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The Moth

4.37  ·  Rating Details ·  1,933 Ratings  ·  252 Reviews
For the first time in print, celebrated storytelling phenomenon The Moth presents fifty spellbinding, soul-bearing stories selected from their extensive archive (fifteen-plus years and 10,000-plus stories strong). Inspired by friends telling stories on a porch, The Moth was born in small-town Georgia, garnered a cult following in New York City, and then rose to national ac ...more
Paperback, 410 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Aleeda I borrowed it from NYPL. I will likely buy a used copy....the stories are exquisite, even when you have heard them via the podcast/Moth Radio Hour.

Community Reviews

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jv poore
An unbelievably awesome collection of fifty true stories, The Moth is the first book that I've read that I can unabashedly, enthusiastically, recommend to absolutely anyone and everyone. Far surpassing a giant bag of Hershey's Miniatures, this genuinely has something for everyone.

This book pulls 50 stories from the archives of the not-for-profit organization The Moth; which was founded in 1997 and dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. You may have heard one or more of the thousands of
Nov 10, 2013 Ken rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of The Moth . Ever since a friend introduced me to the podcast in May 2012, I've listened to every show and attended every local event I could. Despite that, I was originally uninterested in the book — the spoken medium doesn't always translate well to transcription. But a promotion offered two $18 tickets to their next show when preordering the $10 book, so I picked it up as a money-saving move.

The book contains 50 stories that they promise aren't necessarily the best, but are th
Jan 20, 2014 Allison rated it really liked it
This book of short stories does what I think a great book of short stories should: delivers stories that are truly short (a few pages at most) that offer variety in terms of subject matter, tone, and/or style, while maintaining a singular premise that links them all together. Of course, the singular premise for that serves to link these stories is simple: they were all originally part of the oral tradition that is The Moth. Of course, those oral stories were all told within a time regulated time ...more
Jan 14, 2015 Patricia rated it it was amazing
An exquisite collection of stories told by a variety of individuals at The Moth. The collection is nearly perfection and certainly an art form at its very best. There was not one story which didn't captivate me.

"Storytelling, story- sharing, tale- bearing in the good sense, yarn- spinning. A lot of its success has to do, as always in life, with much preparation and calculation beneath the seeming spontaneity. For all their seeming inconsequence and improvisational air, a good Moth story is as c
Sep 29, 2013 Shmuel rated it it was amazing
The fifty stories in this volume are drawn from the thousands told at The Moth events around the country. They are presented as originally told, with no notes, before an audience, with only the barest minimum of editing. As a devotee of The Moth, I heard many of the stories when they were broadcast, and this collection -- the first of many, I hope -- has some of my favorites. In most cases, after reading one, I think: "Wow. That's the quintessential Moth story!" And so on, throughout the book. : ...more
Fascinating, brief, true stories by . . .

famous people (Richard Price, Damian Echols, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, Joyce Maynard),

people with interesting jobs (cop, prison guard, harem member), and

people who have gone through harrowing experiences (such as being a hospital orderly trapped in a falling elevator and resuscitating a patient whose heart stopped as a result of the fall).
Kevin Hinman
Oct 23, 2014 Kevin Hinman rated it really liked it
A strange book to rate, considering the moth is an aural experience, but the stories in themselves, are really impressive, inspiring even. Worth checking out.
Sep 25, 2013 Sherry rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book more than five stars I certainly would. It's that good. At times funny, poignant, thought provoking, heartbreaking and simply so damn great.
Reuben Stump
Nov 13, 2015 Reuben Stump rated it really liked it
The other day I realized I own a book of short stories.
Perfect! :D
Kathryn Bashaar
Mar 14, 2014 Kathryn Bashaar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warning: this review contains a couple of minor spoilers
I read this book in a day, lying on the couch recovering from some minor surgery. I liked almost every one of these stories. They all come, of course, from the famous Moth storytelling events, which started in NYC and now take place in many other cities. So all of the stories are true, and well-told. The best part about them is that so many of them are confessions of stupid or mean things that the storyteller did that they are sorry about n
Aug 22, 2013 Arielle rated it liked it
I enjoyed this -- and individually, I really liked some of the stories. Many of the stories. Maybe all of the stories? There were only one or two that didn't strike me in some way.
But that's the problem with this collection. It's just too much.
With the archives that The Moth has, I can't imagine it was easy to start to narrow down the tales. But more needed to be done. It weakened the best of the stories to share company with so many others, and when lines -- like "straight out of central castin
Oct 06, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled across The Moth on my car radio one day and have been a fan ever since. The Moth is simply True Stories, Told Live.

