Saturday, December 30, 2017

Deal Me In 2018 Roster

Goal: Read 54 short stories in 2018.

Here’s the general guide from the host (for more details, ideas, and sources visit Jay’s site): "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.... Each “week,” (if you’re like me, you may occasionally fall a story or two behind – that’s okay) you draw a card at random from your deck and that is the story you will read. You can add your own make it even more challenging."

2017 was my first Deal Me In attempt and overall it went well (my 2017 Roster). However, I’ve made some changes for 2018. I’ll use the same themes for each suite, but will concentrate on fewer sources. For Spades and Hearts I'll use only anthologies and collections from my shelves (gotta tackle the TBR shelves). For Diamonds I’ll use the Gutenberg sources I found in 2017. Clubs will be limited to essays and a graphic anthology.
In 2017 when I drew a Joker I selected a story from another participants roster. This year the two Jokers will be wild cards with no limits on sources. When I draw a Joker I will also draw another card and read two stories that week.

I will not be searching for card images to go with the stories. It was fun but took a lot of time from reading and "I've been there, done that." I'm thinking of doing something else to augment the stories. Perhaps author or setting background. Or Googling something that the story suggests to me. Or not.

I will note the date in red when I read each story. 
My 2018 Roster

SPADES (translated into English)
A    On the Steppe by Samanta Schweblin (in The Future is Not Ours)(2/10/18)
K    Twin Beds by Giovanna Rivero (in The Future is Not Ours)
Q    G-text by Răzvan (in Best European fiction 2015) (2/17/18)
J     The brown dog and the yellow flower from China by Nicolas Ancion (in Best European fiction 2015)
10   The fire by Birutė Jonuškaitė (in Best European fiction 2015) (3/24/18)
9     Vertical Motion by Can Xue (in Vertical Motion; Stories)
8     The gentleman from Cracow (in Singer Collected Stories I) (2/24/18)
7     The wife killer (in Singer Collected Stories I)
6     Afternoon of a Faun by Jung Young Moon (in A most ambiguous Sunday, and other stories) (4/14/18)
5    Way of Remembrance  by Jung Young Moon (in A most ambiguous Sunday...)(5/26/18)
4    Together With Chicken by Jung Young Moon (in A most ambiguous Sunday...) (6/9/18)
3    At the Amusement Park by Jung Young Moon (in A most ambiguous Sunday...)
2    On the Beautiful Blue Danube by Georgi Tenev (in Bat City Review, Issue 10) (6/30/18)
HEARTS (Original language English)
A   Drone  by Miles Klee (in Watchlist : 32 stories by persons of interest) (2/3/18)
K   Transcription of an eye by Carmen Maria Machado (in Watchlist) 
Q   The taxidermist by David Abrams (in Watchlist) 
J     Second chance by Etgar Keret (in Watchlist) (5/12/18)
10  Strava by Steven Hayward (in Watchlist)
9    We are the Olfanauts by Deji Bryce Olukotun (in Watchlist) 
8    Viewer, violator by Aimee Bender (in Watchlist)
7    The provincials by Daniel Alarcón (in The best American short stories, 2013)
6    Bravery by Charles Baxter (in The best American short stories, 2013) (1/13/18)
5    Malaria by Michael Byers (in The best American short stories, 2013) (4/21/18)
4    Nighttime of the city by Robert Coover (in Watchlist)
3    Sleeping where Jean Seberg slept by Katherine Karlin (in Watchlist)
2    Testimony of Malik, Israeli agent, prisoner #287690 by Randa Jarrar (in Watchlist)

DIAMONDS (Gems from Project Gutenberg)
Q    Brothers by Sherwood Anderson (in The Best Short Stories of 1921)
J     The Venial Sin (in Droll Stories, Complete, by Honore de Balzac)
10   The She-Wolf (in  Beasts and Super-Beasts by Saki)
9     Bartleby (in The Piazza Tales  by Herman Melville)
8     Fanutza by Konrad Bercovici (in The Best Short Stories of 1921)
7     The Excursion by Edwina Stanton Babcock (in The Best Short Stories of 1917) (1/27/18)
6     Onnie by Thomas Beer (in The Best Short Stories of 1917)
5     The Last Asset (in The Hermit and the Wild Woman and Other Stories, by Edith Wharton) (3/31/18)
4     The Shadows on the Wall (in The Wind in the Rose-bush and Other Stories of the Supernatural,   by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman) (1/20/18)
3     De Amicitia (in Orientations, by W Somerset Maugham)
2     Old Man Savarin (in Old Man Savarin and Other Stories, by Edward William Thomson) (4/7/18)

