Book Review: The Moth: 50 True Stories edited by Catherine Burns

The MothThe Moth: 50 True Stories
A Collection from Hyperion
Catherine Burns, ed.
Hyperion, September 2013
ISBN 978-1401311117
Trade Paperback

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 stories, historically told live, without notes by varied individuals from all backgrounds, to a packed audience on your NPR station. If not, I bet you, like me, will end up searching for at least one in the archives after reading his/her story.

Story tellers range from Darryl of Run DMC, to acclaimed reporter, one of 2005 Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Malcolm Gladwell. We hear from an airline stewardess, a man who worked a record-setting four years as a volunteer for a suicide hot-line, and the one that I’ve retold the most: a dad, desperately trying to communicate with his teen-aged son and grossly misunderstanding, therefore constantly misusing, “LOL”.

I will share a word of warning. If you are like me and my new Goodreads bud, JM Snyder, you read books in public. In this case, maybe have a travel pack of tissues handy, because some storytellers will move you to tears, and others will have you laughing until the tears are rolling down your cheeks. Sure, you might make a spectacle of yourself, but think of the exposure you’re giving the book! Totally worth it.

If you are ready for something different, and/or if you are in the mood to give a friend a fabulous gift, grab a copy of The Moth. I promise that you will be glad you did.

Reviewed by jv poore, January 2014.


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