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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The term "thought provoking" is over-used but that does describe eighth grader Melissa Shang's opinion piece in the New York Times in which she asks why "there are very few stories about kids in wheelchairs, and there are even fewer with a disabled person who is cheerful and happy." Her powerful article questions why "disability is always seen as a misfortune, and disabled characters are simply opportunities to demonstrate the kindness of the able-bodied protagonists."
Tracy K. Smith has been named the 22nd poet laureate of the United States. Smith's poetry has won her such top awards in her field as the James Laughlin Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and, for her 2011 collection Life on Mars, the Pulitzer Prize.
For many years, the publishing industry's major annual event, BookExpo, was aimed at publishing insiders only. A few years ago, organizers ReedPOP, started experimenting with allowing in more readers, which morphed into a separate one-day event in 2014 called BookCon which immediately followed BookExpo. In 2015, BookCon moved to two days; then in 2016 back to one day.
This year, BookExpo's show floor was reduced from three days to two and BookCon's expanded back to two days. While engaging with fans is seen as positive by many in the publishing industry, the shows' continuing evolution is causing headaches for some, particularly the smaller, specialized publishers who wished to exhibit at BookExpo but not BookCon and thus found themselves relegated to a separate exhibit area at the Javits Center in New York.
An Amazing World of Dr. Seuss museum opened in Springfield, MA last weekend. Springfield is the home town of Theodor Geisel better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss - who wrote and illustrated dozens of rhyming children's books including The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. The museum features interactive exhibits, artwork never before displayed publicly and explains how his childhood experiences in the city about 90 miles west of Boston shaped his work.
Helen Dunmore has died aged 64 of cancer. She authored 12 novels, three books of short stories, numerous books for young adults and children and 11 collections of poetry.
She was also Chair of the Society of Authors until shortly before her death, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She lived in Cliftonwood, Bristol the setting for her poignant last novel, Birdcage Walk (published in the UK earlier this year and due to publish in the US on August 1). Although she knew she was dying only at the editing stage she suggests, in an afterword, that she must have known subliminally because the novel was "full of a sharper light, rather as a landscape becomes brilliantly distinct in the last sunlight before a storm".
On Monday, the Nobel Foundation released Bob Dylan's lecture (which he gave just shy of the 6 month deadline in order to receive the award and cash prize of US$900,000. In his 27 minute speech, Dylan explored the topic that was on many people's minds when he was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, can song lyrics be literature?
"The speech is extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent," Sara Danius, the Swedish Academy's permanent secretary, wrote in a blog post. "Now that the Lecture has been delivered, the Dylan adventure is coming to a close."
Listen to the speech
The U.S. Postal Service is honoring Henry David Thoreau (b. July 12, 1817) during the bicentennial year of his birth with a Forever Stamp. A first-day-issue stamp dedication ceremony took place last week at the the Walden Pond State Reservation Visitors Center in Concord, Mass.
Denis Johnson, the prize-winning fiction writer, poet and playwright best known for his surreal and transcendent story collection "Jesus' Son," has died at age 67.
Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.
The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.
America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.