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2014 Recommended books Short Story

The Moth: 50 Extraordinary True Stories

The Moth: This Is a True Story

Five words from the blurb: truth, stranger, storytellers, spellbound

I’m not normally a fan of short stories, but this book fell through my letter box and after trying it for only a few seconds I couldn’t put it down – the stories were so compelling. They describe the most inspirational or unusual moments in a person’s life and they give the reader hope for the future and a greater understanding of the past.

The Moth is an American storytelling event in which people gather together to hear interesting aspects of each other’s lives. This book is a collection of the best stories told since its foundation in 1997. Many are written by established authors (eg. Nathan Englander, Andrew Solomon and Joyce Maynard), but the most interesting ones were often by ordinary people experiencing extraordinary events. My favourite was the story of a hospital porter who was trapped in a lift with a patient:

So now we’re stopped somewhere, in this tiny, dark box, and there’s three sounds I can hear: the elevator’s emergency signal buzzing, Melissa’s screaming, and Mr William’s heart monitor indicating that, like our elevator, his heart has stopped.

Other stories include the doctor sent to Dehli to treat Mother Teresa; a man who tracked down the pizza delivery driver who’d stolen money from his account; and astronaut Michael Massimino’s difficult space walk. All were totally gripping and I was amazed by the speed in which each author created emotion and narrative tension.

My only criticism is the American bias of the book.  – I’d love to see a diverse mixture of countries represented. I hope that The Moth phenomenon travels around the world so we can experience a global edition of this book in the near future.

The Moth is entertaining, inspirational and jaw-droppingly unbelievable in places. The blurb states that truth is stranger than fiction and this book proves that over and over again. I highly recommend it.

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