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The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown

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From storytelling phenomenon The Moth, 45 unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best ever told on their stages
Carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of live storytelling, All These Wonders features voices both familiar and new. Alongside Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer, readers will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a one-hit wonder, a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill's secret army during World War II, and more.
High-school student and neuroscientist alike, the storytellers share their ventures into uncharted territory and how their lives were changed indelibly by what they discovered there. With passion, and humor, they encourage us all to be more open, vulnerable, and alive."

331 pages, Hardcover

First published March 21, 2017

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About the author

Catherine Burns

3 books60 followers
Catherine Burns is artistic director of The Moth and the editor of The Moth: 50 True Stories, The Moth Presents All These Wonders, and The Moth Presents Occasional Magic.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 899 reviews
Profile Image for Nat.
553 reviews3,177 followers
August 2, 2018
Going into this I had no idea what to expect since I wasn't really familiar with the storytelling phenomenon that is The Moth. But after having read Neil Gaiman's forward , my curiosity was piqued. And I was surprised to find myself finishing the majority of this collection in one sitting because of how compelling these real life stories were.

All These Wonders features voices both familiar and new. Storytellers include Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer, as well as a hip hop “one hit wonder,” an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, and a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s “secret army” during World War II. They share their ventures into uncharted territory—and how their lives were changed forever by what they found there.

I was not prepared for what reading All These Wonders would entail. There were a handful of stories that really managed to infiltrate my everyday thoughts because I couldn't stop thinking about them. But I think I mainly loved this collection for being able to capture “moments in time caught and gone forever,” to paraphrase what  Tig Notaro wrote in R2, Where Are You?. Without a doubt, the voices I'm about to share next unlocked something in me. (And it's important to remember that these are all nonfiction tales.)

• Adam Mansbach, the author of Go the Fuck to Sleep, was featured in here and it was incredible:

“It’s November 2011, and I am the most controversial parent in America by virtue of a short, obscene, fake children’s book by the name of Go the Fuck to Sleep.
It’s fourteen stanzas long—about four hundred words, many of them repeated more than once—and I wrote it in thirty-nine minutes with no pants on.”

• Josh Bond discovering his next door neighbors and tenants are Catherine Greig & James J. ‘Whitey’ Bulger. And his story is about how he “helped the FBI arrest the most wanted man in the country.”

“So a couple of months later, my family’s a little worried about me, and my friends are taking bets on how much longer I have to live. I get home one day, and there’s a letter in the mail from the Plymouth Correctional Facility. I open it, and I see the same familiar cursive writing, and the same “shoot the shit” dialogue tone that I knew from four years living next to Charlie Gasko.
But in this letter he’s reintroducing himself as Jim Bulger.
And so I wrote him back, and I said, “Look, you know I had something to do with the day of the arrest, and my family’s a little worried. So, uh, you know, just a little note of ‘everything’s good’ would be nice.”
He wrote back and said, “Look, they had me with or without your help; no worries.”
So that made my mom feel better, definitely.
New neighbors eventually moved in, and they seemed like nice people.
But what do I know?”

This was without a doubt one hell of a story.

• Tomi Reichental’s story was about the Holocaust seen through the eyes of his nine-year-old self, and it absolutely broke me.

“I saw a woman in front of me suddenly take her wedding ring off her finger. She looked around, to see if any of the soldiers were looking at her. And then she threw the wedding ring into the ground, to the dust.
Talking to her friend, she said, “These bastards will not get my gold.”

All my rage toward Nazi Germans was back full force. One of the most hard hitting essays.

