I've decided to compile a list for those who, like me, love a good magic book! (Personally I think it should be a fiction genre!) Not necessarily in order of preference:
1. "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern
The fabulous tale of a magical turn of the century circus, the venue for a contest between two magicians, waged in proxy through their two unwitting students, each trained from childhood in different magic arts. If you love Cirque du Soliel or Oscar Wilde's fairy tales you must read this!
2. "Carter Beats the Devil" by Glen David Gold
After participating in a magic trick by skilled 1920s stage magician and competitor of Houdini Carter the Great, the President of the unpopular president of United States, Warren G. Harding suffers a mysterious death. What is really going on? Two FBI agents delve into Carter's past history to find out. If you like books with lots of real-life colourful historical characters that contain explanations of how some of the tricks were really performed this one's for you!
3. "The Spirit Cabinet" by Paul Quarrington
Years before Seigfried and Roy were disbanded after Roy was severely injured by one of the tigers in the show, Quarrington wrote this book whose two stage magicians, Jurgen and Rudolfo bear and uncanny resemblance to the Las Vegas pair. This is a sweet, wistful book follows the fictionalized duo from their early years in Germany to an opulent mansion in Las Vegas. Slowly their partnership begins to fall apart due to Jurgen's increasing obsession with performing "real" magic.
4. "World of Wonders" by Robertson Davies
This is the third book in the "Deptford" trilogy that started with "Fifth Business." I didn't read the second book and had no trouble understanding this one. It's about Magnus Eisengrim the magician telling his story and that of Dunstan Ramsey to a film director. There's a lot of Jungian symbolism and icky sex stuff in it, but otherwise it's fairly entertaining.
5."The Tempest" by William Shakespeare
The big one. Prospero is kind of the model for all magicians that came after. It is the only play that Shakespeare wrote where the story is entirely original and not adapted from some other play long lost to history or historical episode. I think it is his very best play.
6. "The Prestige" by Christopher Priest
There is a really excellent movie based on this book although one of the main plotlines (the present day one) in the book is not featured in the movie. The book is very good too. It is about two (or is that three?) duelling magicians who seek to outdo each other in an increasing deadly magicians' duel. It contains some cool historical information about real magic tricks too!