Talk About Tricks
The Complete File, 2001 - 2013
by Joshua Jay
Talk About Tricks: The Complete File is stunning. There, I said it.
This two-volume set is enormous, both physically and ... knowledge-ly? It has a lot of content, is what I'm trying to get at. But you already knew that, right?
The books are... huge. I know, I said that already. But I need to reiterate it. Together, they weigh over 11lbs. They're almost 1300 pages, and they're thick. Like, you need a sturdy shelf to hold them, thick.
The quality though is fantastic. The paper is a nice low-gloss paper so it's rugged enough to stand up to flipping through it. The binding is, well, it's made for books of the size. The translucent dust jacket makes the books look blue, but removing it is fun. Volume One is a gorgeous green, and Volume Two is a vibrant red. And the clothbound slipcase that they come in, my oh my.
The books cover the Talk About Tricks column, written by Joshua Jay between 2001 and 2013. That's 12 years of material, an issue every month. There are 144 columns written and more tricks than you'll know what to do with. There's everything in here from card magic to coin magic, to magic with bills and even just the card boxes themselves. I have been going through them -- mostly paying attention to only the card magic -- and I have already picked out a few routines that I've been practicing daily! And I'm still in 2001!
The column, like a normal trick column in a magic magazine, is fueled by submissions from the public. A lot of folks we know about today got a start by publishing here. Names you might recognize like Harapan Ong, Alex Pandrea, Asi Wind, and Calen Morelli. And other, more established magicians, also published their fair share. Pit Hartling, Darwin Ortiz, Jay Sankey, Paul Harris, and Roy Walton, to name a very few. When I went through the list, I really hadn't heard of half of them (or more). I searched for them online afterwards and wow, I feel like I've been living under a rock. A rock made of cards, of course since they are magicians of other genres but still.
If you haven't gathered it yet, I mostly dabble in card magic and very little outside of it. The tricks in Talk About Tricks are, from eyeballing it, roughly 60% card tricks. I could be off, but the Index at the back breaks them out by category and -- without doing any real math -- it looks like it's a little more than half. However, there are some pretty fun looking trick ideas with everyday items that I very easily see myself getting sucked into. If I had this book when I was starting magic, I likely wouldn't have needed another for a very long time.
Table of Contents
The Contents for this two-volume set clocks in at 30 pages. Wowzas! That's a bit much to include on this page, so I've put it on a separate page here: Talk About Tricks - Contents
I've included the difficult rating for each trick too. This was an awesome feature of the magazine and I'm really glad to see that it carried over to the book. I don't know exactly how they calculated it, but when I figure it out, I would love to apply it to routines myself!
Where to buy?
This two volume set runs at $250, but in my opinion it's worth far more -- even if you own the MAGIC Magazine issues that the tricks come from. You can find the book on a few sites, but Vanishing Inc. is my go-to spot. Not to mention, they published it!
Talk About Tricks, written by Joshua Jay, is a two-column set of books that spans 12 years of MAGIC Magazine's publication, featuring the trick submission column of the same name, Talk About Tricks. They are hardcover copies, published in 2022 by Vanishing Inc., and have a total of 1294 pages between the two of them.