Friday, January 2, 2015

Deal Me In Short Story Challenge 2015

I am a sucker for challenges, but I am really trying to rein myself in on challenges in 2015. However, I have also had a goal in mind to experiment with reading short stories. I began researching how many books of short stories I have and I was amazed to find that I have over twenty books (some of them quite large) and that does not count any that are on the Kindle. In the last two or three years I have read maybe two stories from those books, and around ten short stories online.

Recently I ran into the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge, hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis, and I hope that challenge will help me ease into short story reading. The goal of the project is to read 52 short stories in 2015 (that’s only one per week). The challenge is set up so that the participants choose the short stories they plan to read for the year, and assign each to a card in the standard 52 card deck. Each week you choose a card and read that story. I think most participants post comments on the short stories they read, but that is not a requirement.


Luckily, there are variations which allow the participants to sign up for lower amounts of short stories over the year, anywhere from 12 to 26. I am enthusiastic about this challenge but I know it unrealistic for me ... a novice short story reader... to start out at one a week. So I will go for 26 short stories during the year. I will draw a card every other Friday, and I will start on January 9, 2015.

For a more complete explanation of the challenge and some examples of how other bloggers approach it... see this post.

Here is my list of stories:

HEARTS (short stories by women)
Ace – "Recipe for a Happy Marriage" by Nedra Tyre
2 – "The Case of the Shaggy Caps" by Ruth Rendell
3 – "McGowney's Miracle" by Margaret Millar
4 – "The Couple Next Door" by Margaret Millar
5 – "The People Across the Canyon" by Margaret Millar
6 – "Notions" by Margaret Millar
7 – "Even the Queen" by Connie Willis
8 – "Winter's Tale" by Connie Willis
9 – "At the Rialto" by Connie Willis
10 – "The Mouse in the Corner" by Ruth Rendell
Jack – "Freud at Thirty Paces" by Sara Paretsky
Queen – "A Little Missionary Work" by Sue Grafton
King – "Turning Point" by Anthea Fraser

SPADES (short stories by men)
Ace – "Red Clay" by Michael Malone
2 – "Blue Cadillac" by Michael Malone
3 – "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" by J.D. Salinger
4 – "For Esme – With Love and Squalor" by J.D. Salinger
5 – "The Specialty of the House" by Stanley Ellin
6 – "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl
7 – "When No Man Pursueth" by Isaac Asimov
8 – "The Theft of the Used Teabag" by Edward D. Hoch
9 – "The Refugees" by T. S. Stribling
10 – "Trip Trap" by Ian Rankin
Jack – "Positive Vetting" by Stephen Murray
Queen – "True Thomas" by Reginald Hill
King – "The Duke" by Eric Wright

Because I read mostly from the mystery genre, the majority of the stories chosen are mysteries. But not all of them. The short story anthologies that these stories come from are:

  • Murder on the Menu edited by Carol-Lynn Rössel Waugh, Martin H. Greenberg, and Isaac Asimov
  • 1st CULPRIT: A Crime Writer's Annual edited by Liza Cody and Michael Z. Lewin 
  • 2nd CULPRIT: A Crime Writer's Annual edited by Liza Cody and Michael Z. Lewin 
  • Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
  • Impossible Things by Connie Willis
  • The Couple Next Door by Margaret Millar; edited by Tom Nolan
  • Red Clay, Blue Cadillac: Stories of Twelve Southern Women  by Michael Malone


18 comments:

  1. I love short stories, and read a lot of them. I think I would have a hard time coming up with enough I wanted to read though. I know I would read that many in a year, but would never know them before hand. Good luck!

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    1. I agree, Ryan, it seems counterintuitive to plan short story reading. But for me, I think it is the only way to counter the inertia of actually starting to read a short story. I seem to have some kind of mental block against that form.

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  2. Interesting challenge. I used to read loads of short stories but now I really struggle. I own a bunch of collections of them. But I always want that full experience of a novel. Shall watch your progress with interest

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    1. That has been my opinion, also, Bernadette. That a short story doesn't have the development of a novel. I used to like them when I was younger. I want to see what types of short stories I can enjoy.

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  3. I like the idea of this challenge, Tracy. I think the short story format is fascinating - and challenging to write! I'll be really interested to see your reviews.

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    1. I agree that short stories seem hard to write, Margot. And I am concerned about how to "review" them, especially one at a time. It will be an interesting experience.

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  4. Good luck, I know you're not a fan! I'm sure you'll read some good ones.

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    1. Definitely haven't been a fan in the last few years, Col. But I did read short stories when I was younger. I remember some science fiction short stories that I loved. We will see how I do.

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  5. Sounded like an interesting challenge so I signed up. I'm not much of a short story reader so this is a challenge for me.

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    1. It will be a challenge for me too, Mac n' Janet. Just adding 26 more posts a year sounds challenging. But worth it, I think.

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  6. Tracy, like Ryan, I love short stories too. The only story I have read from your proposed list is "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl. I plan to read more shorts in 2015. Good luck to you! I'm looking forward to reading your reviews.

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    1. Prashant: You are one of the bloggers who inspired me to expand my horizons and try more short stories. I had heard other bloggers talk about "Lamb to the Slaughter" so I am curious about that story. (Col too, and Margot.)

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  7. I've grown to *appreciate* short stories of late. Interesting challenge, Tracy. How do you find these challenges? I'm sure from other bloggers. Looking forward to seeing which short stories you read and enjoy. BTW, I'm staying challenge free this yea. I enjoy just lurking and enjoying the reviews. Take care ;-)

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    1. Keishon, I don't remember exactly how I ran into this one. A blog I read does this challenge but I did not realize how it was set up until I saw the notice for this challenge. I don't blame you for avoiding challenges. I just can't resist them, hard as I try.

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  8. Good list! I'm embarrassed to say I've only read two (the Salinger stories).

    Good luck with the challenge!

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    1. Thanks, Jay. The Salinger are the only ones I had read too, but I wanted to reread them and see how they seem to me now. I am excited about starting the challenge.

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  9. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.

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