Stand-up & general magic

Easy starts

Anything by Bruce Elliott
(various publishers)
Some excellent, commercial, and easy magic. Highly recommended for beginners and old-timers alike.

The Amateur Magician’s Handbook
Henry Hay (Signet)
One of the most popular beginner’s books. Excellent value. Highly recommended for newcomers.

Solid foundations

Greater Magic
J.N. Hilliard (Kaufman & Greenberg)
One of the classics. Belongs on every magician’s bookshelf.

Tarbell Course in Magic
Harlan Tarbell (Tannen)
8 volumes. Encyclopedic; you don’t actually need any other books for material. Excellent value.

The Dai Vernon Book of Magic
Lewis Ganson (Harry Stanley)
Classic Vernon: cards, coins, close-up, stand-up, cups and balls, linking rings, and much more.

Going further

John Carney’s Carneycopia
Stephen Minch (L&L Publishers)
Excellent close-up and stand-up material from a Vernon protégé. Very fine handlings; a lot of card material.

Gary Kurtz: Unexplainable Acts
Richard Kaufman (Kaufman & Greenberg)
Top-notch material by one of the most highly respected sleight-of-hand experts in contemporary magic. Difficult but rewarding.

Sawa’s Library of Magic
Richard Kaufman (Kaufman & Greenberg)
Offbeat ideas by a Japanese master. Stimulating for its unusual props and presentations.

The Books of Wonder (2 vols.)
Tommy Wonder & Stephen Minch (Hermetic Press)
This was the most talked about book of 1996. Excellent material, insightful essays, strong magic.

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