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26 Magic Books: For the Beginner


This article is from the Magic FAQ, by Paul Nielsen nielsen@vulture.eecs.umich.edu with numerous contributions by others.

26 Magic Books: For the Beginner

Anderson, George Magic Digest
(1972, DBI Books)

[SD] Don't know where you'd find this, but it is a very nice beginners
book which opens with basic "rules" for magic and performing. It
contains nice effects that are easy to learn but effective, covering
cards, coins, ropes, etc. One particularly interesting effect is "The
Australian Belt," a gambling trick using a chain (or rope could be
substituted) which is folded into a figure-8 and then used to
challenge a spectator to pick which loop would catch the finger and
which would not. Why even mention this, of all things? I saw David
Roth do this at a magicians' picnic a few years ago to keep a kid out
of his way while he did his more interesting coin stuff for the
adults. It was a memorable distraction and I looked around for it for
a year until I came upon this book.

Hay, Henry The Amateur Magician's Handbook
(1982, Signet/New American Library)

[SD] Reprint of a 1950 "classic" for the amateur. Lots of basic
advice, but, as with many older works which just get reprinted rather
than really updated as to language and layout, the prose is dense.
Also as in many books (not just older ones reprinted), the photos are
often dark -- illustrations seem to work out better in magic books
unless the highest quality photography is used. However, this is a
good introduction to magic and includes a "modern" section (by The
Amazing Randi) on using video-tape to practice.

[RG] The stuff here is harder than in Wilson's [Mark Wilson's Course in
Magic], because that fits Hay's philosophy that if you get good at the hard
stuff first, you'll be better at the easy stuff later. But it's also more
thorough than Wilson.

Klutz Press The Klutz Book of Magic
(????, Klutz Press)

[FD] Don't underestimate the Klutz Book of Magic. I sat through a
great lecture by Eric DeCamps and then realized that the "lecture
notes" could be the Klutz Book of Magic! There is a ring steal on
page 58 that is a classic in magic. The demonstrator from The
Collector's Workshop used this sleight in his demonstration at
Tannen's Jubilee.

Bob Longe The World's Best Card Tricks
The World's Greatest Card Tricks
The World's Best Coin Tricks
(????, ????)

[RG] Despite the hyperbolic titles, these books are pretty good for
beginners. The coin one takes you through all the basic coin moves, the
card books a few EASY card moves, and LOTS of tricks employing these
sleights. And they're CHEAP! You can find them in most larger book stores
(usually in the games section) for about $6 apiece.

Lorayne, Harry The Magic Book
(1977, Putnam)

[SD] A good first book in magic and maybe the cheapest hard back book
in existence (at $9 [still? - RD]) for its size and specialty topic.
Lorayne's considered a good author and teacher of magic and this book
covers basic card and coin sleights and effects as well as a
smattering of number magic, mental effects, and miscellaneous magic
with everyday objects.

Tarr, Bill Now You See It, Now You Don't (Vols 1 & 2)
& Classic Magic Tricks
(19??, ????)

[SD] Don't have these around at the moment and my mind went
blank...arrgh! But, for the beginner, the first two of these are
really recommended. (Supporting videos are available now, I believe.)
They talk about basic sleights with cards, coins, balls, cigarettes,
matches, thimbles, silks, etc. The third is an "everything you always
wanted to know about" certain "platform magic" like how Linking Rings,
Rice Bowls, etc. are done.


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