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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #1 
OK, I’ve had my first go at buying a Kindle magic book (Experiencing The Impossible). Loving it; nearly finished. What next?
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #2 
Based on several recommendations I downloaded this. Haven't yet read it; it's next on my list.

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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #3 
Check out “The Magician and the Card Sharp” by Karl Johnson. It’s a great book and story about Dai Vernon’s hunt for a legendary card sharp in the pre-WWII years. You get a great bio of Vernon but also insight into what informed his magic as well as a real sense of Magic’s “underground” at this time
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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #4 
Just downloaded ‘Here is Real Magic’, along with Fitzkee’s trilogy. I’ll certainly check out Johnson’s book now. Thanks, guys: got some great down-time planned in the next few weeks.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee


It’s a very good read and Johnson is mostly kind to magicians, but he does talk some guff. And for my money Vernon doesn’t entirely come off smelling of roses.

 



I own the book and it is indeed a good read.  Regarding Vernon, some of the anecdotes are certainly not flattering, but that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

Nobody is perfect and Vernon's failings have been well-documented.  He was not a role-model father, or husband according to those who knew him and quotes from his son Derek.

The one time he did try to obtain regular work that didn't involve cutting silhouettes or doing magic, he was injured severely and never returned to it.

Vernon is not portrayed kindly in the Britland/Gazzo book, 'Phantoms of the Card Table' either.  Although some of the actions attributed to him are recollections from Walter Scott and his wife and I would treat as opinion and not fact.

When Vernon is judged solely on his contributions to magic, he is without peer.
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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #6 
There are a lot of good ebooks out there ... but are they available for Kindle (in MOBI format as opposed to just reading the PDF, say, off a Kindle tablet)?  I don't know that the L&L books are in Kindle format
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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mbreggar
There are a lot of good ebooks out there ... but are they available for Kindle (in MOBI format as opposed to just reading the PDF, say, off a Kindle tablet)?  I don't know that the L&L books are in Kindle format


As for L&L's, no, they are not, unfortunately. Unless, that is, something's changed, and I doubt it has. They're PDFs and even on my Fire are frustratingly unreadable. 

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Abecarnow

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Remember to get Steve Spill's I Lie for Money, a great book. I am a friend of Steve, and I did buy the book, it is just a great book. Also, The Show Won't Go On, is a hilarious, though sometimes dark read. There is so much great stuff out there. I prefer mobi files, which Kindles are. But some magic books are just pdfs, and they are very readable too. Check out lybrary and Vanishing Inc for examples. 
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John Cowne

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Just got to page 49 of Nate Staniforth’s book. He’s a great ‘real-life story-teller’. Got a lot of ‘quotes’ being tucked away. I find I’m usually hooked when someone quotes from C.S.Lewis, and Nate’s picture of wonder akin to first going through the wardrobe gave me chills. I don't know why it took me so long to use Kindle, but I’m really enjoying it. I’m accumulating a reading list from y’all that will last me through the covid-19 crisis and beyond. Appreciate your input beyond words.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #10 
John, I'll second Abe's recommendation of Steve Spills, I Lie for Money. Really enjoyed it.

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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #11 
Thanks..Just bought it.
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee


Don’t agree, which may not surprise you and of course is sacrilege, blasphemous, profane, or the ramblings of an imbecile. Take your pick or feel free to substitute your own appellation.



Not surprised a bit.  You are more than welcome to disagree.
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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #13 
There were a few photos, as far as I recall, in the Kindle version. 
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee

Thankyou, and if you will allow, I will expand slightly. But first a question. Not a trick question, I hasten to add, but a genuine seeking of information.

Does your copy of the Johnson book have any illustrations?

 

My copy says it is first edition, 2005 and yes, it has photos.
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Not surprised a bit.  You are more than welcome to disagree.


As fun a read as it was, I wouldn't take a lot of what Karl Johnson writes to heart.  He had the mission of taking a lot of events, blending them together and then making people want to read it.

The hook was Kennedy and the center deal.  Been a while since I read it, but there are entire conversations in the book that are imagined.  All done for a good reason, to pique the interest of the reader, to dramatize things.  

There are a lot of events in the book that have specific detail, of which the author was not privy to.  
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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee

Nobody is without peer, wherever we look. Vernon is unquestionably at the Top Table, but it’s a Round Table. No one’s at the head.

You’re right, though I was referring specifically about his disdain for magicians, in particular his friends./p>


Wow! Your post reminds me of the messiness of life even in those we may put on a pedestal. And I hear your value of genuine friendships really coming through. They are indeed very precious. It makes me think of our forum; the initial attraction is of course magic. But every now and then you find a bonus - what the Good Book calls ‘a friend who is closer than a brother’. I’m thankful I’ve found some friends here who go beyond superficialities.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
We're diverging from the subject of kindle recommendations and I hope that John isn't annoyed by that.  If so, we can certainly start a new thread.

