Share 13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

Tolani Osan joined Simon & Schuster’s Associate’s Program in 2015 where she spent her first rotation in S&S publicity. She recently earned a Master’s in Publishing & Writing from Emerson College. A daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Tolani enjoys literary fiction about the tensions between cultures and classes. Her favorite book is Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” which she’s made a pact with herself to revisit every three years. She also founded and runs women’s interest blog, MyDresscapades.com, and writes on topics such as fashion, food, perpetual “singledom,” and feminism. You can enjoy her musings about pop culture, fashion, and literature on twitter @dresscapades.  

Inspired by the moths that would gather around the porch light while sharing stories with friends on sweltering Georgia nights, poet and novelist George Dawes Green founded The Moth, an acclaimed organization dedicated to the craft of storytelling. Raconteurs—some famous, most not—get on stage to tell their true stories, often in front of standing-room-only crowds. No notes, just the storyteller and a mic. The Moth Radio Hour, the resulting podcast, is magical, and often makes for a powerful and thought-provoking listen during commutes where I’ve both laughed and cried amongst strangers.  Here are thirteen books from authors who have stood on the Moth stage.


Joseph Anton
by Salman Rushdie
In 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a “fatwa” against Salman Rushdie for writing the novel THE SATANIC VERSES. JOSEPH ANTON is his extraordinary memoir of being forced underground, moving from house to house with the constant presence of an armed police protection team.
Joseph Anton
Salman Rushdie

In 1989, Salman Rushdie was informed by a journalist that he had been sentenced to death by the Ayatollah Khomeini. His crime? Writing the novel The Satanic Verses. His memoir, which is named after the pseudonym Rushdie used while living in hiding (and is an homage to the literary giants Conrad and Chekhov), is a profound and riveting tale of censorship, politics, and the power of writing.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

11 Literary Biopics We Need Right Now

By Julianna Haubner | September 8, 2015

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The Council of Dads
by Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler took the Moth mainstage to share an inspiring story of reaching out and holding close. After a cancer diagnosis, he formed a “Council of Dads” to offer wisdom, humor, and guidance to his young twin daughters should he not be around to do it himself. In this moving memoir, Feiler captures these life lessons for his daughters—how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream.

The Council of Dads
Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler took the Moth mainstage to share an inspiring story of reaching out and holding close. After a cancer diagnosis, he formed a “Council of Dads” to offer wisdom, humor, and guidance to his young twin daughters should he not be around to do it himself. In this moving memoir, Feiler captures these life lessons for his daughters—how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

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The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance
by Elna Baker

Comedian and former Mormon Elna Baker writes about her attempt to find love in a city full of strangers and see if she can steer clear of temptation and just get by on God. This heartfelt and unabashedly funny debut is loaded with the same charm we adore in her Moth stories.

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance
Elna Baker

Comedian and former Mormon Elna Baker writes about her attempt to find love in a city full of strangers and see if she can steer clear of temptation and just get by on God. This heartfelt and unabashedly funny debut is loaded with the same charm we adore in her Moth stories.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

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The Autobiography of My Mother
by Jamaica Kincaid

In this coming-of-age tale, Xuela Claudette Richardson's mother dies the moment she is born and she must find her way on her own. A story of love, fear, loss, and the forging of character, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY MOTHER is an account of one woman’s inexorable evolution, evoked in startling and magical poetry.

The Autobiography of My Mother
Jamaica Kincaid

In this coming-of-age tale, Xuela Claudette Richardson's mother dies the moment she is born and she must find her way on her own. A story of love, fear, loss, and the forging of character, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY MOTHER is an account of one woman’s inexorable evolution, evoked in startling and magical poetry.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

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Orange Is the New Black
by Piper Kerman
Ten years after delivering a suitcase of drug money, Piper Kerman is convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at an infamous federal correctional facility, where she must navigate this strange new world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, this surprising memoir offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison.
Orange Is the New Black
Piper Kerman

I didn’t really get into Orange Is the New Black till the second season when the stories began to feel more like fiction and less like reality. Maybe that’s because I prefer novels over memoirs. But Piper Kerman’s look at her own life behind prison walls has inspired the most diverse, relatable, and compelling cast of women to come along in years.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

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By Off the Shelf Staff | October 20, 2015

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The Job
by Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne’s New York–accented Moth stories about his misadventures as an NYPD cop have become so noteworthy he compiled them into a book. Delivered with streetwise sensibility, Osborne’s stories capture both the absurdity of police work and the bravery of those who do it.

The Job
Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne’s New York–accented Moth stories about his misadventures as an NYPD cop have become so noteworthy he compiled them into a book. Delivered with streetwise sensibility, Osborne’s stories capture both the absurdity of police work and the bravery of those who do it.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

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At Home in the World
by Joyce Maynard

While on the stage, she shares sweet stories about her children and the art of letter writing. But in this shockingly honest memoir, Joyce Maynard explores her own coming-of-age, her self-imposed exile when she left Yale to live with J. D. Salinger, and her struggle to reclaim her sense of self in the crushing aftermath of his dismissal.