• Auburn Sandstrom's A Phone Call describes her call out for help while in a dire situation. And my head spun in amazement at this next conversation shared over the phone:

“I said, “No, really. You’re very, very good at this. I mean, you’ve seriously done a big thing for me. How long have you been a Christian counselor?”
There’s a long pause. I hear him shifting. “Auburn, please don’t hang up,” he says. “I’ve been trying not to bring this up.”
“What?” I ask.
“You won’t hang up?”
“I’m so afraid to tell you this. But the number you called…” He pauses again. “You got the wrong number.”
Well, I didn’t hang up on him, and we did talk a little longer. I never would get his name or call him back.
But the next day I felt this kind of joy, like I was shining. I think I’ve heard them call it “the peace that passes understanding.” I had gotten to see that there was this completely random love in the universe. That it could be unconditional. And that some of it was for me.”

• Dori Samadzai Bonner's A New Home talks about her family's fight to stay in the country they call home.

“Finally he tells my dad, “You know, we here in the United States do not give citizenship to people that break the law. We can’t, and I won’t.”
And as soon as I translate this to my dad, I put my head down, and I just start praying.
When I open my eyes, I see my dad rising out of his seat. He starts unbuckling his belt, at which point I’m thinking he’s completely losing his mind. I’m not sure what he’s doing.
But he lifts up his shirt on the right side and, in his native language, looks at the judge and says, “This is what the communists did to me.”
He’s pointing to a five-inch knife scar.
Then he pushes down his pants in the back and turns around a little bit, and again says, “This is what the communists did to me,” pointing at three gunshot wounds.
And he takes off his shoes, and takes off his socks, and says, “This is what the communists did to me.”
He’s pointing at his toenails, which they had tried to pull out with pliers.
I remember thinking, I know I’m hearing what I’m hearing. But everything wasn’t registering, because I am translating these horrible things and also learning for the first time about my dad’s whereabouts. All those times years ago that I didn’t know where he was, wondering if he cared about me, he was in prison being tortured.
And in that moment I have never felt more sorrow.”

My heart just dropped. This story on immigration pulled out all kind of emotions out of me.

• And the story that followed afterwards might be one of the most frightening situations of a man facing the death penalty for a crime he did not commit in As If I Was Not There by Peter Pringle.

“It was the week before Christmas, and I was sitting in the death cell in Portlaoise Prison in County Laois, Ireland. Some weeks previously I had been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death by the Special Criminal Court for a murder I did not commit. The Special Criminal Court is a non-jury court.”

What particularly shook me to my core was reading this hard-hitting article afterwards about Pringle's life with his wife, Sunny Jacobs, who was also wrongfully convicted.

• And last but not least, Undercover in North Korea with Its Future Leaders by Suki Kim was another powerful read detailing the journey of a journalist who risks her life posing as a teacher in an elite North Korean school.

“From that point on, like millions of mothers on both sides of Korea, my grandmother waited for her son to come home.
Over seventy years have passed, and that border—which Koreans thought was temporary—is still there. Even though I moved to America when I was thirteen years old, this family history haunted me. Later, as a writer, I became obsessed with North Korea and finding out the truth of what was really going on there.
So I went undercover as a teacher and a missionary.”

Now I feel compelled to read her book Without You, There Is No Us because her writing style is so effervescent and heartbreaking and real.
So while a majority of the tales in here left me awash in tears, there was still a big junk of stories that I did not care for (mainly from those white privileged individuals). But on a much brighter note, the journey this collection took me on is one I won't be forgetting anytime soon. (Also, bonus points for letting me add two book to my TBR: Tig Notaro's memoir, along with the aforementioned book by Suki Kim.)

Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying The Moth Presents All These Wonders, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!

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Profile Image for Conor Ahern.
657 reviews189 followers
April 18, 2019
My friend Brendan has this saying, something he calls the "Grand Unifying Theory of New York." It's a bit grandiloquent and certainly misnamed, but the logic is sound. Essentially, he maintains that you're totally free to cry in public in New York, because of some combination of 1) people are accustomed to emotional outbursts in public here; 2) we're all too rushed and self-absorbed to really notice anyone else; and 3) it's hard to spot people you know amidst the throngs of humanity. This book allowed me to test the "theory" out this week, because I found myself sobbing on my subway commutes, reading these short and incredibly poignant stories of loss, joy, disappointment, healing, and just unfathomable grace.

