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Houston, Texas
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Profile of hobbymagic
Being relatively new to magic I am amazed by the apparent vast libraries that many of you have. I can rationalize that if I were a full time professional magican this is a cost of doing business.
I visited the Magic Castle and was impressed by the library they have for members. Are there other libraries that magicians can use for reference?
Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
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A vast library isn't really essential.
I'm sure if you look at a lot of the books published today, you'd realize that what they would make is a "half-vast" library.

Depending on what sort of magic you were doing, you could have a pretty good library with 20 or 30 books -- as long as they were the right books!
Peter Marucci
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Los Angeles
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Profile of martinkaplan
The Castle is the only place that I know of in the United States that has such an extensive library at the disposal of its members. A number of public libraries have magic books on their shelves, but they are usually limited to magic for beginners. The Learned Pig Project has a number of older texts available for download on its website. You also might want to check out the Gutenberg Project to see if they have any magic texts available.

Peter is correct when he says that you can most certainly get by with a limited number of basic texts.

craig fothers
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I was wondering if there were any projects on the net for this kind of thing! Thanks Martin!
I'm a beginner too and I'm trying to carefully choose which books to add to my collection. I want to be a magic-book-reader, and not a magic-book-collector! Smile
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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Actually, the SAM has a library for its members, containing books and videos and films.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Steve Brooks
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Northern California - United States
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Scott is correct, The Society of American Magicians has a very extensive library, and I do know it's possible for members to make use of it, though I never have myself.

As far as a magic library goes, size is not the issue, but quality. I have several books in my own library, but there are many more I will eventually purchase. Of course, I am also a collector of sorts, and besides technical information, I have a great interest in magic history.

I must admit, that as a creator of effects, my library serves me well as a reference point as it were. In that context, you can never have too much information.
:donut2: Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Joe M. Turner
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Atlanta, Georgia
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I found that my library grew as I developed more specific interests and tried to track down sources that were referenced by other works.

I confess to being something of a bibliophile and collector, but not on the scale of many in magic. My personal library has fewer than 1000 volumes (books & videos). Some personal magic libraries have many thousands of items.

Just as some people enjoy looking for rare magic props, others enjoy looking for hard-to-find magic texts.

The most important thing is to actually read what you buy. There are a few in my library that I have had in the "in stack" for a year or more but haven't gotten to yet!

The down side of a large library is that it can be a challenge to focus if you let your mind wander, drifting over the spines of the books and remembering little gems that you should go back to instead of working on what it is you have chosen to practice. Kind of an ironic problem -- like starving at a feast.
Joe M. Turner
Geoff Williams
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St. Pete Beach, FL
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What GREAT advice! To have such jewels at your disposal and neglect them is a pity, indeed!

Thanks, Joe, for bringing that to light.
"Saját légpárnás tele van angolnák."

(Hungarian for "My hovercraft is full of eels")
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Owen Wilder
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There is a website called The Learned Pig which has loads of online magic you can access after you have filled in an application form.

There is so much great stuff here it will keep you going for years.
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171 Posts

Profile of Gawin
Yes owenwildboy
Learned Pig project is great but you shouldn´t be on the beginning of magic - some experience should be there! Even to get access - or has it changed and got easier?
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Magic Pig has still some access limitations -they check by human your magic knowledge!


PS Grüße aus Wien
life is real magic
Brian Proctor
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The Portland S.A.M. has a library where members can borrow videos up to a month. I can't wait to join! Smile Smile
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Profile of Gawin
To Martin

I know, as I´m a member there too.
The only thing I want to say is, that the stuff there won´t really fit to beginners. Some experience must be there.

Schöne Grüße aus Rednitzhembach - bei Nürnberg.

Ich freue mich wirklich darüber, dass hier so viele verschiedene Nationen vertreten sind.

(Hello from Rednitzhembach near Nurenberg. [Germany]

I´m always happy that there are so much different nations joined in this Cafe.)

Gawin Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
Matt Graves
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Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
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Well, just my two cents worth here... I've got to recommend some specific books... some of which I don't even have yet. Smile But I'm saving my pennies and saving my dimes...

