Reviewer: Emily Fulton
Rating: AAA+++ I would definitely recommend this book!
Thom Wall’s latest book Juggling: What It Is and How to Do It is definitely a must-read for any aspiring juggler. Beginners and seasoned jugglers alike can all benefit from reading this comprehensive guide to the all-too-much-forgotten art of ball juggling.
Here are a few different reasons that I think you will become obsessed with this book from the second you turn the first page:
The Why Factor
Whenever I am learning a new skill, I will often be asked to perform some minor change in form. I often counter this with a “why”. I know that I will be 10 x more likely to do this change every time if I know what will happen if I don’t. One of the great things about this book is that it explains “why” you should do something, which is an area I find many similar books often fall short.
Another great feature of this book is the appendices. They include some great information and really help you dive deeper into certain subjects. For instance, if you want to learn about all different kinds of juggling balls, just head on over to Appendix C. This lets you choose when you want to learn more about a specific topic which leads to you thoroughly enjoying your juggling practice.
Circademics (circus-academics), a term coined by Jackie Leigh Davis, is the study of circus in development and science. Thom frequently features studies about juggling in this book, which is great! He even gives you free access to the short book he wrote all about circademics, called What Scientists Have to Say About Juggling. This way if you’re really into it you can continue to study the research he briefly touches on in this book.
A Few Extra Things That Make This Book So Special:
Jay Gilligan & Fritz Grobe
Two amazing jugglers and writers, Jay Gilligan & Fritz Grobe, each write a chapter in this book. Fritz Grobe gives you a few of his inside tips on How to Juggle In Front of an Audience. While Jay Gilligan teaches you 10 Ways to Make A Trick. These writers add an extra element that you just can’t find anywhere else!
An In-depth Siteswap Explanation
Siteswap is often one of those things you’ll never really learn as a beginner or hobby juggler. You might have been taught a few different siteswap patterns and maybe even what the patterns were called. But chances are you didn’t and won’t learn how these patterns were developed, many using a numerical system that is the foundation of many intricate patterns. Siteswap is almost definitely not what you heard from your friend who’s brother knew someone who watched a YouTube video from some guy who didn’t really know what he was talking about. This book explains siteswap in great detail, teaching you the science of siteswap.
Great Diagrams and Photos
One of my favorite parts of the book is the great charts and photos that really enhance your juggling experience. There are long-exposure photos, taken with LED juggling balls, that actually illustrate how your juggling balls will travel. If you’re a mathy person or like numbers, this book has you covered, with number charts that will tell you how and when to throw and catch a certain ball. But if not, don’t worry! Thom also included some very simple, easy to understand, diagrams just for you!
The Icing On Top……It’s Not Boring At All!
By now, maybe you’re thinking, “with all this information, isn’t this just a big, boring textbook?” Well think again! Thom writes this book like he’s in the room with you, teaching you the ins and outs of juggling. He’ll give you inside tips on technique and presentation, so it honestly feels like you’re having one of his top-notch private lessons. It’s really great to have a super-amazing juggling Cirque Du Soleil performer write a book in such a personable, down-to-earth way.
In short, I truly wish I had this book when I was first learning to juggle. Excellent information is presented in an eye catching, easy going fashion to support you on your journey to ball-juggling mastery.
Reviewer: Rachel Ostrow
Juggling: What It Is and How to Do It is an absolutely spectacular book written by expert jugglers that compiles everything there is to know about juggling technique, history, progressions, performing, and more. It especially focuses on being creative and building a good juggling foundation that can be added on to. I mean three ball tricks, four ball tricks, 5 ball tricks, balancing – this book teaches you the easiest way to do them, what you could be doing wrong, and what you never knew you were doing wrong. It has perfectly selected diagrams for the visual learners, and even mathematics to understand conceptually. I also found it fascinating how many of the tips could also be applied to training and performing for people who are professional circus artists or those who have no prior experience whatsoever. Wall eloquently explains the steps for creating an act, including how to avoid stealing sequences, which can and should be used by every performer. It was so evident that everyone writing, especially Wall, is so passionate and carry such expertise in all aspects of juggling, such that it was a complete pleasure to read.
But the true test, did this book really help with juggling? It totally did! This book is honestly such an amazing source of learning and inspiration that could get anyone excited about juggling, and the tips are so extensive and useful, anyone with a bit of motivation (which this book certainly gives you) can up their juggling skills exponentially!