This book, like few others, exudes humanity. Nearly every story--and there are plenty; they are short--conveys so much about a person or a particular experience, and does so extremey evocatively. This is a book that I will be giving out as a gift for years to come, and The Moth is a source that I hope I'm just beginning to get acquainted with. Read this and remind yourself how numinous the human experience can be.
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,194 reviews9,452 followers
March 19, 2019
Not only is this a terrific bunch of stuff, it also functions as a personality test, and the things you find out about yourself might not be the things you particularly wanted to know.

I was completely unaware of this Moth phenomenon. It’s been going on since the late 90s, it says here, and it’s all about storytelling. Some person will get on a stage and talk into a microphone and tell the audience a story. This has become a really big thing. What did I know. Me and the zeitgeist, we are not so close anymore.

I should say straight off that they are using this word storytelling in a specialized way. These aren’t made up fictional stories, these are autobiographical mini-essays. It’s all true. And these are not some random amateurs telling us their experiences. This book could have been called


Normal people are not invited to the Moth. Let’s take a random sample of four tale tellers here : Sara Barron is the author of the story collections blah blah blah, her work has featured in Vanity Fair blah blah; Stephanie Peirolo is the author of the novel Radio Silence; Dr Mary-Claire King is American Cancer Society Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle… she was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama; Simon Bill is an artist and writer, his novel Artist in Residence blah blah….

So the first part of the personality test made me uncomfortably aware that I am quite prejudiced against this flowing parade of the great and the good, and when I came to Tony Wheeler’s account of how he was this guy with a wanderlust who whisked his jolly family all over the world in this jolly smug hippy way and created the Lonely Planet series of travel books and made billions I couldn’t stop counting up the pitifully few countries I’ve visited and the years wasted without founding a single publishing empire and frankly I resented Tony Wheeler and I didn’t feel so good about that.

But Tony is an anomaly. In general what you get here is a whole series of being thrown into the middle of situations.

One guy was working inside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on the day of the earthquake March 11, 2011

One woman discovers a family secret – her dad was black! She thought he was white!

One woman has to decide if her brain damaged son should be switched off

One guy wrote Go the Fuck to Sleep and tells us about the media typhoon that blew his life to pieces because of that

One guy gets to be an extra in Silence of the Lambs - and blows his scene, repeatedly

And there are a number of really grim ones too. One guy’s daughter is raped and killed. He describes the trial and his thoughts about the murderer and how he eventually met the murderer and forgave the murderer and here is another part of the personality test of this book – when he forgave his daughter’s murderer I could not accept it! I was thinking No! You can’t do that! Forgive a moral degenerate like that! This book will get you like that, and uncomfortable truths are revealed. A new mother’s painful feelings when her baby has Downs; an experience in Congo trying to rescue people who will otherwise be killed. But then on the next page you will get an account of the kosher food problem when you’re ultra Orthodox. Psychological whiplash is the result of reading this stuff straight through. Which you can’t stop – like a bag of Revels, oh just one more , just one more until the whole bag is gone. In double quick time.

You may be thinking – aren’t these just 49 Readers Digest articles? “I am John’s spleen”, “I fell off the Eiffel Tower and died”, “My wife was in the Manson Family”, that sort of thing. Well, yes, It’s kind of true. Okay, it is completely true. Busted! But I didn’t care, it was great, funny, good, bad, strange and annoying, some times all at once.

Kind of recommended.
Profile Image for Leo Robertson.
Author 38 books435 followers
April 25, 2017
Most of these stories are spectacular and unmissable—Kevin McGeehan's almost had me in tears during lunch! I can highly recommend this book :)

I do have a gripe with what I'm now seeing is the common voice/style of American storytelling that I recently encountered in My Heart Is an Idiot—that kinda folksy ass, seems-all-random-'cept-for-moments-like-these, it-ain't-so-bad, 'We're all just sentient meatpackets on a crazy blue spacemarble looking for love/where else in the world would you see a crack dealer tie a string to a, uh, kid's birthday balloon in the moonlight when your first kiss is lighting your 4th of July sparkler' uh like everywhere, apparently lol. Youse guys' stories all sound like that and my heart's still medium-rare, mate. Gotta mix it up if you wanna warm it up! ;D!!

But forgive this Glaswegian for taking yet another easy opportunity for cynicism: that's what we mostly do! This book is great :)
Profile Image for Heather.
295 reviews103 followers
January 9, 2019
This book was a gift, in more ways than one. I loved reading each person's story. In many cases, it made me want to know more about all of them. It was and enlightening and uplifting read. And I can highly recommend it.
Profile Image for  Charlie.
477 reviews217 followers
July 10, 2017
Brilliant, thoughtful and very enjoyable. It is a wonderful collection of highly personal stories that in some way shape or form changed the person or helped define them. I read three or four a night and each time found myself falling asleep with something to think about. From the boy who excelled at paintball because he grew up as a child soldier, to the little girl left with a super star at the airport because her mum had to run off to the man who struggles to let go of a childhood betrayal. Each story offers something unique and this is destined to become a favourite and be reread many times over.
Profile Image for Krista.
1,366 reviews541 followers
June 14, 2018
I have to admit that I had never heard of The Moth – an organisation whose mission is to “promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience” – before picking up this collection of forty-five of their favourite stories about facing the unknown. And while we are assured that these previously oral stories have only been lightly edited for the page, I'm not certain that writing down that which is meant to be spoken makes for a totally successful endeavour; for many of these stories, something was obviously lost in translation for me. On the other hand, I gasped and cried and laughed while reading several of these stories, and reading other reviews, I can see that different stories affected different readers in the same way – and isn't that the beauty of storytelling? People sharing their truths in the hopes of making a connection? I'm just going to memorialise some of my favourites here (necessarily spoilery).

In Fog Of Disbelief, Carl Pillitteri describes his experience as an engineer at the Fukushima nuclear power plant as the earthquakes hit. His descriptions were vivid and exciting:

The concrete floor and the walls around us began to crack, and sections of ductwork were coming down, and the lights, the lights were dropping everywhere. The huge, vast space that we were in quickly filled with what I first thought was smoke, but was actually a thick cloud of dust that was being thrown airborne from this huge structure getting the living hell shook out of it.

After escaping the building and then watching the tsunami that first filled the horizon from north to south with a flood of water and then sucked the water back out with it – leaving nothing but seabed filling the horizon from north to south – Pillitteri tried calling his wife for hours, but all the networks were busy. Finally making a connection, “When I said her name, she just screamed and kept screaming.” And, yep, that made me cry; thinking that's exactly how I'd react in that situation.

In Walking With RJ, Stephanie Peirolo writes about a terrible car accident her son, RJ, survived. And despite her being the vice president of a company with what she had assumed was excellent health insurance, it wasn't enough to cover his lengthy rehab or further years of nursing care (we don't have everything covered here in Canada, but this particular story could never play out here and it appalled me). Mistakes are made and RJ dies and Peirolo writes:

Most days I wake up, and the world is so diminished without him in it, it's like there's been a total eclipse of the sun. Only I'm the only one who can see it, and I know the light is never coming back.

And that made me cry, thinking about losing one of my own kids to bureaucratic sleaziness. But not all of the stories are sad. In Go The %@# To Sleep, Adam Mansbach writes about the sudden fame and notoriety he received after writing a certain parodic children's book, jokingly pushing back to critics, “It would take a very special blend of literacy and illiteracy to mistakenly read this book to a child.” This story had me smiling throughout as Mansbach co-hosted a parenting conference with Dr Ferber (of the Ferber Method for sleep training babies) and he had to wonder if he was qualified to stand on stage alongside the doctor, concluding:

Maybe I'm not actually faking this. Maybe we're all faking this equally. And maybe I do know a couple of things. Like keep your sense of humor at all costs. Or embrace the absurdity of the situations in which you find yourself. Or even, realize that there are worse things than spending two hours trapped in a room with the person you love most in the world.

