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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 September 2014
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
You can't really go wrong with a book that is in any way affiliated with Neil Gaiman. He may not have written this book, but he provided the foreword so that's good enough for me. Generally his name isn't associated with poor work so I had hoped that I'd be in for a treat with this book, and I wasn't disappointed.

The moth is a story-telling event that travels to cities throughout the US (and internationally also this year it would seem). Anyone can submit a story and, if successful, they'll be asked to come to one of the events to read it, and the Moth directors will help them to tell the story better. It doesn't sound like anything particularly special, but it is. The stories are all true, and it's the way in which they're told and the connection with the audience that makes these events work. At the time of the book's printing, there have been over 10,000 stories told, and this is a collection of just 50 of them.

There are some stories that interested me more than others, but that's to be expected. This is a solid collection of stories and I wouldn't say there are any bad at all. The stories range from light-hearted and funny to downright heartbreaking. Some are for entertainment only, while some seem to offer lessons and some are truly inspirational. There's a great mix of story-tellers too, from 'everyday' non-famous people to celebrities, and everything in between.

While writing this review I skimmed through the book again as I wanted to list my favourites, and what I actually ended up doing was spending a good hour reading some stories again. What this little exercise showed me was actually how stellar this collection is. There are far too many great stories in this book for me to list every one that I loved, but a few of my favourites were 'A Kind of Wisdom' by Ellie Lee, 'A Perfect Circle by Carly Johnstone, 'My First Day with the Yankees' by Matthew McGough and 'Whatever Doesn't Kill Me' by Ed Gavagan.

I think it's a fair assumption to make that anyone who loves to read enjoys a good story. I therefore would recommend this collection to everyone. Even if you're not a fan of the short story form when it comes to fiction, I'd still say give this a chance, you might be surprised as it really does work for true stories.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2014
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Founded in 1997, The Moth is an event where people get up on stage and tell true stories, without notes, in front of a live audience. Moth events and 'StorySLAM' open mic nights take place around the US and they produce an enormously popular podcast with some of the stories. This book is a collection of fifty of the most remarkable Moth stories.

While I think that these stories are best heard, rather than read, I would still encourage anyone to pick up this book. It is filled with short, true-life stories from people from different walks of life and, as all the stories are very varied, it is a great book to dip into. If you enjoyed the book, I recommend checking out The Moth podcast. I had heard many of the stories in The Moth book before I read them and hearing the person actually telling the story is a wonderful experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Apparently “The Moth” is something of a cultural phenomenon in the States, being an evening of stand-up live storytelling by people from all walks of life, sharing significant incidents from their own lives. Some evenings are set up where the storytellers are coached in the craft of delivering a short performance which here translates into 50 stories no more than a few pages long.

The stories are chosen to illustrate lessons learned or perspectives changed from various people who have achieved varying degrees and types of success, some famous and some not. There’s such a variety here that most readers will find some that speak to them more than others. But all are easily-digestible and have something to say. They’re very well-told.

Though the storytellers are mostly American, their stories often have resonances much wider than their land of origin and offer very human and often fascinating insights into other people’s lives some of which are quite extraordinary.

I found this book difficult to put down, as I was curious about what the next story would bring. But reading too many in one sitting isn’t advisable. Each has a flavour of its own and I found it better to just read a few at a time and allow them to sink in and digest.

One of the most unusual and memorable books I’ve read for some time.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
'The Moth' is an American phenomenon in the shape of live storytelling events which take place across The States. It's actually much bigger than that but you get the idea!. I'd never heard of it and ordered the book because it sounded interesting.

Inside the book, taken from a pot of more than 3,000 stories, comes this collection of just 50.

I can't categorise 'The Moth'. A great many of the stories are personal accounts, real life, told from the point of view of the person who experienced the event. Some are fiction based on fact, maybe?, while others are comical. Several are just too quirky to generalise about and others offer a message about surviving modern day living with all it's vices.

The contributors are equally varied and a random bunch of professionals mainly from the publishing, theatre, education and the art world. With each story is a photograph and small biopic to introduce the storyteller.

