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Celebrations of Curious Characters

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3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Celebrations of Curious Characters cracks open the personal vaults of Ricky Jay—raconteur, historian, and one of the world’s great sleight-of-hand artists—exposing a wonderful world of amusing and arcane knowledge. Adapted from his popular radio series “Jay’s Journal of the Air,” Celebrations of Curious Characters features one-page anecdotes of mind-bending performers (lim ...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by McSweeney's (first published 2011)
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Marya
Jul 19, 2011 Marya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
What a great breakroom book. Taken from 4 minute episodes Ricky Jay did for NPR, this collection allows you to sample some of the oddest trivia in the Western World. My only complaint was the brevity of these chapters. You'd think 4 minutes would be brief enough, but Jay's own narrative plus other curious characters often intrude upon those 4 minutes, so that the end result is even more scattered-brained. In its best vignettes, this book gives you food for thought. In its worst, it is little mor ...more
Dean
Apr 14, 2012 Dean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ricky Jay puts a spotlight on 50 or so curiosities and oddities that strike his fancy. Most of the subjects of attention span the 18th through 19 century and range from carnival freaks, cons and other objects of Jay's fancy. While Jay's musings are for the most part well articulated and amusing the highlight is the period illustration used to accompany each selection. A good book to absorb in shorts busts.
Hans
Jan 15, 2012 Hans rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book of images that accompany short essays originally aired on NPR. The stories are interesting and the images from Jay's collection are great, but somehow the full package didn't totally fall into place for me. Maybe it needs a cd with the audio files.
Mattadrian
May 24, 2011 Mattadrian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jay is one of the most interesting human beings alive today. His encyclopedic knowledge of the arcane and the bizarre is something to behold. 5 stars just for introducing me to the phrase "death by misadventure."
flannery
Dec 16, 2011 flannery rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference, magic
One of the many "compendium of oddities" books I always end up buying alongside stuff like "Medical Aberrations & Modern Day Monsters" and picture books of limbless musicians. I only wish it was longer. Very pretty but kinda flimsy. I like "learned" as an adjective quite a bit.
Gay Terry
Nov 20, 2011 Gay Terry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the wonders of the world
Recommended to Gay by: been a fan of Ricky Jay for a long time
Ricky Jay never disappoints. His "retro carney" voice is like no other & his knowledge is extensive. Illustrations are from his collection.
Marc
Jun 01, 2011 Marc rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
a few interesting bites, but just wasn't that interesting to me. I think it's geared to more aficionados of these types of characters and I guess I don't belong to that group.
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Ricky Jay (born Richard Jay Potash in 1948) is an American stage magician, actor, and writer.

Born to a Jewish-American family, Jay is considered one of the most knowledgeable and skilled sleight-of-hand experts in the United States. He is notable for his signature card tricks, card throwing, memory feats, and stage patter. At least two of his shows, Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants and On the Stem,
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