Thursday, 26 February 2015

Deal Me In Challenge 2015

I was actually planning on doing a short-story reading event in the near future but I'm glad to have discovered the Deal Me In Challenge hosted by Jay over at Bibliopholopolis through Cleo because it saves me from all the necessary leg-work required to host one. Besides, it's unlikely that many people would sign up anyways so this just saves me the headache of trying desperately to get people to join. Here are the challenge details:

What is the goal of the project?
To read 52 short stories in 2014 (that’s only one per week)

What do I need?
1) Access to at least fifty-two short stories (don’t own any short story collections or anthologies? See links to online resources below)
2) A deck of cards
3) An average of perhaps just thirty minutes of reading time each week

Where do I post* about my stories?
(*You don’t have to post about every single story, of course, but if you have something to say about the story you read any given week, your fellow participants would love to hear it.)
1) On your own blog or website if you have one (I will link to your post at the bottom of my weekly post. I currently plan to do my weekly post on Sundays)
2) if you don’t have a blog or website you may comment on my weekly post, sharing thoughts on your own story – or start one at WordPress or blogspot – it’s easy and free to create a basic blog.

How do I pick which stories to read?
(The 52 stories themselves are totally up to you.) Before you get start reading, come up with a roster of fifty-two stories (you can use any source) and assign each one to a playing card in a standard deck of cards. It can be fun to use different suits for different types of stories, but that is optional. Each “week,” (if you’re like me, you may occasionally fall a story or two behind) you draw a card at random from your deck and that is the story you will read. There are links to last year’s participants’ rosters here if you want to see some examples.

What if I don’t have time to read a story every single week?
Try one of the challenge variations noted below, the Fortnight (or “payday” if you prefer) version is one story every two weeks or the “Full Moon Fever” version with just thirteen stories read or selected on seeing each full moon…

How do I sign up?
Leave a comment below with your URL and I will link you. My first wrap-up post of the year (I post weekly, usually Sunday night or Monday morning) will include links to any new Deal Me In posts and a list of the participants with links to their roster of stories.
What is the purpose?
To have FUN and to be exposed to new authors and stories and maybe get in the habit of reading a short story a week. Isn’t that enough?

I obviously have a lot of catching up to do but that shouldn't be too difficult considering the focus will be on short-stories rather than novels. The most difficult task will be narrowing down my list to 52 short stories. The challenge allows for participants to tweak their lists if they see fit and I intend to do just that. I have many short-story collections sitting on my shelf but many of them are thick and contain a lot more than 52 stories to choose from. So, I've decided to designate the card suits to specific categories: Spades is my personalized anthology list. If I happen to draw a spades card, then I will choose a story from that collection at random. Clubs is for science-fiction, Hearts is for Canadian authors and Diamonds is random. Here is my reading list:

Spades: Anthologies

A - Philip K. Dick - The Complete Short Stories
2 - Ray Bradbury - The Stories of Ray Bradbury
3 - John Updike - The Collected Stories
4 - J.D. Salinger - Nine Stories
5 - F. Scott Fitzgerald - Babylon Revisited and Other Stories
6 - D.H. Lawrence - Selected Stories
7 - Dorothy Parker - Complete Stories
8 - J.G. Ballard - The Complete Stories
9 - Graham Greene - May We Borrow Your Husband + Other Stories
10 - John Cheever - The Stories of John Cheever
J - Theodore Sturgeon - The Complete Stories
Q - Katherine Mansfield - Selected Stories
K - Flannery O'Connor - Complete Stories

Clubs: Science Fiction

A - 2BR20B by Kurt Vonnegut
2 - Bloodchild by Octavia Butler
3 - Wang's Carpets by Greg Egan
4 - For a Breath I Tarry by Roger Zelazny
5 - Driftglass by Samuel R. Delany
6 - Mimsy Were the Borogroves by Lewis Padgett
7 - Adam and No Eve by Alfred Bester
8 - All You Zombies by Robert Heinlein
9 - Vintage Season by C.I. Moore
10 - Nekropolis by Maureen McHugh
J - Burning Chrome by William Gibson
Q - Baby, You Were Great! by Kate Wilhelm
K - The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke

Hearts: Canadian

A - Ray by Guy Vanderhaeghe
2 - Rape Fantasies by Margaret Atwood
3 - The Collectors by Rohinton Mistry
4 - A Scarf by Carol Shields
5 - Voices Lost in Snow by Mavis Gallant
6 - Real Life Writes Real Bad by Timothy Findley
7 - Let Me Promise You by Morley Callaghan
8 - Vision by Alistair Macleod
9 - The Baby in the Airmail Box by Thomas King
10 -The Road Past Altamont by Gabrielle Roy
J - Paper Shadows by Wayson Choy
Q - Alice Munro - The Turkey Season
K - Four Stations in his Circle by Austin Clarke

Diamonds: Random

A - The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick
2 - St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russel
3 - Tenth of December by George Saunders
4 - The Drunkard by Frank O'Connor
5 - One of these Days by Gabriel García Márquez
6 - Super-Frog Saves Tokyo by Haruki Murakami
7 - The Passenger by Vladimir Nabokov
8 - Gooseberries by Anton Chekov
9 - Souls Belated by Edith Wharton
10 - Let the Old Dead make Room for the Young Dead by Milan Kundera
J - A Country Doctor by Franz Kafka
Q - Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates
K - The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe


  1. I like the idea of the challenge. I have a stack of books waiting to be read otherwise I might jump on board with this. Which reminds me, I have to update my blog sidebar to reflect what it is I am actually going to be reading after today (or tomorrow).

    1. It's a lot of fun so far, especially since I haven't read short-stories in such a long time. I realize that we all have so much to read already but that's the beauty of this challenge, they are short-stories. I do hope you reconsider and join us!

      Cool, look forward to the updates.

  2. What a great selection and variety of authors/stories. As with many participants' lists, I've read many of the authors before but only a handful of the actual stories. I think you're the first person in the challenge who assigned the cards in one suit to entire anthologies, from which you 'retain the right' to pick which story of the anthology you'll read. Nice wrinkle to the challenge. I've really enjoyed how so many different bloggers have morphed the challenge to fit their own reading habits. Good luck with challenge and don't stress about catching up. The first year I did the challenge I fell about a dozen stories behind at one point, but now it's become such a habit I'm usually 'current.'

    1. Thanks dude. I was trying to come up with another way to use the deck of cards to pick which story to read from the anthologies but it all became so complicated and I needed to take an advil.

      Ha, I tend to fall behind when it comes to everything in life, not just reading challenges. However, I've been reading like a mad-man the last little while and almost caught up with week 9. Thanks for checking in. :)

  3. Yay, you're joining! Woo hoo! You have so many good choices (except for the Canadian list ----- sorry, I had to bug you on that one). I just might steal one or two from you, especially Nabakov, Kafka, Updike or Parker. Have fun with this challenge!!

    1. I never would have heard about the challenge had it not been for you. Thanks again.

      I figured you would disapprove of my Canadian category but it ties in nicely with my Canadian reading project. Besides, Alice Munro! I know you despise Canadian writers but I think you might like her stories. Simple, direct, beautiful. Reminds me of Steinbeck in a way.

      Go right ahead, feel free to take some of these. I'm very curious what you will think of Updike since he often comes across as a misogynistic and pompous asshole in his writings. :P