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Here Is Real Magic

Since childhood, Nate Staniforth has been captivated by magic: he was the kid practicing tricks in front of the bathroom mirror and wowing his classmates by making coins vanish on the playground. After college, he built a successful career as a professional magician, crisscrossing the U.S. on tour. But after years of bouncing between cities, worn down by the grueling schedule and the cynicism he sometimes encountered, Staniforth found himself disillusioned and burned out. Desperate to recapture his sense of wonder, Staniforth headed to India with a friend and only the barest outline of a plan. He recounts his journey--not just to India, but back to a place of awe and delight--in his memoir, Here Is Real Magic.

Staniforth explores the range of human responses to magic: pure awe, outright fear, questions about tricks and techniques. "They didn't just want the answer," he says of his curious audiences. "They wanted the mystery, too." Even amid burnout, Staniforth believed that wonder and mystery do exist in the world, and that he could find them again. In India, he met street magicians whose feats amazed him, but he found equal wonder in his conversations with strangers, which often began with magic tricks but went far beyond that.

Plainspoken, honest and often self-deprecating, Staniforth's memoir is a highly enjoyable exploration of magic and wonder. He invites readers to share in the invitation he receives from a man on a train: "Here is knowledge.... The rest is mystery. There is so much yet to be discovered." --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams