Last month I asked Kardos about what he was reading. His reply:
I’m researching my next novel, which involves a sleight-of-hand magician and a professional card sharp. So I’m currently reading (though “reading” isn’t exactly the right word: it’s more like wading through confusedly) one of the ur-texts of sleight-of-hand card magic, The Expert at the Card Table, first published in 1902 by an anonymous author with the pseudonym S. W. Ednase. The past century’s top card magicians all swear by this book, though a typically confounding sentence reads like this: “To cull four cards, numbers 3, 6, 2, 5 – undercut about one-third deck, in-jog first card and shuffle off. Undercut to in-jog, run one less than first number, in-jog running one more than second number, out-jog running one less than third number, and throw on top.” It’s not what you’d call a fast read.Visit Michael Kardos's website.
I’m also reading a terrific memoir about professional card cheats, specifically about the quest for the holy grail of false deals, the “center deal.” The book is The Magician and the Card Sharp by Karl Johnson.
Finally, I’m midway through a 1958 novel by W. C. Heinz called The Professional. It’s about a journalist who’s covering the training of a middleweight championship contender. I forget who recommended it to me, but it’s very good so far, and I admire how it is unabashedly about boxing, with a subplot of more boxing.
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