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bg
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I'm ready to purchase a new book and would like to get some opinions.
The books I have in mind are The Magic of Michael Ammar, Destroyers,Art of Astonishment(vol.1,2 or 3?),and The Magic Book(lorayne)
I'm a hobbiest and my interest is close up and impromptu magic.
I can only afford one book so what book would you recommend?
Thanks for your help, Brian
jeline
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You can't go wrong with any of those books. However, if I had to choose one I would probably go with Harris' Art of Astonishment and start with Vol 1. This three volume set is one of THE best compilations on the market.
Sybilmagic
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I ahve not read them all but have destroyers although a good book i think Harris's material is superior and would give you more enjoyment. Destroyers is just reworkings of old plots.
bg
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Is the Art of Astonishment books mostly card effects? I do some card stuff but not my main interest.

Also is the Ammar book mainly for the working pro? The description seems to indicate it might be but some of the tricks look enticing, such as CMH.
Mr Amazing
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bg, it was quite a few years ago that I did the type of magic these books are about, and of the books you ask about I only have the Ammar book and the Lorayne book, so FWIW;

These two are truly great books. None requires that you are a "working pro" but the material Ammars book is possibly a little more towards that side than the Lorayne book. Ammars book contains magic for all venues; close-up, platform, walk around etc etc whereas Loraynes is more focused on close-up.

Ammars book has some really interesting essays etc, but Loraynes is only jam packed with tricks.

If you have only been in magic for a few years (or even shorter), then I think the Lorayne book is a better purchase for you.

The Ammar book is a compilation of his own effects, and as such it is not as targeted/focused as the Lorayne book. IMO.

As mentioned, I don't have the Harris books, but I do - or at least did - have several of his original books, of which AoA is a compilation I belive. Based on that, I would think the AoA series would provide you with a lot, but the main aspect of it is probably as a source of creativity. This man has altered the way we magicians and possibly laymen look on a deck of cards forever. Not that he is very technically skilled, but he is just extremely creative. As you may guess from this, there is probably(!) a lot in there that is totally unpractical.

As I said, if you have only been in magic for a few years, then of the books I've commented upon, Loraynes book is probably going to be your best horse for the money.


/Matias
Mark Butcher
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I have all the books you are considering and if I could only keep one it would be the Paul Harris AoA series. However if you really like coins and don't care much for cards then go with Destroyers.

-Mark
bg
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Matias, is the Lorayne book going to repeat alot of tricks in other beginner books such as Cyclopedia of Magic, Magic for Dummies or Art or Magic(Downs),etc. If so I already have these and am lokking for new stuff.
Thanks, Brian
Gary
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You won't go wrong with the Ammar book. It's an all-round good investment and you will not be disappointed. AOA as already stated, is largely cards focused as opposed to a compilation of a variety of ideas, tricks and routines.
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Steve Friedberg
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Brian:
I have The Magic Book...and it's a very, very good volume, especially for someone who's a hobbyist, as you and I both are.

Lorayne's style is far more conversational than the others'...and he writes this particular book as if you're not already an expert. You may see some duplication of effects from other places, but I think you'll be happy with The Magic Book, if you buy it.
Cheers,
Steve

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Alan Jackson
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I agree. I think the "The Magic Book" is the best introduction to close-up magic. A small number of well-taught sleights and a good selection of tricks. Very well written. Be warned though, Harry Lorayne's other books are considerably more difficult (still very good though).
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eddieloughran
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I have the Magic book and it's hardly been opened. Only my opinion but its an absolute beginners.
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bg
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Sounds like Loraynes book might be too basic? I have a number of begining level books and videos and I see a tremendous amount of overlap and I don't really want to spend 30 or 40 dollars on a book where only a part of the material is new.
Does Ammars book have a good amount of close up material or is there alot of stage stuff.
Also any theory in these books or only tricks?
Any other books that you think would fit with what I'm looking for please recommend.(if available)
Thanks for the comments you've been very helpful.
Brian Smile

I found the table of contents for Ammars book and it seems to be for the working pro. Are the chapter headings deceptive or are there a good number of tricks in it because it seems not to.
Maybe none of the books I originally looked at are a good choice for me.
What book would you buy for closeup/impromptu magic?
Larry Barnowsky
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They are all fines books but how about another choice. Get Johnny Thomson's Commercial Classics Video series and learn the classics from a true pro. There is so much great material with cards, coins, knives, chains etc. and all performed close up. The instruction is excellent and someone at your level would benefit from his teaching. There is no filler or padding. All the material is tested and practical. It's also cheaper than AOA.
Mr Amazing
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Quote:
On 2003-03-30 12:13, bg wrote:
Matias, is the Lorayne book going to repeat alot of tricks in other beginner books such as Cyclopedia of Magic, Magic for Dummies or Art or Magic(Downs),etc. If so I already have these and am lokking for new stuff.
Thanks, Brian

I've never read those other books you mention.

