The Moth Presents Occasional Magic by Edited by Catherine Burns

The Moth Presents Occasional Magic

Edited by Catherine Burns

Carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, Occasional Magic features voices familiar and new. Storytellers from around the world share times when they found moments of beauty, wonder, and clarity.

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From storytelling phenomenon and hit podcast The Moth—and featuring contributions from Meg Wolitzer, Adam Gopnik, Krista Tippett, Andrew Solomon, Rosanne Cash, Ophira Eisenberg, Wang Ping, and more—a new collection of unforgettable true stories about finding the strength to face the impossible, drawn from the very best ever told on its stages

Carefully selected by the creative minds at storytelling phenomenon The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of stories told live, onstage and without notes, Occasional Magic features voices familiar and new. Inside, storytellers from around the world share times when, in the face of seemingly impossible situations, they found moments of beauty, wonder, and clarity that shed light on their lives and helped them find a path forward. 

From a fifteen-year-old saving a life in Chicago to a mother of triplets trekking to the North Pole to a ninety-year-old Russian man recalling his standoff with the KGB, these storytellers attest to the variety and richness of the human experience, and the shared threads that connect us all. With honesty and humor, they stare down their fear, embrace uncertainty, and encourage us all to be more authentic, vulnerable, and alive.

Advance Galley Reviews

Didn't finish reading it due to an issue with the copy received. It seemed pretty good so I may purchase it in the future.

These were wonderful stories, typical of the Moth quality. They did a wonderful job of translating them for the written page. However, I did get frustrated with the technical glitch of the e-book, and didn’t finish reading. Not a reflection on the book at all! It would make a great gift as well.

Thank you for a chance to read The Moth Presents Occasional Magic. The stories are amazing. But, there’s a flaw in the PDF copy. It’s missing the first page of every chapter! I will have to find a hard copy when it is released to get the full experience.

What a beautiful collection of true stories and a tribute to the healing magic of story telling. This and two prior collections of stories from the Moth are phenomenal and are best appreciated in small bites that you'll return to again and again for solace and inspiration, along with incredible love for the miraculous human condition in all of its pain and poetry. I can't say enough about these books. Buy them all!

This was a great collection of true, brief experiences -- with an amazing range of topics covered; each more compelling than the last. There was some issue with my eBook file, though, and the first page was blank for almost every story. Nonetheless, very interesting insight into people's lives.

I love The Moth, and this second installment was everything I hoped it would bee. Storytelling at its best.

The Moth on NPR never disappoints and neither did this collection of essays! I do miss hearing it from the original voice, but these personal stories always hit home with humor and pathos. Each essay gives you something to think about. Thanks so much Penguin First Reads for the opportunity to review this collection.

Thank you firsttoread for giving me an advanced copy to read, unfortunately the edition I had access to was missing pages. I attempted to re download it to different players multiple times but I didn’t think I had access to a more finished ebook. What little I was able to read was wonderful but I do not feel that I can give an honest and fair review. I look forward to buying my own personal copy When it is published. Thank you!

As always, the Moth delivers. The only hard part of reading this book is that you have to put it down after each story to really think about what you have just read because the stories are so thought provoking. Some of the stories spoke to me more than others, but I think there really is something for everyone here. I think that the Moth is always better in person, but if you can't get out to an event, this is a great way to interact with these stories! I received a free copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks, First to Read, for helping me discover The Moth! What an interesting and varied collection of stories. Even with the first page of most stories missing in my egalley copy, it was easy to catch up and get into the flow. It was even kind of fun not to know who the storytellers were until the ends of their stories. Looking for more Moth now...

A collection of remarkable stories, ranging over various topics. (A sampling includes facing harassment, family support in the form of care packages, racism, illness.) They each have powerful emotion, and quite a hook. Short and grouped loosely together, they are perhaps best savored, but easy to down in one gulp.

I received a copy of this ebook from in exchange for an honest review. This was more of a mixed bag than the previous Moth collection for me. There are some stories that really stood out - from a child having an imaginary friend with an assistant trying to schedule playdates to not dating a serial killer and decisions about having children. But there were a few stories and a couple themes that I'm sure I would enjoy the story if I had seen it live, but didn't speak to me the way they were written. There are however a lot of stories in this collection so there is likely something for everyone.

This is a collection of stories that were originally told in front of a live audience, but have been transcribed and compiled into a book. It's AMAZING. The stories are all pretty short, so it's super easy to dip in and out of the book. They're all pretty different as well, but all have the common theme of being deeply personal to the storyteller.

I've heard of The Moth but this was my first opportunity to read any of the stories (and I have never attended an event, either). Overall, I really enjoyed the vast scope of stories that represented people from all walks of life. I did wish some of the stories had been developed a bit more because they felt a bit abbreviated. A few of the humorous stories fell a bit flat (though others were really clever and funny). I was a bit confused by the organization of the book as I couldn't tell why some of the essays were grouped together. Also, it was a bit jarring at times to go from a tragic essay to a humorous one. Still, I thought it was a well-curated anthology and I plan to read more of The Moth collections.

Wonderful collection of short stories. Had never heard of the Moth before this. Will look more into it.

I had never heard of The Moth before I picked up this book, so for those who are like me, The Moth brings together people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and from all over the world to share defining moments in their lives. This collection of personal stories made me laugh, contemplate life, and in some cases, even brought me to tears. There is something for every reader in this book, and I will be recommending it to many people. I will also be seeking out live Moth events and their podcast just so I can hear more of these amazing stories.

I love The Moth--I've been listening to it for ages, so getting this book was an absolute treat. The stories are as touching, entertaining, heartbreaking, and just downright emotional as you would expect (if you've listened to the program, that is). The thing I love about The Moth is that they look for the people you don't know about but should, and the stories they tell are always, ALWAYS extraordinary. This book is a wonderful, uplifting, inspiring read that's especially suited for fans of the podcast/NPR show. But even if you've never listened to an episode of The Moth, this book is really something special. This is a 100%, enthusiastic recommended read from me!

I chose this book because it is a collection of short stories, and I love reading short stories. I live in a rural area and had never heard of The Moth. It is a gathering of people who come together to share stories of a major turning point in their lives. For the most part, these gatherings take place in major cities. This book is a collection of 47 of these stories from some of the people who have shared their five minute story on a stage without any notes. The stories are told from people from all walks of life, some of whom are very famous, but mostly not. Some of these storytellers have been on the cutting edge of societal shifts, while others have broken barriers of some kind. Other people, like refugees and people who have lived long lives under repressive regimes, made me feel so grateful to have had the freedom I have enjoyed in America. I liked this book a lot, because I learned so much from many of the people who shared their stories. Some of the stories were downright CRAZY, like C'est La Vie. I won't give that one away, but anyone who reads that one will jump right out of their seat! There is also a Moth podcast, which I will now listen to, to hear more stories. I like stories that are true, and stories where I learn something new or hear about something or some place that I never knew existed. I'm glad to have had my world open a little more by reading this book.

I love listening to the Moth Stories on National Public Radio. They are poignant, funny, sad, and always heartfelt. SO, I was excited about reading this Galley copy! The stories are wonderful, sad, poignant, heartfelt, funny. I remember hearing some of the compilation on the radio. I felt, however, by not hearing the author's voice--I'm sure I missed small nuances in all the stories. This is a great compilation, my advise is: just don't ONLY READ stories from the MOTH, LISTEN and HEAR the stories to enjoy an even greater impact.

I love the moth. The stories written out were just as beautiful as when they are spoken. There were a wide variety of stories, so everyone will find one they can resonate with or enjoy.


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