Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ Fooling Houdini

This week I'm reading Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind by Alex Stone. I thought it looked interesting and might make good research (one has to feed the muse, but one is never sure what she'll like.) It's not quite what I expected, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

From the back rooms of New York City’s age-old magic societies to cutting-edge psychology labs, three-card monte games on Canal Street to glossy Las Vegas casinos, Fooling Houdini recounts Alex Stone’s quest to join the ranks of master magicians.

As he navigates this quirky and occasionally hilarious subculture populated by brilliant eccentrics, Stone pulls back the curtain on a community shrouded in secrecy, fueled by obsession and brilliance, and organized around one overriding need: to prove one’s worth by deceiving others.

But his journey is more than a tale of tricks, gigs, and geeks. By investing some of the lesser-known corners of psychology, neuroscience, physics, history, and even crime, all through the lens of trickery and illusion, Fooling Houdini arrives at a host of startling revelations about how the mind works--and why, sometimes, it doesn’t.

In the foyer of a hotel in downtown Stockholm, a stunning twenty-two-year-old Belgian girl with dark brown eyes and long chestnut curls had attracted a small crowd. She held an ace in each hand, and as she twirled her arms through the air, the cards transformed into kings. The audience had seen this sort of thing before--they weren't the kind of people who would go wild for a single change. But then, in one fluid sequence, she coiled her wrists again and the kings became queens. The energy in the room quickened as her arms snaked through the air like a flamenco dancer's--once, twice--and the quieens faded into jacks, then tens. the people around her began to cheer. Another whirl and the tens turned into jokers. She is one of the only magicians in the world who can pull off five transformations in a row, and the audience was now crazy for her.

They* regard magic tricks as being like quantum states—destroyed by the very act of examining them up close. Magicians trumpet the secrecy of their art, almost daring the viewer to lift the veil, and yet they are furious when someone actually does.


Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current readOpen to a random pageShare two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at: http://adailyrhythm.com/

Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea


  1. I can see the appeal of this one but I'm not entirely sure the setting and context is for me but I really do hope you enjoy it.

  2. I love that first paragraph. It was fun and, hopefully, a promise of a good story. I'd keep reading.

  3. Does draw you in right of the get go!

  4. Sounds like this could be a good one... a little different for me, but fun!

  5. Sounds fascinating! Love the setting of Stockholm. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  6. I am fascinated by magic and magicians.I would read this one. Thanks for the intro.

  7. I love stuff like this. I don't read much nonfiction, but I've always been fascinated by magic and illusions and the human brain.

  8. This does sound fascinating. I hope Houdini inspires your writing.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog. I always enjoy your comments.

  9. I find Houdini and magicians fascinating. I was recently disappointed in a book about Houdini and spiritualism, but this one sounds very good!