Zack Zeller

Library of Wonder: Mahdi Gilbert

Last month we had the privilege to glimpse the shelves of Adam Rubin—a short and invaluable grazing of what the cannon has to offer. This month proves no less substantial.

Curated by Mahdi Gilbert, June’s Library of Wonder abounds with charming oddities and titans of magic. The collection is not one to take lightly; Mahdi’s countless years of study within the art has procured a vast knowledge of the best conjuring has to offer. Mahdi is an inspiration—without hands, he is able to perform sleight of hand miracles better than scores of card men. His undeniable discipline and love for the art has propelled him above and beyond many of the best of us.

So as the hot summer sun begins to settle in for the dog days of June, head poolside with one of Mahdi’s picks. We guarantee you’ll be better off for it.  


The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar  – Roald Dahl

This is the story of "The Man Who Sees Without Using His Eyes". At first he abuses his powers to cheat at cards, later becoming a successful gambler, but eventually gets bored of winning. He then figures out how he can use his powers for good while still having a secret superpower. This is an important story for magicians to read because it deals with a protagonist who has a superpower that many magicians pretend to have in their performances. How would you use these powers? To help others or for profit? If you could really see without eyes what kinds of things would you do in your performances and why? All very valid questions and something magicians should always be asking themselves about everything they choose to do.

The Man Who Could Work Miracles - H.G. Wells

During an argument about the impossibility of miracles a man discovers he can do miracles. It's a really funny and realistic portrayal of what would happen if someone discovered they could do anything. If you could do anything, what would you do? As with The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, I’m reminded that magicians often play a role of having supernatural powers. If you could teleport objects and pause time would you really be using it to transpose cards and coins? This book explores a man who discovers that he can work real miracles and forces a performer to question the motivation within his act.

Mnemonica - Juan Tamariz

The best book on card magic ever written. The memorized deck is the great equalizer of card magic. You don't need to be master of sleight of hand to perform impossible card magic anymore. It allows you to perform miracles in the toughest conditions at any moment. Most of the classic routines in card magic can be improved instantly by combining them with a memorized stack. Juan Tamariz has lovingly created this masterwork on the stack in which he explores one of the most powerful tools in magic.

The Death and Resurrection Show: From Shaman to Superstar - Rogan P. Taylor

A book about how by using rituals, words, and deeds, the entertainers of today play a pivotal role in our lives by unconsciously fulfilling the same roles that shamans, priests, and other religions leaders played throughout human history. It’s a very important book on the origin of magic and magicians and how we should approach our role to be relevant in today's world.

The Magic of Ascanio Volume 2 - Ascanio

A lot of people recommend Volume 1 of The Magic of Ascanio, the book on his theories, and as a result ignore his extremely well structured and thought-out card magic. The best versions of Ace Assembly and Triumph are in this book.

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