Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Short Story Reading Challenge

January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014

Only one week to go in 2013, so it’s time to set up my (4th) annual short story reading project, “Project: Deal Me In!” (aka DMI2014) I’ve gone through my heaps of anthologies and friends’ recommendations to come up with 48 stories to read next year, dividing them into “suits” and assigning them each to a card in a standard deck of paying cards, leaving four open spaces for a “deuces wild” element. That makes 52 stories total. One per week. On a certain day each week (I prefer Saturday mornings), I’ll draw a card to determine which story I will read that week. Pretty easy, huh? My selections are listed at the bottom of this post. I included only three past favorites this year, and have 23(!) authors I have never read before. What do you think of my choices? Do you know of a story you’d like to suggest that I read as one of my wild cards? Let me know, I’m happy to be guided…

BUT… What I’d really like to say is… “Why don’t you join me in this challenge in 2014?” (picking your own 52 stories, of course!) Let’s face it, it’s a much less onerous reading assignment than almost any other challenge you’ll find out in the blogosphere. One short story a week? Come on, anybody can do that, right!? All you need is a deck of cards, a short story anthology or two (or a public library, or an Internet connection) and a little imagination. There are hundreds (thousands?) of great short stories in the public domain too. I’ll share a few links below. Have a busy month or two and fall behind? Big deal. With short stories you a catch up in just a couple hours. Why not play along? It’s almost crazy if you don’t! :-) Dale at Mirror With Clouds joined me last year and will be doing so again this year (see his 2014 list), but the more the merrier, right?

I’ll be creating a separate page for this “challenge” in the next week or so, but if you’d like participate, leave a comment here with your blog’s url, and I’ll link to you on that page, and also link – on my weekly post – to any weekly DMI2014 posts you make.

My Prior Years:



My Stories for 2014:

Hearts (stories by female authors)

A – “Meneseteung” by Alice Munro
2 – Wild
3 – “Bear Dance” by Edina Doci
4 – “From Brussels to Ottignies” by Monica Westeren
5 – “Class of 1990″ by Rebecca Emin
6 – “Hydraulic” by Ekaterina Sedia
7 – “Fado” by Katherine Vaz
8 – “The Last Speaker of the Language” by Carol Anshaw
9 – “Axis” by Alice Munro
10- “North Country” by Roxane Gay
J – “Diem Perdidi” by Julie Otsuka
Q – “The Other Place” by Mary Gaitskill
K – “Undressing the Vanity Dolls” by Katherine Vaz

Spades (mostly darker stories)

A – “A Stone Cast Into Stillness” by Maurice Broaddus
2 – Wild
3 – “Beautiful Monsters” by Eric Puchner
4 – “The Hungry House” by Robert Bloch
5 – “The Eyes” by Edith Wharton
6 – “Mrs. Bullfrog” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
7 – “The Autopsy” by Michael Shea
8 – “Tenth of December” by George Saunders
9 – “That in Aleppo Once…” by Vladimir Nabokov
10- “The Redfield Girls” by Laird Barron
J – “Miracle Polish” by Steven Milhauser
Q – “The Half-Skinned Steer” by Annie Proulx
K – “It’s a Good Life” by Jerome Bixby

Diamonds (stories recommended by others)

A – “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
2 – Wild
3 – “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Andre Gide
4 – “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury
5 – “Perfection” by Mark Helprin
6 – “Beyond the Wall” by Ambrose Bierce
7 – “The Business of Madame Jahn” by Vincent O’Sullivan
8 – “Mateo Falcone” by Prosper Merimee
9 – “Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella Consummate their Relationship” by Salman Rushdie
10- “The White Wolf and the Spirit Hunter” by Frederick Marryat
J – “The Things” by Peter Watts
Q – “The Two Sams” by Glen Hirshberg
K – “The Bell in the Fog” by Gertrude Atherton

Clubs (“The Russians are Coming!”)

A – “The Cloak” by Nikolai Gogol
2 – WILD
3 – “The Bet” by Anton Chekhov
4 – “God Sees the Truth but Waits” Leo Tolstoy
5 – “The Shades: A Fantasy” by Vladimir Korlenko
6 – “The Christmas Tree and the Wedding” by Feodor Dostoevsky
7 – “Lazarus” by L.N. Andreyev
8 – “The Outrage: a True Story” by Alexander Kuprin
9 – “St. John’s Eve” by Nikolai Gogol
10- “Her Lover” by Maxim Gorky
J – “the Black Monk” by Anton Chekhov
Q – “The Queen of Spades” by Alexander Pushkin
K – “Twenty-Six and One” by Maxim Gorky

Sources: The Best American Short Stories of 2012, Public Domain/Linked by Fellow Bloggers, Dark Futures: Tales of SF Dystopia, Great Short Stories of the World, The Meantime: Nine Short Stories from Brussels, The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, The Best American Short Stories of the Century, Twenty-Six and One and Other Stories, Haunted Legends anthology, A Knowing Look and Other Stories, and “others”… :-)

Classic Horror Stories: short story of the day
EastoftheWeb’s short story of the day:
TheLibrary of America’s short story of the week archive:

These links alone would provide you with enough FREE short stories to do this project for years, and there are MANY other sites if you look around a bit. There’s even a short stories app for the iPhone (also free).

This reading challenge is hosted by Bibliophilopolis. For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.