The Need to Know: The Moth Presents All These Wonders is a gorgeous treasure of a book.
There was something about The Moth Presents All These Wonders that I was drawn to. It could have been the stunning cover. Or the fact that the Foreword is authored by Neil Gaiman. Or the very nature of the Moth project itself, which offers its participants the opportunity to tell a story about their lives to an audience.
It's D: all of the above.
All These Wonders is a collection of forty-five stories by well-known author/speakers like Louis C.K. and Ishmael Beah and people who I didn’t recognize by name. According to Artistic Director Catherine Burns, these stories were taken from spoken-word stories and “transcribed and lightly edited for the page.” The fact that these stories have been transcribed does make for a slightly different reading experience. I was reading and listening to someone’s unique speaking voice; that experience reminded me that these speakers were bold enough to not only put their words down on paper but to speak them into the world.
Each story is fairly short and centers on an important event in the author/speaker’s life. We hear from people who are getting their big break, people who are losing their big break; people who are bringing people into the world; people who are saying goodbye to people who are leaving the world; people who have known the violence of others; and people who have known great love. The diversity of these stories, and how they cover the gamut of the devastating to the joyous, is incredible. Regardless of the nature of the event that each author/speaker writes about, each person finds something powerful to hold onto and share with the reader.
I don't want to go into detail about the individual stories because they are lovely to watch unfold. But as a collection and individually, these stories are mesmerizing, wonderful reminders of what it means to be human. They are brimming with the things and feelings that happen to ourselves and to others that we don’t typically share—or if we do, we share them only with our dearest and closest. As Gaiman says about these stories in the Foreword: “Honesty matters. Vulnerability matters. Being open about who you were at a moment in time when you were in a difficult or an impossible place matters more than anything.”
This book is a moving exploration of the human experience. Besides that, the hardback book is absolutely beautiful—a book that I’ll be so happy to add to my shelves. I highly recommend it for you and also as a gift for others. It’s one of those books that I think that will make many people feel connected and loved.
I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books, but all opinions expressed in this review are my own.
About the Author
When my toddler and infant sleep--or are otherwise engaged--I write, read, and eat lots of chocolate.