Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fooling Houdini

Thanks to the Highlander for hosting the 10th annual Holiday BC!  Hard to believe, but true.  Love that it's become such a tradish, even down to the menu:  hot artichoke dip (the low calorie one), bruschetta, beef bourguignon over garlic mashed potatoes, LOTS of kale salad, haricots verts, brownies and blondies and those famous Heath Bar cookies from Logan's Run. Lots of champers. Lots.  Thank goodness we had enough food. 

Well, it looks like Alex Stone couldn't pull a high rating out of a hat for our December book, Fooling Houdini.

The book on average scored a 5.3.  From the critics, two main themes were repeated:  first, that the book was too "thin"--in other words, not enough tricks in the bag to fill 300+ pages (in fact, the 10th Member said the entire book should have been an 8-page article in Vanity Fair:  snap!)-- and second, the story didn't flow well, skipping around from physics to street hustlers to the author trying to pick up girls in bars using card tricks. While these readers found certain individual elements among this melange of topics to be intriguing (in particular, learning about New York's magic "underground" was a favorite), there wasn't enough overall continuity to keep the audience engaged. Others in our group (haters, all of them) said they just didn't care about the author and that the book got overly technical. This last point is ironic considering how much heat the author took for "revealing" magic tricks in his writing.  It would seem that your average reader doesn't really want that level of detail and certainly isn't going home and trying to replicate the Ambitious Card Routine. On the flip side, the non-haters appreciated the insights into the history of magic, the tie-ins to math and science, the play-by-play instructions on how to run The Monte, and the theory that Jesus Christ himself might have been a magician. Abracadabra, so much for miracles. One thing we all could agree on: the dork factor here was super high. Super. High. Magic Olympics, anyone?

Dai Vernon, a.k.a "the Professor"

Richard Turner, card manipulation expert (and blind!)

 Jim McBride.  Oh so Vegas

Not sexy, right?


In related news, check out this blast from the past!  Our next meeting is at Chez Jefe on Tuesday.  We are reading Ms. Hempel Chronicles.  See you there and then.  xoej


Thanks for visiting! Read early and often!