And the most devastating story I read here was A Phone Call by Auburn Sandstrom. In it, she writes that when she hit rock bottom – as her mother warned her that one day she would – she decided to finally call the phone number of a Christian counselor whose number her mother had pressed on her years before. Waking the man at two in the morning, she explained that she needed to talk, and the man told her to go ahead. After spending hours describing her drug addictions, the abuse she suffered from her husband, and her neglect of her baby in pursuit of her highs, Sandstrom was impressed by how supportive and present the counselor was; saying at the end that if he needed to give her some Bible verses, she'd probably even read them. The man paused awkwardly and says, “I'm so afraid to tell you this. But the number you called...” he pauses again. “You got the wrong number.” That gutted me; I was completely floored by the idea of Sandstrom reaching out from her rock bottom and a complete stranger lifting her up.

This is what I know. In the deepest, blackest night of despair, if you can just get one pinhole of light...all of grace rushes in.

Grace is the word. As for the other stories – I should have been moved by Ishmael Beah (the former child soldier of A Long Way Gone fame) and his tale of trying to fit in with his high school peers in America – and not wanting them to know why he's so good at a paint ball war if he's never played before – but it didn't really work for me (yet, I bet I would cry if I saw him tell it live). It was surprising/not surprising to me that Meg Wolitzer's story of a summer camp landed better than Louis CK's narrative of a trip he took to Moscow just as the Soviet Union was breaking apart; Louis CK is a master oral storyteller, but print is Wolitzer's milieu and her story just worked better on the page. George Dawes Green, founder of The Moth, tells a polished and interesting tale of the time he spent living in a mausoleum as a teenager; I would hope his story would stand out in what is technically his own collection. As for others unknown to me, Josh Bond tells an exciting story of being an ordinary citizen helping the FBI to bring in a dangerous fugitive, Sara Barron's voice was engaging and authentic in her story of dealing with her husband's ex-wife, and Christian Garland – a participant in The Moth's inaugural New York City High School GrandSLAM – tells a story full of heart and teenaged exuberance; I could hear these voices coming off the page. Ultimately, this doesn't work completely as a book – I'm going to look into the podcast, see if there will be a live show coming near me anytime soon – but I'm glad to have become familiar with the work that The Moth does and don't regret reading the bits that worked for me.
3 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2017
Poignant and raw, these storytellers capture the essence of living through sharing their stories. As engrossing as The Moth radio hour.
Profile Image for Leah Rachel von Essen.
1,199 reviews160 followers
March 28, 2017
Read the original review here!

I cried several times in the course of reading The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown, edited by Catherine Burns, with a forward by Neil Gaiman. The Moth is a storytelling platform that hosts events all over the United States. It launched in 1997 and holds events, each themed, where people tell their stories without notes to a live audience. This is a packed collection of 45 stories about risk, courage, worry, and facing the unknown.

The stories are incredible. There’s nothing like reading 45 people telling you honestly, with grace and humor, about a turning point in their lives. Read a story about a party a man threw for his dying mother and how he discovered her worst fear in the process. Read about a child soldier, now adopted and in the United States, who has been invited to play paintball with his new friends. Read about a man who realizes and comes to terms with being a one-hit wonder. Read about kind strangers, dire situations, parents who end up understanding you after all. The chapters go by quickly, divided into sections: The Eternal Music of the Spheres, Things I’ve Seen, Keeping the Lid On, Grace Rushes In, Like a Man Does, To Face the Fear, and By Every Claim of Love. Each story is a surprise. Each one will change you, just a little bit, by reminding you something about the human condition, or telling you something you didn’t know before about the joys and hope that comes with being human.

I received this book from @crownpublishing in exchange for an honest review. I loved it, and I would recommend it to anyone I know. The first thing I did when I was finished was look up the next StorySLAM in my area. See you soon, The Moth, because this is incredible, and I want to be part of it.
Profile Image for Stephen.
519 reviews152 followers
July 16, 2019
These "Moth" stories are great - especially if you are like me and carry a book with you everywhere and read it in short bursts as each story can be read in a few minutes. Didn't quite enjoy this collection as much as the original one (The Moth: This Is a True Story but it was still a very strong 4 star read if not a 5 star read like that one. The latest collection The Moth Presents: Occasional Magic: 50 True Stories of Defying the Impossible is still quite expensive to buy and there's hardly any second hand copies around so I'm very pleased to discover that the Edinburgh library system has a copy for me to order which I will be reading as soon as I can get my hands on it!
Profile Image for Tina Culbertson.
553 reviews19 followers
April 7, 2017
I thought this would be a collection of short stories and was pleasantly surprised to discover a series of short memoirs. John Turturro’s story was particularly interesting to me as I am a big fan of his work.

These are poignant and insightful true stories that give you a different perspective of their lives. Well written and interesting, you may feel as if you are at a personal reading or sitting in their den as their story unfolds. I’m actually still reading some of the stories but so far I love this book.

Before getting this book I didn’t know about The Moth. It’s about the art of storytelling. Check out their site HERE. There are free audio stories and they are just wonderful.
Here is The Moth's Facebook page.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books Program. All opinions are my own, I was not compensated.
Profile Image for Djoni.
108 reviews7 followers
November 26, 2020
Há muito tempo que não sentia tanta contratransferência na hora de ler um livro ao ponto de me tirar lágrimas ou me fazer suspirar profundamente antes de fechar cada capítulo. Este livro é uma coletânea de 45 anedotas de pessoas contadas por todo tipo de gente. Cada história contém uma quantidade absurda de emoção que só a oralidade consegue transmitir, coisa que é conseguida de forma bastante sólida.
Com certeza foi uma das melhores leituras que fiz esse ano, sem dúvida alguma, e recomendo pra qualquer pessoa que gosta do gênero.
Profile Image for Bridget.
173 reviews
December 16, 2022
I love hearing people’s stories on The Moth, it is a cool experience to be able to read them as well
Profile Image for Kate.
341 reviews
March 21, 2017
Every one of these stories is related in a lively, engaging, individual voice. (Well of course they are: storytelling is what The Moth is all about.)
For best effect, I read just a few entries at a sitting. The theme of "facing the unknown" is thoroughly illustrated, but too much of that felt like more than enough heartstring-pulling for me. I appreciated each entry much more when I let it take the stage all by itself.

