Reading (and how to do more of it)

Magic books seem to be experiencing a bit of a comeback – and about time! I’m not sure how people new to magic are supposed to learn much about the art from when the marketplace dictates that you buy the tricks one at a time for £25. Why does it have to be quality over quantity. GIVE ME BOTH!

Anyway, it appears, to me at least, that buying magic books is about as addictive as an average heroin addiction (and similarly expensive) and there’s always a vast backlog of books to catch up with – a plight shared with many of my fellow magicians.

Here are my tips then, for how to do more looking at words with eyes…

1. The Daily Goal.

This is a simple one. Read one trick, everyday. It can be from any book, at any time, and it just takes a few minutes. And yet, day by day, your knowledge will be expanding, and you are sure to uncover some real gems. Especially if you have a pretty esoteric library, and like to skip from book to book like I do.

2. Take Advantage of the Modular Style of Most Magic Books!

Reading a magic book is not like a novel. Tricks and descriptions are short, and normally not dependent on reading the item before or after. So, rather than being a daunting task, be aware that a magic book is not to be consumed in one sitting (or even read). Reading one or two things, and then going about the rest of your day, and thinking about what you’ve read, is a much wiser use of tight time schedules.

3. Book Placement!

I started having several books on the go at once. The new Roy Walton book is on the bedside table, some lecture notes are by the phone in the office, and there’s always something to read in the kitchen too. You are much more likely to be able to dive into books for a quick trick if they are right at hand when you have a few moments.

4. Fill Time!

Following on from that, how many times are you in the kitchen, just waiting for something to finish cooking? Or on the phone on hold? Waiting for your partner to finish a TV show / book / etc? Hiding from the rozzers? Use these times at home to grab some knowledge from the closest book at hand!

5. Portability!

Have a good range of material accessible not only at home, but when you are on the go as well. Sure, you don’t want to be lugging the Stewart James book on the train, but you might as well read something, so choose smaller books (Eric Mead’s book is VERY portable!) and be sure to load up your Kindle and / or iPad! Waiting for a bus or train? Stuck in a queue? Boring dinner companions? Time consuming surgery? Your portable library will keep you covered!

So there you have a few tips and tricks to help you enjoy your books. Start working through that backlog, and update me on the hidden gems.

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