"Since its launch in 1997, the acclaimed not-for-profit organization THE MOTH has presented thousands of stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share
Apr 24, 2016 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
My brother bought me this book for my birthday because he faithfully listens to the NPR podcast of The Moth. Me personally? I'd never heard of it, but I knew it was perfect for a road trip because each chapter is a few pages of a true, stand-alone story. This book did not disappoint. The stories were diverse and hit on so many relevant topics like love, divorce, suicide, transgenderism, family relationships, etc.. I actually read this aloud to my husband on a road trip, and because it is a podca ...more
Apr 23, 2016 Emma rated it it was amazing
With a tag line declaring that the book contains 50 extraordinary stories you are setting the reading expectation bar pretty high. Thankfully that is precisely what these stories are, extraordinary and moving and beautiful and earth shattering, and more. A stunning read that reconnects the reader with the diversity of realities faced by their fellow human beings, exceptionally humanising and an absolute must read.
Giddy Girlie
Dec 10, 2014 Giddy Girlie rated it it was amazing
Great content, as you'd expect from The Moth. The one from Darryl McDaniels about his experience meeting Sarah McLaughlin made me cry with happiness.
Kristina Azevedo
Dec 27, 2016 Kristina Azevedo rated it it was amazing
Awesome collection of stories. Better to listen to them though because they were originally intended for radio I believe.
Peter Boyle
May 06, 2015 Peter Boyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those who are unaware, The Moth is an institution dedicated to the craft of storytelling. It's a live event which occurs in cities around the world, where anyone can get up and spin a yarn about an interesting time in their life. These thought-provoking tales are available on YouTube or in podcast format and now for the first time in book form, where fifty of the best have been carefully selected.

There is something here for everyone, no matter where your interest may lie. These fascinating s
Dana Mccloskey
Feb 09, 2015 Dana Mccloskey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-in-2015
Such an awesome book. I've been a long time follower of the Moth and the Moth podcast. This is sort of a best of collection of some of their most captivating stories over the years. If you aren't familiar with The Moth I strongly encourage you to check it out. It is a live storytelling event that was created by its founder who longed for the nights he used to spend on his neighbors front porch in Georgia staying up late telling stories into the night as moth's danced in the flicker of the porch ...more
Chantal Lyons
Apr 03, 2015 Chantal Lyons rated it it was amazing
The beauty of this book is that the stories within it are so diverse and so numerous that you can't not enjoy it. Out of fifty only one or two left me feeling indifferent. The rest had me smiling, sniffling, laughing or gasping. The shortness of the stories - most only five pages or so - means the book can easily be put aside or rationed, although in my case I found it difficult to do this (you tell yourself you're only going to read one more story and before you know it, you've read ten...). I ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Fatima rated it it was amazing
The Moth is a collection of 50 interesting short true stories. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys short stories. Stories from writers, musicians, directors, scientists, doctors, astronauts, poker players, prisoners and many more.

This is a list of some of the people who told their stories in the book. I would recommend against searching the names as it might ruin some of the stories that you will read.

