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on 16 August 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I quite liked this but I didn’t think that it was anything amazing. I do seem to be in a minority though.
The stories are mostly interesting and well told. I would have liked more from less well known people. I did feel that most of these stories seemed to be similar to the type of stuff that newspapers often have in their Saturday or Sunday editions.

I am glad I read it though.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
The patterns of story making; the connection of a listening audience.

I can quote no better description of The Moth than Neil Gaiman's introduction to these performed narrations

"The Moth connects us, as humans. Because we all have stories. Or perhaps, because we are, as humans, already an assemblage of stories. And the gulf that exists between us as people is that when we look at each other we might see faces, skin colour, gender, race, or attitudes, but we don't see, we can't see, the stories. And once we hear each other's stories we realise that the things we see as dividing us are, all too often, illusions, falsehoods: that the walls between us are in truth no thicker than scenery"

The Moth, an American phenomenon - but, o blessed be, due to arrive in the UK this year, is a collection of true story tellings by hundreds of people, which later became broadcast on radio, and has here been collected into a book of 50 of them. Some of the contributors are already in the public eye, as writers, performers, luminaries of one kind or another. But some of them are `just ordinary people with extraordinary, ordinary lives. I must admit it was these I found more fascinating.

Inevitably, in appearing `in public' we all, to a greater or lesser extent assume a polished persona. And those most used to this will have a slicker and more professional persona to more easily assume. Sure, each storyteller gets helped, directed, coached to an extent in delivering their story with spellbind and style, but those who do this with less frequency are more likely to let us see the raw of them.

This is a most interesting book of events and lives and viewpoints to read, but I found myself aching for what I could not have - the live presence of these storytellers, their voices, speech patterns, gestures, - to experience the narration in the presence of other listeners.

Reading is primarily a solitary, interior experience - but this sort of storytelling needs the audience and the storyteller to be wrapped together.

I assume this book will introduce those unfamiliar with `The Moth - This Is A True Story' to the concept itself, and create an audience for the live experience.

Make no mistake, these are fascinating and enjoyable, moving and amusing. Live, they must be mesmeric, sensational, cohesive and exhilarating to hear.

As the Moth Editor and Artistic Director, Catherine Burns, reminds us

"As a society, we have forgotten how to listen deeply. Each Moth evening is a chance to practice listening, to find connection with your neighbours. And while that intimacy might feel terrifying at first, it's vital. It's what will save us"
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VINE VOICEon 19 June 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is my first exposure to The Moth, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the art of storytelling. It brings together people to tell their stories in front of a live audience.

The Moth: This Is a True Story collects together transcripts of 50 of these stories, grouping them together into very general themes, such as stories of war, love, or the generation gap. The themes are there to give some structure to the book, but don't really make any impact other than this. The stories chosen cover a huge range of emotions, they are all personal but touch on very human events and universal emotions. Many of them are incredibly moving, some are funny, some are harrowing. The book lends itself to the daily commute too, with each story coming it at around 10 - 15 pages. It's easy to read and always interesting, even if you do not know the speaker (as the organisation is based in New York, there were very few names that I recognised).

However, at times it feels that something is missing. The stories were told in front of a live audience first, and some of them really feel flat without the tone of the speaker and the reaction of the audience. Since picking up the book, I have gone on to listen to the podcast and it is more engaging, more enjoyable because you can hear the emotion of the storyteller, can tell when they are being sarcastic or flippant. This doesn't always come across on the page. It may be that the book would have benefitted from stories written specifically for the page, rather than spoken word transcripts.

It is still a wonderful collection of stories though, and there is something here for everybody to enjoy. Pick up the book, then download the podcast and enjoy.
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had no idea was The Moth was about until I read an article about the book in one of the Sunday supplements and immediately wanted to read it. The Moth began as a live storytelling event - people stand up and share their accounts of true life events. This book is 50 of the best of those stories. There are some really moving, interesting stories in there, highlights for me include Sebastian Junger's account of war and losing his friend Tim Hetherington (this will be of particular interest to those who have seen the film Restrepo - Junger and Hetherington's film). There is a powerful account by Dr Alan Rabinowitz who could not speak for years due to his stutter and the story told by Paul Nurse, a geneticist, whose family tree wasn't quite as it seemed. There are also sweet stories, such as LOL by Adam Gopnik about his text chat relationship with his teenage son. Each story is around 4-5 pages long so the book can be picked up and read in manageable chunks - I have a new baby so hard to find the time to sit and read books for hours right now! This is the kind of book I'll definitely be recommending to friends and I wish I had managed to see The Moth live as I am sure it is a powerful and engaging event. Some of the stories will stay with you.
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on 18 August 2015
I expected this to be a feast, but the writing was not at all transporting and some of the tales came across as quite bland, parochial, even. Perhaps these tales are best heard live. I just didn't become interested in this random collection of quite interesting tales.
Even the headliner of the physician who travelled to India to cure Mother Teresa didn't interest me. Where were India's smells and atmosphere, and where was the doctor's angst on taking responsibility for one so venerated?
And I just couldn't work out why so many of them felt so parochial despite being tales that should have been of global concern.
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on 6 April 2015
All kinds of people tell true stories from their own lives. Laugh out loud, feel moved to tears, saddened, and overall inspired - bu5 not in some pious way, but because this is people telling it like it is.

The title was a little offputting for me, but don't let it do so - it's because of "The Moth" events, where people do a kind of stand-up, conceived from the idea of people sitting on a porch,with the moths fiuttering in the lamp-light, as they tell their stories.

The short format of about 5 pages each makes it easy to read. Having read one, you'll want to read more.
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VINE VOICEon 13 June 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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 experienced a real sense of anguish when I finished the book, and I desperately hope there'll be more. In the meantime I've booked for The Moth's first event in London - I can't wait.

My only criticism would be that, with one exception, all the storytellers are American. But that's kind of understandable given that the project started in the US. And hopefully there'll be more nationalities featured in the next book (seriously. They can't not bring out another book).
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VINE VOICEon 26 December 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The moth is a society which organises events where people tell stories, aloud, to an audience and this is a collection of some of those stories, written down and presented in a book. Storytellers are varied, some are prosperous and successful or have big families with stories to match, others are alone, tell stories of prison, abandonment and hardship. Each has its own character and quality varies but the book is well worth reading.

To anyone buying for the name Neil Gaiman on the cover, be aware he only writes the introduction and while many of the stories are great they aren’t Gaiman.
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on 19 May 2015
If you love stories and the art of story telling then you should read this book. Before reading this anthology, I thought the podcasts could not be reflected in a text format. In some ways I was right (you lose the way a person tells the story through their voice and body language; but you keep the soul of their stories. Thank you.
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on 4 January 2015
I found this a wonderful read - the great thing about short stories is you can delve into one over breakfast or before you go to sleep. The book certainly kept my attention. It's a mixed bag with some writing better than others, a bit of editing definitely needed here and there, and one or two self-promotional stories that I found irritating. But there's some real gems which made me not only think but feel as well.
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