“Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Tahir Shah

This book is a story of initiation into the secrets and mysteries of magic. It is a fable, written in autobiographical form. The author-hero finds himself, like Alice down the rabbit hole or Dorothy in Oz, in a strange, wonderful and at times dangerous world. He must somehow navigate this new territory and, with the help of some colorful companions, find his way home. The story begins when Tahir...

“Inside Magic” by George Boston with Robert Parrish

Years ago Eugene Burger loaned me a book by an author I’d never heard of. It was Inside Magic by George Boston, a wonderful portrait of magic and magicians in the early part of the twentieth century, a time when Chicago was often at the center of magic in the United States. I devoured every word and thoroughly enjoyed it. There was just one problem: Eugene wanted his book back. After sadly...

“Jar of Fools” by Jason Lutes

In the early 1990s Jason Lutes, a writer and artist living in Seattle, received a Xeric Foundation Grant. And we’re lucky he did. Because it provided him funds to complete and publish his first comic book, Jar of Fools. A two-part story originally issued in separate books, Jar of Fools is now available in a single volume. Calling Jar of Fools a comic book is a bit like calling Crime and...

“The Knife Thrower and Other Stories” by Steven Millhauser

I recommended The Knife Thrower and Other Stories during my “Literature for Magicians” talk at the last Mystery School. It may seem odd to recommend a work of fiction to magicians, but I feel that this book (and Millhauser’s work in general) has not only provided me with hours of enjoyment, it has taught me a thing or two about magic. I’m of the opinion that it’s...


NIL TERRIBLE NISI IPSE TIMOR. (Nothing is terrible except fear itself.) Francis Bacon, 1623 In the minutes before my show I could feel it creeping up: snakebite, poison in my veins. Stomach churning, palms sweating, heart racing, hands trembling — Stage fright. Virtually every performer who has ever faced an audience has experienced stage fright. Strangely, given its universality, the...

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