Dr. Alan Rabinowitz
Jillian Lauren
Ari Handel
Richard Price
Annie Duke
Michael Massim
Feb 21, 2014 Amy rated it it was ok
I reached the last chapter, "Save Me," and decided to save myself from any more disappointment by not finishing it. I think the stories would have been more interesting if they were told by my friends versus some random people--and even then, after such interesting starts, I would've been disappointed in the endings. Each story in this collection was a let down for me. Not one left me feeling any emotion. That is, unless you count the anger I felt after I read another one. I'd equate each story ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Recommended by Nic. Love the podcast.

Although I'd heard several stories before but I still enjoyed reading them and then discovering all the others. Wonderful variety. And the great thing about the book format is that I can read them again.

My three favorites are:
Fireworks from above by Faye Lane - I loved this story so much when I listened to it that I immediately played it for Stephen, the joy and spirit had to be shared;
Perfect Moments by Brian Finkelstein - the best sort of understated unfol
This collection of short stories selected from the Moth archives tilts heavily toward well-known authors, performers, journalists, and essayists: it includes people like Malcolm Gladwell, Sebastian Junger, and Janna Levin. It also tilts toward themes of redemption, lessons learned, and other nice feel-good human interest stuff; in that sense, it started to feel--to me, at least--a little repetitive by the end. That being said, the quality of the storytelling is as good as one would expect from t ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Gail rated it it was ok
I had to return this to the library and I doubt I will check it out again even though I didn't finish it. It had a few gems, but mostly I found the authors pretentious (they all seemed to be famous people a little full of themselves) and the stories flat. Two excellent ones were the first, about the odd couple, and the one by the astronaut. There were probably a few other excellent ones, but they are buried too deep! Besides, these stories seem better to listen to. I had heard the odd couple one ...more
Since I'm not very good at keeping up with podcasts, I previously only listened to The Moth on public radio when driving with my daughter. I was happy to see this book available on Kindle, and I enjoyed it very much. If you're not familiar with The Moth, it's a program where people (some well-known and others not) tell stories out of their own lives, live on stage. In this book, each section is themed with words or phrases (examples: "Generations" and "Shot Through the Heart.") Some stories are ...more
Dec 23, 2015 Mila rated it liked it
This reminded me of a long version of the Reader's Digest "Life's Like That" section. My favourite story is the one about the doctor praying to Mother Teresa for Mother Teresa. I skipped one of the stories because I heard it on YouTube The Moth Presents Adam Gopnik: LOL. I agree with other reviewers that The Moth stories are better in their original spoken word. There is a website: The Moth - True Stories Told Live.
Sep 17, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great collection of short, true stories. Easy to dip in and out of when you're at a loose end or only have a few minutes to spare. Inevitably some stories are better than others – it really depends what you personally find interesting – but the standard is generally high and there should be something for everyone here. Overall I was very impressed and would recommend this.
Shelby Simpson
Feb 24, 2016 Shelby Simpson rated it really liked it
I'm a freak for NPR. This book has a lot of cool stories in it. No doubt, they were better in person, but they're still worth the read. It's a fantastic collection of inspiring, sad, weird, funny, and overall—evocative stories. Get it. You won't regret it. It's especially great for the quickie reads right before bed or while you're waiting for...anything.
John Newcomb
This is a collection of "real life" stories and experiences, some of which are excellent some are less so. All in all it was very much worth the read albeit it did highlight the difference between European and American ideology.
Sep 19, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it
50 windows into lives, 30 odd are astounding, 15 are fabulous abs maybe 5 don't quite cut it.

Well worth your time, I was genuinely affected by reading this
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“There was a nook in the house that contained what they called the Turkish Room, which was for intimate conversation. And when my mother had her sixth birthday, her grandmother led her into the Turkish Room. They were both named Inez. And on that day Big Inez gave Little Inez a plantation all her own. Two thousand acres. Then her little sister came running in and said, “Grandmother, can I have a plantation too?” And Big Inez looked down and said, “Child, your name is Alice. You were named for your Yankee grandmother. Go ask your Yankee grandmother for a plantation.” 1 likes
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