|Carney, John: The Book of Secrets (Lessons
©2002 John Carney and CarneyMagic
Hardcover, 369 pages
Image courtesy e-Bay seller Radnoy
Comments (Josh Mandel): Writing, Design and Illustrations by John Carney. Savvy, thoughtful, and well-rounded, it's the book you wish ha'd been your first or second magic book. However, it assumes prior knowledge, if not prior bad habits. Full of advice: both philosophical and practical -- culled from both the author's experience and from the writings and repertoire of an extensive array of masters (largely past). You learn much of Carney's way of thinking as he conducts a close examination of numerous classic effects and variations, and with an entertaining and affable voice, provides an extensive explanation of the reasoning behind every move (and every move that's considered and discarded). The chapters, referred to as Lessons, end with calls to action, often a list of questions to think about in relation to either your own effects or the effect just taught, sometimes actual roll-up-the-sleeves assignments. The book's manufacture, design and illustration are handsome and stylistically classical about to the point of whimsy.
5 Foreword: by Jim Steinmeyer
6 Introduction: by the Author
10 The Student Begins: An approach to studying magic, and reading
22 Rubbed Away: Variations on the vanishing of a silk
36 Legends - Bautier de Kolta: A few paragraphs about the man and his impact on magic.
38 Just a Cigar: A routine with a tiny purse and a lot of big cigars.
52 On Palming: A lesson in top palms, bottom palms, and side steals.
82 Up My Sleeve: A deck gradually travels up one sleeve; a selected card travels visibly up one sleeve and down the other.
96 Silver and Glass: Five coins appear, then travel across to a glass.
118 Legends - Dai Vernon: A few paragraphs about the man and his impact on magic.
120 Muscade Magic: A lesson in the cups and balls
138 Legends - Tony Slydini: A few paragraphs about the man and his impact on magic.
140 Dissolving Steel: Two old and little-known moves for the Linking Rings.
146 Hidden Gifts: Essays on the creative process, originality, perfectionism, and more.
166 Creation of Life: a torn piece of a magazine page visibly turns into a real egg.
178 Legends - Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin: A few paragraphs about the man and his impact on magic.
180 Mercurial Cards: A flurry of color changes and deck transformations, ending with the entire deck being examinable.
198 Art…In Magic?: An essay about art, meaning, emotion, and purpose in performance.
206 Leipzig-Skinner Surprise: An ambitious card effect using two selections.
220 Legends - Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser: A few paragraphs about the man and his impact on magic.
222 Forgotten Recollection: Three selected card revelations, followed by the three cards transforming into three other selected cards.
232 The Classic Pass and Other Myths: Instruction in the Pass and how its principles apply to performance in general.
248 Off the Vine: A series of manipulations done with grapes incorporating, in part, one-in-the-pocket, two-in-the-hand.
258 Legends - David Devant: A few paragraphs about the man and his impact on magic.
260 Verbeck's Envelopes: A routine encompassing coins, nested envelopes, and torn-and-restored effects.
276 Multiple Slip: A multiple card control taught in the context of a four-ace effect.
286 Legends - Fred Kaps: A few paragraphs about the man and his impact on magic.
288 Tools of the Trade: "Approaches to practice, effect, affectations, and the advantages of the southpaw."
300 Ascension: Methods, variations, and approaches to the rising card effect
322 Legends - Al Baker: A few paragraphs about the man and his impact on magic.
324 Swing Blade: The knife-and-paper trick, with work on the paddle move.
334 Money for Nothing: Instruction in the Miser's Dream.
348 Legends - John Ramsay: A few paragraphs about the man and his impact on magic.
350 Thimble Collection: A thimble routine with extensive instruction in the necessary sleights
364 The Final Lesson: Brief words on learning magic, and a "post-graduate" assignment