(I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway.)
Profile Image for Tamara.
1,414 reviews557 followers
December 2, 2018
I rarely stumble upon this NPR series when flipping channels on the radio, but every time I do it pulls me in. This compilation had the same power. A more polished but just-as-honest version of the Storycorp series.
Profile Image for Maia.
Author 27 books2,259 followers
August 25, 2022
I've listened to the Moth podcast on and off here and there, but picked up this book from a little free library mainly because of the pretty cover and forward by Neil Gaiman. So good job marketing and design team, you got me, at least when the price was $0. Anyway, this was a lovely collection of short human stories about all kinds of different life experiences. There are a few that will genuinely stick with me for years, including one about grief written by a chaplain, and one about the woman who became David Bowie's hairdresser during the Ziggy Stardust years. My one small complain about this book is the fact that all the stories are of nearly the exact same length slightly lessoned their emotional impact as I started to get towards the end of the book.
Profile Image for Kristine.
370 reviews4 followers
March 22, 2020
I received The Moth as a Christmas gift from a fellow coach/friend/neighbor. Prior to this, I was not at all familiar with this story-telling phenomenon and had no idea what to expect. I found so many of the true stories to be a powerful reflection of the human spirit. Who couldn’t use that now - has me asking myself, what can I learn about my own resilience...if I’m quiet enough to reflect and listen.
December 9, 2018
Nao sou fã de histórias dramáticas, com morte doenças terminais e etc. Esse é o único ponto negativo em todo o livro e, ainda bem, nao é a tonica principal. Esse é um livro de histórias únoco. Jamais tinha lido qualquer coisa parecida. Os relatos sao reais e espontaneos, como uma conversa de boteco entre melhores amigos. Todo tipo de pessoa e experiencias, tudo condensado em textos curtos e absurdamente cheios de vida. Nao é exatamente uma leitura. É uma experiencia e vale a pena ser vivida.
Profile Image for Sydney.
703 reviews56 followers
December 6, 2019
I had a hard time reviewing this book. The stories are so varied and cover all aspects of life from experiences of people all over the world. They were heart-breaking, fascinating, joyous, or even absolutely insane and unbelievable. But there were also some stories that honestly bored me a bit. I think that’s just the risk with true story collections, and the book is still a good representation of the variety of experiences people have worldwide in life. I would recommend this to anyone who loves hearing about people’s stories and experiences!
Profile Image for Allie Jones Wulff .
18 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2020
Omg this was the perfect introduction to my 2020 reading plans. Would HIGHLY recommend, but would also recommend reading max 2-3 stories per sitting to fully absorb how wonderful and poignant they can be.
Profile Image for Kayla Isch.
7 reviews
August 5, 2022
A wonderful read that I completed in one sitting. The collection was vulnerable, powerful, and full of courage. I felt a connection to each of the storytellers and found I learned just as much about myself as I did them. A beautiful demonstration of the strength of the human spirit.
Profile Image for Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance.
5,821 reviews284 followers
April 2, 2017
I've finished two great books this week, and that is enough for me to say it's been a good reading week. Both books have a lot of similarities. Both On Living by Kerry Egan and All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown are nonfiction. Both books are about times in one's life when a person faces an enormous, potentially life-changing situation and about how those situations play out. All These Wonders is stories told at various locations around the world at The Moth on the storytelling stage. On Living has stories related by Egan, a hospice chaplain, that were shared with her in her role of talking with the dying. Both of these books are composed of powerful stories, stories that worked their way into my heart, into my bones, as I read them. Both books are reminders to live, folks, reminders that it is people and experiences we need. I highly recommend them both.
Profile Image for Owly&HerBooks.
374 reviews71 followers
February 4, 2017
"The Moth teaches us not to judge by appearances. It teaches us to listen. It reminds us to empathize. And now, with these wonderful stories, it teaches us to read." - Neil Gaiman

This book does just that. I had never heard of The Moth... where have I been? But, glad I was able to read this and learn about it. It is captivating, and honest. Joyful and painful through every page read. This is one I will keep on my shelves and gladly share with friends and family.

Even though the events in which these stories were told have passed, they have not been forgotten or left in those rooms. They are in these pages and become a part of us because these stories are what we are all about. The trials we go through in life, the negativity that plague us, the joyful moments we make and carry with us for all of our existence. They all fill this well documented book.

Many journeys are packed into this beautiful compendium. Including a story about moving past preconceived notions that discovering the great unknown is located to the small things around or places nearby. Instead looking passed and believing we are capable of living beyond that and not letting fear rule our choices. To the hardships of a child in a concentration camp on his way to take a shower. Having to see the faces of the adults become ashen as they are moved along the line, then filled with joy when they ascertain that it truly is a warm shower. This child not knowing why the others around him had reacted that way and how fortuitous he was to have come out of it alive.

There is much more within these pages. Some stories made me laugh out loud such as Adam Mansbach's writing of a children's book that wasn't truly meant for a child to hear. Other stories that made me shake my head. One in which Cole Kazdin goes to dinner with her boyfriend of three years and is told by him that he cares deeply about her, but doesn't want to marry her. These are only a few stories to look forward to and you won't want to leave this book unfinished.