But I can tell you this, for being a beginners book (or perhaps a fundamental book is a better description), Loraynes is surprisingly advanced IMO.

Overlap? Well, it does teach you e.g the basic grips and moves in cards and coins, but I would be very surprised if there is a lot of overlap in actual routines in other books. It does bring up e.g the Ambitious Card, and I think Coins Across, but as I'm sure you know, there are a zillion variations for that multi phase routine. There are of course also other chapters devoted to other areas in close up, i.e except the card and coin chapters.

Having sold off most of my magic books, both Loraynes and Ammars book are two of the very few I've kept.


Let me comment on books (series) such as AoA. As I said, I don't have them, but I have read a lot of Harris material in the past. The problem for a newcomer reading them is that you may(!) become overwhelmed with a lot of hmmm "weird" stuff (albeit possibly great). Maybe you can compare it to a beginner learning to cook. It's probably(!) not a great idea to start out with some exotic French delicatesse, because it's just too weird or special (albeit possibly great, again). At least IMHO I would first just rather learn how to make some great pasta, omelets and hamburgers. But Harris books are probably more fun than any of the other books though!

And, as I said before, the Ammar book is great, but as a compilation of one mans work it is just that and probably not really targeted at you in the same way. I feel. But it's a really really great book, and you will not be sorry if you get it. (As for CMH, just get someone at your club to teach you Smile )

Of the two/three, I would think Ammars book has the most theory. Loraynes does have some talk in the descriptions, but there is nothing on e.g performance theory or so. Get the book for that; Ortiz "Strong Magic".

I recommend you scan the archives here on the Café. You'll find many recommendations. I would think that a lot more people recommend Loraynes book than the other mentioned, although it has of course been around longer also, so...

Or, how about this: Tell us what kind of magic you want! For instance, if you're not a card freak, then AoA is probably not the best place (even if it probably contains some other stuff also).

You did say you wanted impromptu stuff. Then I definitely think Loraynes is better than Ammars. I'm too lazy to bring out my books, but as I recall it Loraynes book deals with every day items, and no gimmicks, whereas Ammars book is a little more of the parlor type - a few baloons, a pair of scissors but also regular cards etc. I think his Cups'n Balls routine is in there also.

BTW, I think you're wise in going for the impromptu (or appearent impromptu) approach. This is, after all, closer to what real magic would be. ...IMO...


/Matias
Uli Weigel
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What about some of the older classics? Magic was not invented only 20 years ago.
Very good choices would be "Stars of Magic" and "The Dai Vernon Book of Magic". Top notch magic, no fillers, not too much card magic. Or do you all think these books are just too good to recommend them? Just a thought.
Jeff Dial
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As to old beginner’s books try the Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay. Not only a good introduction to magic and a great reference tool, it contains some good philosophy that goes beyond "never repeat a trick and don't tell the secret". (Advice I should have heeded when I first read the book.)
"Think our brains must be too highly trained, Majikthise" HHGG
JustAnotherMagi
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I would say all those books are killer except the Ammar one. Overrated trash...
"I am the best magician ever..."
-The Conceited Part of My Mind
eddieloughran
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Hi bg
I`m curious as to why you chose these books to shortlist. They are all different to each other. You are obviously past the beginners stage and I'm not sure these are close up really.
As Uli says above there are lots of other books- Art of close up- Ganson
Slight of hand - Sach
The vernon book
magic of the hands - Victor
Secrets - Carney
Workers - Close
even Daryls dvds Fooler Doolers
bg
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Thanks Eddie, that's the impression I'm getting and have turned my attention to other books. It's hard to know what different books offer without seeing them. that's whats so great about the Café.
Another problem I found was alot of books don't stay in print to long so alot of books that are suggested are'nt available.
What about the Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic? Is it a good book to have. Is it only begginer level material.
Any other suggestions would be appreciated and I'll check out the books you listed.
Thanks, Brian
manipulator
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Art of Astonishment is great! I do not have the other books that you mentioned, but I highly recommend Paul Harris' AoA. Very creative and practical stuff.
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