Celebrations of Curious Characters

If you love stories of people living true in delightfully unusual ways, Celebrations of Curious Characters is for you. Author Ricky Jay is a famous performer, actor and author. He is also quite the historian, and consults to the theater, film and television industries, giving them “arcane knowledge on a need to know basis.”

Celebrations of Curious Characters shows off his historical savvy in this written compilation of four minute essays Jay did for KCRW, national public radio in Los Angeles. Readers will learn about the most uncommon of lives, and those who have passionately lived them, such as: America’s Sherlock Holmes, record holding “water spouters,” those who can see with their fingers, the “little man of Nuremberg, who was a 28 inch multi-talented musician with no arms, legs, thighs or hands (really!), nude posers who paved the way to burlesque, the first female to blast out of a cannon in 1877, the magician side of Charles Dickens, and those who were masters at what is arguably the most famous illusion.

These are just a few teasers. Jay’s essays cover a wide variety of topics that surprise and fascinate with every turn of the page. Each chapter is two pages; one of text, the other of amazing images in theme with the essay.  I almost enjoyed the images more than the descriptions of people and Jay’s witty digressions. It truly is a smart and beautiful book.

Jay career is nothing short of stellar. He had done successful one man shows, acted in many films, including House of Games, Boogie Nights, The Prestige, and The Great Buck Howard. He has appeared on television series Deadwood, and Flash Forward, and has written and hosted many of his own specials on HBO, CBS A&E and the BBC. And if that is not enough, at one time he was the curator of the Mulholland Library of Conjuring and the Allied Arts. Now this written version of his popular radio series “Jay’s Journal of the Air” adds to his list of bottomless feats of success.

Once your gift recipient has finished this book, ask to borrow it. You will love the enchanting carpet ride Jay takes you on. Not only a great nonfiction book, but in the category of great unique nonfiction books, it takes you into the world of people living their best lives, in oh so their own way.

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