The Amateur Magician's Handbook
Now You See It, Now You Don't!
Modern Coin Magic
Growing In The Art Of Magic
The Magic Handbook
The Dai Vernon Book of Magic
Dai Vernon's Inner Card Trilogy
Art of Astonishment series

Don't get in too big a hurry buying... have fun reading them, man. The really, really good ones seem to be few and far between, to me, and I've listed the ones I think are the best.

The last three I would really like to read but I just haven't saved up enough dough to buy them yet... but just from hearing other magicians talk about them, I can tell that they are excellent books.

The only book on my list here I'll have to rank a little lower than the others is The Magic Handbook by Peter Eldin. Some of the tricks in there are great, but some just look stupid to me... to be bluntly honest. But you know, you'll pick the ones you like...

All the books I've got, you can get from Amazon.com, except Growing In The Art of Magic which you can get from Eugene Burger's website for $20.00. It's a lot of advanced magical thinking packed into only about 45 pages! It will really make you look at the way you present your magic, though.

But if I had to recommend just one, I'd have to say the Amateur Magician's Handbook. I think it's just the best book you could possibly start out with - it covers sleight of hand, apparatus, mental magic, how to stage a show, closeup, kid's shows, training with videotape, and it even has a lot of theory on presentation like in the Eugene Burger book. And it has a lot of tricks...

I certainly haven't learned them all, and I've had the book for nearly six years! Maybe I should get busy reading as well...

Smile Smile Smile
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Magique Hands
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Lincoln, NE.
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Here's what I would call a beginner's list:

1) The Mark Wilson Complete Course in Magic (I owe much of my earlier beginnings to this incredible man. I was fortunate enough to have been able to take his course by mail. Each month, he sent me a new section. They just don't make 'em like that anymore!)

2) As Serling307 said "The Amateur Magician's Handbook."

3) Now You See It, Now You Don't, by Bill Tarr

4) The Klutz Book of Magic (Yes, I know...)

5) Modern Coin Magic

Please remember, these are books for beginners, and these books I've mentioned, have wonderful material.

- - Troy
"If you go around sprinkling Woofle Dust on everything... people will think 'My... What an odd character." www.magicmafia.com
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Redcar, England
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The two books I reccomend to all beginners are "The Royal Road To Card Magic" and "Mark Wilsons Complete Course In Magic". Here in England the latter is available in many remainder book shops and can be bought cheaply.
Mike Smith
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Edinburgh, UK
9 Posts

Profile of Tyrdius
I just ordered those two books from Amazon this morning! I had the "Royal Road" years ago but it's lost in the mist of house moves. Smile

Actually, I didn't get the "Complete Course" by Mark Wilson, I got "Cyclopedia of Magic". Do you know what the differences are?


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The Complete Course has been split up into a number of smaller publications in which the Cyclopedia was one.

It is not as easy to come across the complete course in these bookshops now and has not been for several years.

If you have a local club it may have a library for members. The British Ring of the IBM has a library and books are taken out by post. You simply pay for the postage.

It is surprising how many members of clubs don't use the club library, which is certainly one of the main advantages of membership for those wanting to learn.

The Learned Pig site is an excellent web site (as is this one).

Paul Hallas
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Profile of p.b.jones
I think that having a large library in many cases has a lot to do with how long you have been into magic for example most people might spend say Ł50.00 a month on their hobby
if it was stamp collecting, shooting ext.
so it would not be unrealistic to say that as a hobby, magicians (always claiming to be poor) bought 1 or 2 books a month lets say 1 thats 12 a year if you have been into magic for 20 years or so then you are aleady up to 240 books!
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Nassau Bay, TX
533 Posts

Profile of RayBanks
Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia of Magic is basically the same as the Complete Course. The Cyclopedia is a small (about 4" square)paperback book while the Complete Course is a full size hard cover. There are a few things left out of the Cyclopedia but it is still a great way to start.

The Complete Course is readily available in the States and through Amazon. I did notice that Amazon promotes getting both books but you are really buying the same thing (almost) twice.

I still use mine almost every month to look something up or get a better idea on a sleight.

Good Luck Smile
Pick a card, any card...No. not THAT one...THIS one

Ray Banks
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