5 must read books in magic

Nikola is showing her first book

Last week marked World Book day and I thought it might be nice to go with the theme of reading for this weeks post.

Magic naturally feeds into another one of my loves… Books! As a little girl my dad used to read to my sister and I nightly. This joy of listening to stories and tales led to me becoming a teenage bookworm and a magic book junkie. Becoming an author last year was an incredibly proud moment for myself and looking back on the first proper book I created I am humbled by the amount of people who have already supported me on this venture. From the bottom of my heart thank you!!!

Regarding books, we all have different tastes and for me I have some books, thankfully in my possession that I could not live without, which I have read more than once. They have also really provided so much joy in studies as a magician. I would now like to share with you my top 5 magic books and I challenge you, my followers to list your Top 5 books too. I warn you all, it’s pretty darn hard to nominate just five books, well it was for me!

Hearing some of the books that have inspired you perhaps might encourage me to add to my ever growing library (shelf) in my tiny room in Belfast. So please post comments below on books you love.

1. The Books of Wonder – Tommy Wonder

I was recommended this book by Tom Stone when I first met him in January 2018 and I was not disappointed. Full of unique magic, detailed descriptions and most importantly advice on performance. Not just the performance of his effects, but how to become a good performer. How to craft talent.

Talent is like a raw diamond. An uncut diamond is not particularly interesting, but once it is polished to perfection it becomes a thing of beauty.

Tommy Wonder

This is such an inspirational read. I wish I knew about Tommy’s work years ago. Now that I know of it, his lessons will continue to be used and remain with me on my journey forever.

2. The Glorious Deception: The double life of William Robinson aka Chung Ling Soo the marvellous Chinese conjurer by Jim Steinmeyer

There are some books that you have to read for research and yet they become etched in your mind. The story told in this book is so compelling and beautiful (as to be expected by its author). I have read this book more than once and will most likely read it again. Out of all the Jim Steinmeyer books (of which there are now quite a few) get it, read it and put it on your shelf to read over and over again, you won’t be disappointed.

3. Karl Fulves’ Self-Working collection.

These books are my encyclopaedia of my bookshelf. I was donated these books by my librarian and father in magic aka Mr George Bleeks. I have around ten in total and I would not be without them. All sorts of little gems are in these pages. From Card magic to paper magic, to coin magic to mental magic, Fulves covers such a wide range of material that you’re bound to find something new in there that is very old, brilliant and worth reinventing.

4. Redivider by Phil Goldstein

If you’re expecting this book to contain monumental mentalism, put it down. If your looking for flashy flourishes, put it down. If, on the other hand, you’re interested in quirky methods combined with whimsical plots, PUT IT UP.

Phil Goldstein Redivider Page 3

This book is my favourite magic book of all time that I have read EVER! I have never laughed out loud so much from reading a magic book (at the commentary). Or enjoyed trying out the content – of which I was able to try everything, right away which is unusual for me with most magic books. This book is approachable and pleasurable, surprisingly just like its author. I highly recommend it!

Click HERE for a little Arkane treat!

5. The Arkane notebooks.

If you had said to me two years ago I would be where I am in magic, I would have highly doubted your optimism. Yet, here I am. And one of the reasons why I have created so much material, achieved my goals and continue on my journey is because of my notebooks. These contain all my ideas that come to me, no matter what time of day it is. I have a notebook beside my bed, I carry one when I’m travelling always in my bag. If I didn’t have these books with me the ideas that swoosh into my brain would disappear as soon as they swooshed in there.

I also didn’t think of myself as a creative person until I began writing my thoughts down. After filling nearly four notebooks in the last two years, the evidence outweighs my beliefs. I can honestly say I have good ideas, bad ones, crazy notions that may never come to pass but regardless of what I think, all my thoughts go down in these sacred Arkane scriptures. I return to them quite frequently and read over them. It’s kind of like a weird magic diary I keep. I never thought as a teenage girl I would be writing down the secrets of Nikola Arkane’s thoughts in books but that’s what I will continue to do because it feeds my creativity.

Some advice if you decide to take up keeping a notebook, which you should, trust me!

  1. Make sure the writing is legible for you to read back again.
  2. Write it out so that you can understand it. If you cannot understand what you mean when you go back and read it, it’s pretty pointless to write in the first place.
  3. Alway carry it with you. You literally never know when ideas with pop up. And you can try your best to remember it but you won’t. Within a few seconds a good idea vanishes in a puff of smoke. POW!
  4. Don’t be afraid to draw and illustrate your ideas. Sometimes if you wish to build something it might be a good idea to sketch what you’re thinking. Even if you think you are not a good artist, the idea will be down on paper and you can pass it onto someone else who might be able to interpret it for you.

I hope you all enjoyed reading why these books are the top five reads on my shelf? I look forward to reading yours.


  1. At the top of my head (and in no particular order…):

    – Art of clowning by Eli Simon (ok, not magic, but close enough)
    – Vortex by Tom Stone (a literal treasure trove of original magic)
    – Le fil invisible élastique by Finn Jon (probably avaliable in other languages, too, but I bought it when living in Paris)
    – Audience management by Gay Ljungberg (not a single trick in this book – yet an incredibly useful read!)
    – Hemligheter by Lennart Green (yeah, I know, I don’t really do cards, but lennart’s book is amaaaazing)

    …oh, and there is an excellent book called “Becoming FizzWizzPop” that I recommend… 😉

  2. Hi Nikola
    Love following your passion! Inspires me! At least I know I’m not the only nutter!
    Love books!
    Re magic reading
    I agree with you and Tom.
    Wonder books are awesome. I met and performed with him. Legend!
    Goldstein never came across as humourous or approachable. Will source said book.

    Magic and Meaning Eugene Burger n Nesle
    The wider perspective of magic and religion.

    Beyond Secrets by Sankey
    I’m not a S fan in terms of his style but his thinking in this book is very appropriate.

    David Stone
    The real secrets of magic ( close up)

    The Artists Way. Forgot author. Advocates writing each day etc.

    Thanks again

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