I think it’s time to head back to the books.

With the Filipino magic community being nurtured by videos today, the hidden treasures can be found in the books.

Videos are great tools to learn moves, sleights, timing, etc. They make easier learning a trick, because reaching for the remote control is easier than flipping pages while holding props in both hands.

Videos also show you in graphic details the practicality of a trick. Some authors of books may sneak in a pipe dream or two in their opus that readers may not discover right away as something not workable. Video teachers, on the other hand, will be hard put to include  weak tricks or impractical methods in their DVDs. Viewers can spot them right away even if they are disguised with some nifty camera tricks or editing.

While videos may hasten acquiring manual dexterity (pictures are worth a thousand words, remember?), I still find great joy in reading books. Through the printed words, I can savor the lessons, digest the author’s words of wisdom, and internalize the fine points he raises on presentation and the psychology of a good performance. For some reasons, books allow me to appreciate more the artistic and aesthetic sides of magic.

That’s my preference, not an imposition on the readers.

This week, I am enjoying for the nth time reading my dog-eared copy of Henry Hay’s The Amateur Magician’s Handbook. I loll on the sofa and pass the day soaking up the great knowledge contained in this book.

Why not shut off the DVD player today? For a change, grab a book and take a magical tour in the pages written by Henry Hay, Bruce Elliot, Patrick Page, Tommy Wonder, Derren Brown, Luke Jermay, Lee Earle, Larry Becker, and of course Tarbell.

There are many more titles by many more great thinkers of our art. Be like a child in a candy store and merrily pick one book from many choices to while away one lazy afternoon.

One more thing. Since a great number of Pinoy magicians now sustain their knowledge with videos, finding materials from books (especially the older editions) can be a good strategy to build routines different from what everybody is doing.

Stay magical,



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