By Roberto GiobbiFrom Hermetic Press
Seattle, WA 98106
Price: $33.00 Postage Paid
Two hundred and fifty pages (not including the marvelous end-leaves), complete with a detailed index, 7"x 10" cloth hardbound with a laminated dust-jacket. Clearly typeset and well laid-out.
Every time I look at this book I am filled with passion. A passion to immerse myself in it and the card magic that it teaches. Having been brought up with teachers like Ed Marlo, Jim Ryan, and Juan Tamariz, I am not easily impressed with any book on sleight-of-hand card magic. Card College not only impresses me, it is inspiring me as I study it .
When Juan Tamariz let me peruse his French edition of Card College a couple of years ago, I immediately regretted not understanding a word of French. I asked Juan why the book was not available in English. Of course, he had no answer. So I've had to wait. Thanks to Stephen Minch, the wait is over.
Not many magic books are currently available in German, French, Spanish, and English. Few of these titles deserve such an honor. Card College does.
Roberto Giobbi has written four volumes of the College, and I believe future volumes will be done as the art of card magic progresses. He has done a thorough job: crystal clear descriptions; vivid line drawings for illustrations (there are over twelve hundred!); and effective routines with which to immediately utilize the sleights with.
Volume One is available right now, and contains an excellent selection of topics: Fundamental Techniques; Overhand Shuffle Techniques; False Cuts; Controls; Forces; Transfer Cuts; Riffle Shuffle Techniques; The Glide; The Double Lift; The Key Card; Hindu Shuffle Technique; Flourishes; Spread Cull Techniques; Auxiliary Sleights; and The Top Change. Quite a list, isn't it? They're all there, and they are well covered.
Roberto doesn't assume that you have any prior knowledge. He covers everything in great detail without condescending to the reader. He starts with simple concepts and positions, and then slowly evolves into advanced sleights and maneuvers.
Every now and then he instills a little philosophy or theory into the text, and he does this painlessly. You never get the feeling that you are being preached to. His writing is unpretentious, and this draws the student further into the lessons. I really wish that I had this course when I first picked up a deck of cards.
I've already started to make notes in the margins of the book. I'm doing this because Roberto is making me think and analyze techniques that I've known about and used for years. A handling tip, a unique twist, or a minor finesse is worth it's weight in gold. And this is one heavy book.
If it seems like I'm in love with this book, it's because I am. Great care went into this course, and it shows. When all of the volumes are available, this course will be the de-facto standard for reference in card magic. There's only one thing the classic textbooks on card magic have that Card College doesn't have: dust. I don't expect to see a dusty copy in my lifetime.
Even the end-leaves of the book are brilliantly done. They contain completely detailed illustrations (maps) of the parts of the hands, and of the various parts of a deck. The next time someone says to "hold the deck in a dealing position (page fifteen), so that the outer right corner is resting on your left index finger, between the outer phalanx and the outer joint crease," just open the cover of the book, and you'll be all set.
Get Card College, devour it, live itit will passionately build (or strengthen!) the foundation of your greatest card miracles.
What are you waiting for? Close The Linking Ring (it will still be waiting for you when you get back), and go get this book right now. I mean it!
My Highest Recommendation.
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