Vernon's apparent disdain for magicians is nothing new and unfortunately was not unique to him.  If you read a lot of magic history you find examples of many magicians over the years (and I'm sure they still exist) that have troubled relationships with other magicians.  You also find examples of magicians using other magicians for knowledge and little else.  

For example, in the Britland/Gazzo book, 'Phantoms Of The Card Table' Tommy Nelson Downs is portrayed as a voracious consumer of card technique.  He was seemingly driven to need to know everything that he could and was apparently jealous when he couldn't pry secrets out of people.  Interesting in that according to reports, many years after he had retired from performing, a magician observed a set of coins that Downs had used in his act.  The coins were well worn, obviously used for hundreds if not thousands of performances.  One of the coins had a recess on one side and was filled with what appeared to be a sticky sort of wax.  The magician asked Downs if this was the set of coins that he used for his famous 'Coin Star'.  Downs tried to deny it.  It seemed clear to the magician that the one with the recess was the one that would stick to Downs's thumb as he displayed the coins, but he wouldn't admit it.  Why?  This was years after he retired.

And on it goes.  When I began in magic I encountered several types of magicians.  In the IBM we had some that would attend every meeting faithfully yet never perform.  Some held positions in the ring such as treasurer or scribe.  I don't know if they ever performed at all, there was certainly no evidence of it.  Then there were some that were quick to show you what they were working on.  Even ask for feedback.  Another group always seemed to keep other magicians at arms length, only performing in "official" events and not collaborating at all.  They seemed neither interested in having you give them feedback nor would they offer any.

I think these types still exist.  And there are others.  Now that we have the internet, there are young people that probably never perform for live people, opting instead for the camera.  They may or may not socialize with other magicians so they have little concept of the "magician's code".

If you've read the history of 'Expert Card Technique' then you know about the furor that erupted upon the initial publishing of that book.  The 'Cliff Notes' is that Vernon had shared a ton of material with Miller and Miller went on to demonstrate it to Hugard and Braue.  Whether Miller knew it would end up in the book or not, it did.  This upset Vernon as the material had been shared in confidence.  I don't know Miller's motivation.  Like I said, he might have thought it wouldn't be put into the book.   Regardless, it did and was uncredited.  This was "fixed" in later printings but the damage was done.

I believe it was Perci Diaconis that urged Vernon not to share his work with other magicians, especially those he felt were unworthy.  In those days there was a definite "inner circle" in magic and there were even divisions within the inner circle.
Then there was the east coast versus west coast.  And so on and so on.

Students of Ed Marlo also know that he was not immune from controversy.  The "Shank Shuffle" controversy is just one episode.  Harry Lorayne has spoken also about Ed's occasional failings when it came to a trick's provenance.

None of this diminishes Marlo's standing in the annals of card magic.  It simply shows that he was human and suffered from all of the attendant predilections of same.

My point is, Vernon was not unique in the way he viewed other magicians.  He had and still has lots of company.
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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #18 
Ray: “We're diverging from the subject of kindle recommendations and I hope that John isn't annoyed by that.”

John: Not at all! I treat the diversions like dessert after dinner. Glad to get to know my friends at TMF a little better, and that often happens when we stray ‘off the path’. And the list of Kindle books suggested has already helped me add to my reading material for quite a while; I digest slowly! The different views of Vernon, in particular, has piqued my interest in exploring more about this ‘layered’ character whom I knew next to nothing about before this thread. I must admit, at first, I am always drawn to the techniques and philosophy of magic long before I get curious about the people behind them. But when I start going deeper down the rabbit hole, that’s when biographies become a more likely ‘purchase item’. And I imagine that very few biographies have been written that explore a person’s life and thoughts so thoroughly that a new one never needs to be written. I have several on ‘Captain’ James Cook! In the meantime, my magic e-library is growing thanks to you guys.
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Abecarnow

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Reply with quote  #19 
Also available is: Experiencing the Impossible the Science of Magic by Gustav Kuhn, a remarkably insightful book written by an academic/psychologist with brilliant insights. A really delightful read, which you need to spend careful time with, but well worth it. I read it as a printed book, but it is avaiable as a Kindle and it is splendid. See other discussions in the forum under SOMA.



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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abecarnow
Also available is: Experiencing the Impossible the Science of Magic by Gustav Kuhn, a remarkably insightful book written by an academic/psychologist with brilliant insights. A really delightful read, which you need to spend careful time with, but well worth it. I read it as a printed book, but it is avaiable as a Kindle and it is splendid. See other discussions in the forum under SOMA.




Got it, Abe! It’s a beauty. Such a challenge to our cognitive reasoning. I like his old chestnut, “ The combined cost of a bat and a ball is $1.10. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”. I’ve heard it before but it fools me every time. My wife got it straight away, and was surprised that so many get it wrong.
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