I took a chance with this book, as I am not prone to reading nonfiction. And I am very glad that I did. I was surprised by this collection and it fills the reader with so many mixed emotions. Which is always something I hope for when reading any book. It has quickly become one of my favorites.

***I received this copy from Penguin Random House/Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***
Profile Image for Janet.
350 reviews8 followers
February 4, 2017
I received this uncorrected proof from Goodreads through a giveaway. Thank you!

I heard many of these stories on the radio over the last few years. Reading them in book form is a wonderful experience. I found myself crying on the train almost everyday as I read it. I love being able to connect with the humanity represented in every story. The range of author from teenager to nonagenarian and from African genocide to Chicago crack addicts to the father of a murdered woman and the mother of a child with Down's Syndrome, the reader experiences the depth of the human heart and the common experiences of living on earth. What a pleasure it was to read this book.
Profile Image for Apurva.
86 reviews
October 10, 2017
This book was the exact read I needed when I picked it up. I have always loved short form stories and these were made infinitely better by the reality of them. It’s as if someone took the premise of chicken soup for the soul and made it less trite and more focused. Each story touched so strongly and tightly on a point, a thought, or a narrative. This may be one of the few books I buy this year instead of checking it out from the library repeatedly. I am grateful for these storytellers and the stories they openly shared.
Profile Image for Karen.
444 reviews66 followers
July 15, 2020
This is a collection of stories originally shared by the authors in an open mic setting. They are all fairly short stories, true stories, about key events in people's lives. Like life, some stories are funny and some are heartbreaking or terrifying. All the stories make you appreciate the gifts you have received in your own life and make you wonder if you would be able to live through the events that each of these people have.

This was my first experience with The Moth. But I intent to read the other published collections and check out the pod cast.
Profile Image for Angela Juline.
936 reviews20 followers
June 13, 2017
I loved, loved, loved this collection of stories. There were so many amazing ones - I can forgive the editors for including some not so great ones. You'd read some of the stories and be captivated by the story...and then you'd read about the author and you'd be even more amazed. I've got to get out there and start making my mark on the world.

Here are 3 of my favorite points from 3 different storytellers:

"Just walk fearlessly into the house of mourning, for grief is just love squaring up to its oldest enemy. And after all these mortal human years, love is up to the challenge." (p.31)

"I'm practically nothing, and soon I'll cease to be. But the certainty of my own demise, the certainty of my own death, somehow makes my life more meaningful, and I think that is as it should be." (p. 47)

"In the deepest, blackest night of despair, if you can get just one pinhole of light...all of grace rushes in." (p. 166)
Profile Image for Rebecca McPhedran.
1,013 reviews62 followers
April 9, 2018
A beautifully organized collection of stories, that were originally performed around the world. The popular podcast The Moth tells stories of courage, strength and facing the unknown. Some of the voices you might recognize, and some you may not. But every story has a purpose, and a lesson to be taught. Whether it's appreciating the sacrifices your parents made, or seeing a decade's worth of work come to fruition, forgiving your child's murderer, or losing a loved one. You can't help but love these stories. They bind us all together in a way that no matter how different we seem, we share a lot of similar experiences.

A great read!
Profile Image for Jairo Fruchtengarten.
216 reviews2 followers
February 11, 2019
O que pra muitos é o ponto alto do livro, pra mim foi o foco de maior insatisfação: o fato de serem (supostamente) histórias reais foi me causando uma sensação de desconforto ao ler uma série de casos de pessoas que superam desafios, alcançam a excelência e se tornam pessoas melhores. Uma "canja de galinha pra alma" travestida de standup.

Além isso, essa adaptação de casos contados num palco para contos em um livro pecou um pouco na tradução, dada a repetição exaustiva de alguns termos em diversos contos, como "corta pra daqui xx anos", causando uma sensação de que estavam seguindo um mesmo roteiro pré-estabelecido...

Mas o livro tem de 10 a 15 contos excelentes, e a diversidade de autores garante uma abordagem bem ampla, navegando por assuntos bastante peculiares. Vale a leitura!
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