At Home in the World
Joyce Maynard

While on the stage, she shares sweet stories about her children and the art of letter writing. But in this shockingly honest memoir, Joyce Maynard explores her own coming-of-age, her self-imposed exile when she left Yale to live with J. D. Salinger, and her struggle to reclaim her sense of self in the crushing aftermath of his dismissal.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

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The Emperor of All Maladies
by Siddhartha Mukherjee
THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES by physician Siddhartha Mukherjee is a profoundly humane, Pulitzer Prize–winning “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago to the epic battles in the twentieth century.
The Emperor of All Maladies
Siddhartha Mukherjee

For fans of “Radiolab

Radiolab is an in-depth podcast about curiosity that breaks down topics as diverse as end-of-life care, collegiate debating, snapping shrimp, and ice-skating controversies—and leaves you with newfound knowledge and an eagerness to learn more. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s bestselling, Pulitzer Prize–winning THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES has that same effect. This incredibly readable and epic “biography” of cancer illuminates and dissects the disease like never before.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Allison Tyler | August 30, 2016

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

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Ken Burns: The Books Behind the Documentaries

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | March 31, 2015

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Eccentric Glamour
by Simon Doonan

Simon Doonan has singlehandedly brought poise and unprecedented style to the Moth mainstage. In these comic essays, interspersed with one-on-one interviews with some of the world’s most glamorous eccentrics—Iman, Lucy Liu, Tilda Swinton, and more—Doonan offers a guide to magnify everything that is already unique and idiosyncratic about you.

Eccentric Glamour
Simon Doonan

Simon Doonan has singlehandedly brought poise and unprecedented style to the Moth mainstage. In these comic essays, interspersed with one-on-one interviews with some of the world’s most glamorous eccentrics—Iman, Lucy Liu, Tilda Swinton, and more—Doonan offers a guide to magnify everything that is already unique and idiosyncratic about you.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

Close

He's Just Not That Into You
by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo
Greg Behrendt wasn’t always an expert on love. In fact, the hard lessons learned from his “stalkerish” relationship with comedian and actress Janeane Garofalo provide the foundation for this provocative and intoxicatingly liberating book. It’s tough-love advice for otherwise smart women—and probably the best relationship advice you’ll ever receive.
He's Just Not That Into You
Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

A book before a movie, He’s Just Not That Into You is Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s guide to relationships. Reexamining typical mindsets and analyzing common scenarios, the two dole out the tough love so that women can stop making excuses for a person who might not even be interested and go find the one who is.

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By Off the Shelf Staff | February 12, 2015

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How Perfect Is That
by Sarah Bird

In this comic triumph of a novel, Blythe Young is happily immersed in Austin society until she is unceremoniously dumped after her mother-in-law finds her son a better catch. When she encounters an old roommate, whom she shucked off during a frenzy of social climbing, Blythe comes face to face with her past sins and dubious moral choices.

How Perfect Is That
Sarah Bird

In this comic triumph of a novel, Blythe Young is happily immersed in Austin society until she is unceremoniously dumped after her mother-in-law finds her son a better catch. When she encounters an old roommate, whom she shucked off during a frenzy of social climbing, Blythe comes face to face with her past sins and dubious moral choices.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

Close

Through the Children's Gate
by Adam Gopnik

New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik’s most fascinating Moth stories are about navigating life in New York City and raising a family. THROUGH THE CHILDREN’S GATE is rich with Gopnik’s signature charm, wit, and joie de vivre.

Through the Children's Gate
Adam Gopnik

New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik’s most fascinating Moth stories are about navigating life in New York City and raising a family. THROUGH THE CHILDREN’S GATE is rich with Gopnik’s signature charm, wit, and joie de vivre.

MENTIONED IN:

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

By Tolani Osan | January 19, 2016

Close

Anansi Boys
by Neil Gaiman
In a heartfelt Moth story about the sometimes disparate relationship between fathers and sons, Neil Gaiman shared with an audience that his proud father had shown up to a very stressful book signing, unannounced, while Neil was signing copies of ANANSI BOYS, an adventurous novel about fathers and sons that blends myth, prophecy, and family dysfunction.
Anansi Boys
Neil Gaiman

In the novel, "Mr. Nancy", an incarnation of the West African trickster god Anansi, dies, leaving two sons, who in turn discover each other. The novel follows their adventures as they explore their common heritage. The book debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list and won both the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Society Award in 2006. Genre-bending, scary and funny, this is Gaiman at his best.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Sarah Jane Abbott | August 2, 2016

13 Thought-Provoking Books from The Moth Podcast Storytellers

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By Off the Shelf Staff | November 18, 2014

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