Book Review: Juggling by Thom Wall.
Juggling is not necessarily easy to do, but it’s easier to do than to explain. Noted juggler and vaudevillian Thom Wall aims to fix that. His new book covers the hard part, explaining how to juggle in a way that just about anyone can understand. The book is called Juggling: What it is and How to do it. and it came out on August 31.
In the book, Thom takes a very scientific and practical approach to the work of juggling. He provides diagrams, sketches, notations, time-lapsed photographs, and a number of other techniques to help people understand and improve the sweet science of juggling.
Thom also explains in great detail a method of practicing, how to create a new trick, the ethics of stealing other people’s material (the short answer: Don’t!– steal the idea and then make it so much your own that people watching both tricks wouldn’t be able to see the similarities.) The book has over 220 pages!
Some samples of the drawings in the book (these photos taken from the Amazon Look Inside feature)
Thom Wall has spent his career as a performer, including working cruise ships around the world, and cabarets, bar mitzvahs, circuses, fringe festivals, and just about anywhere else a crowd can gather and get amazed at a guy doing cool tricks. He has performed in 17 countries on 4 continents, including a 5 year as a featured act on Cirque du Soleil’s show Totem. He’s a great vaudevillian, and a funny guy, but more importantly for this book, he’s a clear thinker about juggling, and the book shows that thought.
Here’s Thom’s promo video, so you can see him in action:
Thom Wall Has Written the First Juggling TextBook
Throughout the book, there are diagrams and timelines that explain specific tricks, as well as footnotes (this may be the first book that is not a thesis about juggling that has footnotes!) Wall also quote scientific studies about juggling, physical education, and coordination, and has at least 7 Appendixes (I got a proof of the book, so it may change between now and then) that includes information on Siteswap notation (the language of juggling), how to build your own juggling balls, how to warmup as a juggler, and even a bibliography of other books about juggling.
He also incorporates two chapters by other juggling geniuses, Jay Gilligan and Fritz Grobe, who talk about creating tricks and about performing in front of audiences. Throughout the book, there’s a sense of sincerity, humor, and clear mastery of craft that makes it easy to read and encouraging to continue.
Here’s a testimonial from a number of famous jugglers from around the world, including the Passing Zone, Gena Shvartsman Cristiani, Lucy Eden, Kathrin Wagner, Sam Malcolm, Sara Noelle, and Dominique Rabideau.
Basically it all boils down to this: If you are a novice juggler, Thom Wall’s book is great to use to pick up basic 3 ball juggling (and to ground yourself in a method for how to move beyond.) If you are an experienced juggler, this is an essential reference book that you must have on your shelf. Either way, it’s well worth getting!
You can buy the book on Amazon here https://amzn.to/332fkmt
You can find out more about Thom Wall at http://www.thomwall.com
And you can find out even more about the book at http://www.jugglingbook.com
And here’s the full video of the Passing Zone’s book hilarious review: