Houdini Unveiled!

OK, this is legitimately exciting. Well, for me anyway.

The books are real! And they’re spectacular!

You should know: I have not actually seen the book up close yet. First copies arrived at Avid Reader/Simon & Schuster headquarters on Wednesday and I haven’t received one yet. I just got a UPS alert that the box of books is on its way and it will be arriving TODAY (Thursday) but I am traveling and will be out of town until Sunday. So I might not actually get to hold one of these beauties until then. I don’t know how I can wait.

It helps to have the wonderful Avid Reader social media guru Morgan Hoit publish a few videos of the book on Instagram. I’ve stitched those videos together above so you can have a little preview of how the book looks. I’m biased, perhaps, but I believe it is the most beautiful book published, well, ever, and it should win all sorts of designer awards, assuming they give those out.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’d like my book to be judged by its cover.

A couple of words on the book itself — specifically the endpapers. I explain it briefly in the movie, but when you open a book cover, those two pages that face you are called “endpapers” (these are also at the end — thus the word “endpapers”). For many books the endpapers tend to be a solid color but they can also have a design or a photo or a sketch — there’s a 83% chance that you’ve never noticed this.

Until recently, I’d never noticed it. But now that I know about endpapers, I check them out in every hardcover book I come across. Some people are creative with the endpapers, some tend to be more conservative about them, but we decided to do something a bit crazy with ours.

The front cover opens up to an amazing photograph of the Houdini Museum in Scranton, Pa., run by my friends and magic legends Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz. He spells his name “Brookz” so it will come up in Google searches, by the way, which should tell you much of what you need to know about Dick and Dorothy.

In any case, as you open the book, that photograph just jumps off the page. It’s so beautiful. When we decided to lead off the book with it, I had this dream of how things would look. I have to say: It looks even better than the dream. It’s so beautiful.

In the back of the book we have a gorgeous photograph of the Houdini Seance Room at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles. The Castle is honestly one of my favorite places on earth, and it plays a significant role in the book. Ending with that photograph, honestly, it’s so perfect that I cannot stop smiling about it.

It’s stunning. Of course, I believe the book is super fun and fascinating, and you will have a blast reading it. I do not mean to underplay how proud I am of it. But I must say that you will look pretty good giving a book this lovely as a gift.

And with that in mind, yes, let’s do some shilling: We’re a little bit more than three weeks away from publication day, but you can preorder the book pretty much everywhere they sell books including:

Preorder at Amazon

Preorder at Barnes & Noble

Preorder on Indiebound

And, yes, please remember that if you preorder the book from Rainy Day Books — this is for preorders only — I will sign your book AND inscribe it with anything you like, within reason. Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall* has threatened to request that I sign the book with something like “The Yankees are awesome, and I love them,” but that is not within reason. Mike Schur has threatened to request that I inscribe “Hot fruit is disgusting,” but this too is not within reason.

*Alan took Phil from the movie Groundhog’s Day in our Holiday Characters Draft on the PosCast last December. He claimed that Groundhog’s Day is indeed a holiday and as such is a perfectly legitimate pick. This is all you need to know about Sepinwall.

Rainy Day Books says that signed-book requests are pouring in so get your requests in now!

I do know that some of you would like a signed book but would prefer to do it in person when and if I come to your town on the Did I Mention Book Tour. I’m all for that, and so let me give you a rough calendar of events below — we’re hoping to add numerous more stops, this is very much a work in progress. But this is where we are right now:

Oct. 18: Cheyenne, Wyoming, Booklover’s Bash for Laramie County Library.

— Come on out Cheyenne — you are actually getting to buy the book FOUR DAYS before it officially goes on sale.

Oct. 21: Los Angeles, The Last Bookstore, with guest star Nick Offerman!

— This is the official kickoff event, and how amazing is it to have Nick Offerman along for the ride? This is a ticketed event, and your ticket includes — and is the same price as — the book.

Oct. 22: Los Angeles, The Writers Blok.

— What a cool deal, I’ll be joining former NBA star and superb author Paul Shirley at his writers studio to talk about Houdini and, specifically, about the process of writing a book or a magazine piece or a Houdini blog post.

Oct. 23: Pasadena, Vroman’s Bookstore, with guest star John Cox!

— John is an amazing guy. He’s probably the world’s leading authority on Houdini, and he was my North Star on this book. But more than that, like I say, he’s just an amazing guy. Come out and try to stump him!

Oct. 24: Kansas City, Rainy Day Books.

— This is my favorite independent bookstore in the world so I am planning something extra special here. I once did a book event at Rainy Day while wearing a Snuggie. I’m hoping to top that one. And will there be a surprise sports special guest? It’s not impossible.

Oct. 29, New York, Mysterious Bookshop, with guest star Joshua Jay!

— There will be several events in and around New York around Halloween … we’re still finalizing all of that. But this event is locked in, Oct. 29, I’ll be joined by one of the world’s great magicians. Josh plans on doing some amazing magic because that’s just what Josh does. It will be incredible.

We have numerous events we’re locking down in November (Tulsa! Washington! Vegas! Atlanta! Charlotte! More!) and will fill you in as soon as they’re finalized. I will tell you that for one of these events it looks like I will be joined by one of the funniest people on earth. I’ll leave it there.