I mostly enjoyed this book. There's a lot of energy. I didn't enjoy all of the stories, that's only to be expected out of such a large collection, but they're so short it was no hardship to sit and go through them. I read the whole thing in one day. Perfect book for holidays, long journeys or when you only have a few minutes here and there. Easy to just dip in and out of.

'The Moth' is in the UK for 2014 and if you're interested; www.themoth.org
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 August 2014
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Back in 2001, Paul Auster edited a collection called True Tales of American Life, which brought together some of the best non-fiction stories submitted to Auster for his radio show on National Public Radio in the USA. I really enjoyed that collection and am happy to say that if you liked True Tales, this book will appeal to you greatly.

'The Moth' runs live storytelling events where people can recount a true story from their life. The story should last no longer than 15 minutes and has to be told without notes. The live events also have producers on show to help shape and improve the stories.

Because these stories were originally spoken, you do occasionally have moments in the text where the editor has had to include explanations in square brackets (for example if a narrator points to a part of their body); I did feel slightly like I was missing out not being able to see the narrator or, especially, to hear his/her voice. However, that's a very minor gripe, and there is also a website with many of the stories captured on video and/or audio if you're really curious.

There is a wonderful mixture of speakers, from astronauts to former drug addicts. Some of the stories touched me more than others, but because the stories are designed to be spoken in fewer than 15 minutes, the written stories are pretty uniform in length and not too long, so it's easy to stick with a story that doesn't immediately grab you or skip it entirely. Highlights for me included 'Perfect Moments', Brian Finkelstein's devastating account of one phone call to a suicide hotline, and Darryl McDaniels' unexpectedly moving story about his love of Sarah McLachlan's song 'Angel'.

I read this whole collection in a couple of days. The stories and storytellers are varied enough that you never get 'short story fatigue'. I'd recommend this, especially as a book to dip into on a commute or on holiday especially.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Moth is a wonderful collection of true stories, as varied as the human life, all concise and brilliantly told. It is a big book to dip in randomly, all stories having something very direct, very human to tell. Some are funny, lots are moving or even harrowing but all are taken straight from life, direct from a lived experience and in a brief, well-told format, and that makes it a pretty rare read. Apparently all these stories are narrated out loud to audiences across the US and that is obviously what gives them this vibrancy in the telling. A great book of human experiences, anecdotal perhaps but essential.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As an aficionado of life writing and short forms I was greatly looking forward to this. Ah well - I guess you had to be there

Actually, Sedaris is a case in point. I can't abide his broadcasts (that voice! those audiences!) On the page his bile is sometimes - not always - cherishable. There's no bile here. This is Reader's Digest territory, sentimental even when on Death Row. To take the case of one contributor, Adam Gopnik's family saga Paris to the Moon is pleasingly wry, and while I'm sure in context the piece chosen here would be fine, on its own it's just ick-making

Perhaps that word 'extraordinary' on the cover should have wised us up (though the American original just says 'true'). Given the wealth of material at her disposal, the buck stops squarely with the compiler. Her background is in TV, which I don't watch myself. I have to say that on amazon.com no one has given this less than a three, so my view (a grudging 1.6, folks!) may be safely dismissed; if you think you're the kind of person who might like this, you probably are. Apparently Reader's Digest reaches more readers with household incomes of $100,000+ than Fortune, The Wall Street Journal and Business Week combined. (Pity the time-poor.) And there was me thinking it had gone belly-up
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Collection of short stories that are all true and this is what makes them all the more interesting. There is a mixed bag of topics and they are all interesting. However, I felt that overall it didn't quite live up to the hype of the cover/description. They are not all stories that impact you in such a way that you will never forget them. However, there is much to enjoy and being short, they can be read and enjoyed in 15 minutes or so.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 25 June 2014
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A fantastic collection of short stories. You can pick up the book and flash through another delightful story with ease. The only downside is that you do eventually run out of stories, but that's not to say that quite a few aren't worth re-reading.

I hope they continue to publish more and more versions. I haven't read through something like this in far too long, and it was a real treat. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book draws on an American tradition (which may be about to cross the pond) of telling stories - so long as they are true and first hand. This selection of 50 stories is divided into themed sections eg 'Innocents Abroad', 'Coming Home', It is attractively designed and laid out, and there is bound to be a story among the 50 included that catches your imagination. Recommended for dipping into.
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