compilation of sleights, tricks and routines by the world's best coin magicians up till 1966, when the book was last updated.

Magic For Dummies by David Pogue is great if you're in search of a few new magic tricks and a good chuckle. A lot of ad-lib effects are contained in the book - stuff you can do anywhere with common items. Every chapter has something helpful. There are even replies given for frequent questions like "how did you do that?" and stuff you can say when you flub a trick.

David Ginn has written an instructive handbook, Clown Magic for the clown that wishes to put a touch of magic in his routine. Clown Magic is packed with techniques to unite the comedy and tricks of clowning with the delight of magic. No sleight of hand tricks are involved, the entertainment comes from the delivery and not from the tricks themselves. The book has a large number of photographs and drawings of brilliant tricks and routines using homemade props.

Commended by the Los Angeles Times as "the text that ... young magicians swear by," Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic is filled with step-by-step directions. The knowledge behind 300 skills is supplied by over 2000 illustrations, from basic card tricks to advanced levitation, together with suggestions for planning and staging a professional-quality magic show.

And finally there's Everybody's Magic, a compilation of easy-to-do magic tricks from thirty of the best-known magicians in the UK. Sixty stunts and magic tricks have been supplied, all intended for beginners. Even veteran magicians will take pleasure in the book as a lot of of the contributions will take them back to a few of the traditional tricks that got them started in magic in the first place.

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Signature (a Random House website) looks at the many 2018 Golden Globes nominees based on books:

It is officially that time of the year – awards season is upon us. As usual, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has kicked things off with the announcement of the 2018 Golden Globe Awards nominees. The literary world is represented in this year's lineup with a smattering of great adaptations leading the charge in both film and TV. While the slate of nominees is populated with a few of the marquee titles you'd expect – "Game of Thrones" got it's annual nod, for instance – a few surprises cracked the surface as well. It looks to be another interesting year at the Golden Globes. Let's have a look.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism. The word was a top lookup throughout the year, with several spikes that corresponded to various news reports and events.

In an opinion piece in the Irish Times, John Boyne writes:

So I'm going to make a claim now that will probably get me kicked out of the Fraternity of Underappreciated Male Authors (FUMA) and blacklisted from the annual Christmas football game. Here goes:

I think women are better novelists than men.

There, I've said it. While it's obviously an enormous generalisation, it's no more ludicrous than some half-wit proudly claiming never to read books by women. For the record, purporting to love literature while dismissing the work of female writers is like claiming to be passionate about music while refusing to listen to anything but Ed Sheeran. However, I'm going to try to back up my sweeping statement...

The great Simeon Booker, one of the bravest journalists of our time, faced dangers far worse than a petulant president's social media feed. Booker refused to be cowed--and ultimately helped change the nation. His life's work should be a lesson to us all about the power of truth to vanquish evil.

Booker died Sunday at 99. At the height of his career, few could have imagined he would live so long.

As Washington bureau chief for Chicago-based Johnson Publications, publisher of the newsweekly Jet and the monthly magazine Ebony, Booker went to the Deep South to cover the most tumultuous events of the civil rights movement--life-threatening work for an African American journalist.

William H. Gass, a proudly postmodern author who valued form and language more than literary conventions like plot and character and who had a broad influence on other experimental writers of the 1960s, '70s and beyond, died on Wednesday in St. Louis. He was 93. Mr. Gass was widely credited with coining the term "metafiction" to describe writing in which the author is part of the story. He himself was one of the form's foremost practitioners.

Barnes & Noble, which posted a wider loss last quarter and sent its shares tumbling, is scaling back ambitions to become more than a bookseller.

The retailer had hoped that toys, games and other items would shore up its results, especially as Amazon ate away at its traditional business. But its non-book sales have flagged the past two quarters, and now the company is putting its focus back firmly on reading.

Shelf Awareness reports on the growing "Cider Monday" movement by indie booksellers in response to the big online shopping day known as Cyber Monday. In this low key but fun event stores offer their customers "a warm welcome and a cup of delicious cider" to thank them for shopping local.

Dictionary.com's choice for its Word of the Year is "complicit." It says online searches for the word spiked three times this year...

On Saturday, hundreds of booksellers across the USA took part in Indies First and Small Business Saturday, organizing all kinds of in-store activities, offering a range of deals, hosting parties and engaging in the staple of Indies First since the event was founded by Sherman Alexie in 2013: having authors work in their favorite indies as booksellers. Shelf Awareness reports on some of the events.

Meanwhile, in the UK, bookstores celebrated the first inaugural Saturday Sanctuary to "celebrate bookshops as a place of calm and respite from our hectic daily lives."

A New York Times opinion piece by Daniel T. Willingham lays out the argument that American's poor reading skills cannot be blamed on modern technology but on a misunderstanding of how the mind reads - that functional literary is grounded not just in the ability to read words but in having the factual knowledge to put what one is reading into context.

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