CLUBS (something different - not short stories)
A   Mohammad Tolouei, Someone Without Peers Translated from the Persian by Farzaneh Doosti
K   Chung Wenyin, Flesh and Bone Translated from the Chinese by Jennie Chia-Hui Chu (6/23/18)
Q   Bernard Hœpffner, Portrait of the Translator as Chameleon
J    Ricardo Piglia, On the Threshold Translated from the Spanish by Robert Croll (5/5/18)
10  Yasujiro Ozu, The Unexpected Scent of Salad Translated from the Japanese by Adam Kuplowsky (4/28/18)
9   The Other Chile (Cecilia and Patricia)  by Angie Cruz (1/6/18)
8   Modern Uses of Language (The Oxford Harriet Beecher Stowe reader) (3/3/18)
7   Uncle Enoch (The Oxford Harriet Beecher Stowe reader) (3/10/18)
6   The Old Meeting-House: Sketch from the Note-Book of an Old Gentlemen (The Oxford Harriet Beecher Stowe reader) (5/19/18)
5   The Canal-Boat (The Oxford Harriet Beecher Stowe reader) (6/16/18)
4   Elizabeth Strout: ‘If I ever return to a small town, I want you to kill me’ 
3   Muqtatafat : a comics anthology featuring artists from the Middle East region: Part one: English language. Manal and Alaa : a love story / by Lena Merhej -- Breath underwater / by Mike V. Derderian -- Anomaly / by Omar Khouri --Time travel / by Maya Zankoul --Liberty gone wild / by Nidal El Khairy --Filsteezy / by Mahdi Fleifel and Basel Nasr --Birdie mania / by Ghadi Ghosn --
Noûs somme / by Sandra Ghosn -- The genie of the throne / by Wassim Maouad -- (6/2/18)
Muqtatafat: Part two: Arabic language (translated into English). Slop / by Magdy el Shafee -- Where our stories collide / by Jana Traboulsi -- Gauche droite & estamba / by Mohamed el Shennawy -- Nap before noon / by Barrack Rima -- The bike / by Mohamed Tawfik.

JOKERS (2) - Wild Cards (3/24/18 and 5/26/18)

Friday, December 29, 2017

December (fifth week) 2017 Reads

Four novels, two books of short stories, and some online reading...

The stubborn second Joker in my Deal Me In deck didn't appear until the final week of the 2017 challenge. So I have been looking at a bunch of rosters. Lot's of tempting stories, several I'd like to read but can't access. I finally settled on a ghost story from Nick's roster.
Nick lists this as being in  Alfred Hitchcock Presents: 12 Stories for Late at Night, but I found that is also available on Gutenberg.

Deal Me In
Extra (Joker) Story: The Ash-Tree (in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James
Classic tale of something that haunts several generations of an English country manor family. Sufficiently creepy for late night reading. I'll be reading more from this collection.

A creepy Joker for a creepy story.  
The King of hearts for my weekly story is from Polaris "a celestial-themed deck with modern woodcut-style illustrations."  The story is not celestial but this figure with parts missing reminds me of how seriously the battle wounds messed up the veteran in the story.            

Weekly Story: Outside Kandahar by Lucas Flatt (on Pithead Chapel an online literary journal)
A tough story in which a veteran of Afghanistan action is caretaker for his brother-in-law, a disabled veteran of the same war.


Ælfgyva: The Mystery Woman of the Bayeux Tapestry – Part I; Ælfgyva: The Mystery Woman of the Bayeux Tapestry – Part II; Ælfgyva: The Mystery Woman of the Bayeux Tapestry – Part III; Alfgyva: The Mystery Woman of the Bayeux Tapestry – Part IV to come. By Paula Lofting

Judith Sollosy: No flotsam and jetsam blowing in the wind
An interview with a translator (Hungarian/English)

[A Conversation with Jung Young Moon] Writing for Skeptics: Navigating Meaninglessness
The Korean author is interviewed by Justine Ludwig.

Gutenberg find....

The Rubáiyát of a Persian Kitten by Oliver Herford
Charming 1904 parody. Here's a sample:

"Sometimes I think perchance that Allah may,  
 When he created Cats, have thrown away
 The Tails He marred in making, and they grew  
  o Cat-Tails and to Pussy-Willows grey."

from my shelves....

No One Writes Back by Eun-Jin Jang; translated from the Korean by Jung Yewon
This first person tale of a postman who quits his job to travel was really fun to read. He travels for about three years and most nights he lays on the floor of his motel room and writes a letter. Sometimes he writes to family members, other times to people he's met on his journey. As we follow his trip and read some of the letters we learn about his former life. 

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
A sweet story of three lonely people putting together a shared household. The three --a elderly widower, a retired spinster teacher, and a teenage girl--manage to become an unconventional (at times unconvincing) family. This almost crosses the line from "heart warming" to "sentimental slop" and, appropriately, I read it on Christmas day.  'nuff said.
Advance review copy through Goodreads giveaway. 

Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat
Short stories of the Haitian experience (both in Haiti and New York).  Some of these (especially Night Women) can almost be read as poems . Excellent.
Contents: Children of the sea; Nineteen thirty-seven; A wall of fire rising; Night women; Between the pool and the gardenias; The missing peace; Seeing things simply; New York day women; Caroline's wedding; Epilogue: Women like us.

Man V. Nature by Diane Cook (Kindle ed)
Excellent debut collection of edgy short stories.
Contents: Moving on; The way the end of days should be; Somebody's baby; Girl on girl; Man v. nature; Marrying up; It's coming; Meteorologist Dave Santana; Flotsam; A wanted man; The mast year; The not-needed forest.

The next are both told from the point of view of a teenage boy. Both are interesting coming of age tales but both are somewhat flawed in getting the authentic voice of a young person.  Of the two Mozley was more poetic, but Freud's boy was more convincing. The "Mr Mac" is Charles Rennie Mackintosh and I enjoyed that aspect of Freud's book.
  Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud
  Elmet by Fiona Mozley(Kindle ed)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December (fourth week) 2017 Reads

Once again my reading was all over the map: Libya/Italy, Sudan, New York's Chinatown, Chile, and a creepy unnamed fantasy village from a Catalan author.

Deal Me In
This week's story: The Past by Ellen Glasgow: In The Best Short Stories of 1921 originally published in Good Housekeeping, October 20, 1920. (The anthology covers the period from October 1920 through September 1921).
This is a gentle ghost story set in a Fifth Avenue mansion.

Card: Queen of Diamonds from a  promotional deck printed by B. Dondorf for Saks & Company, New York, late 1920s. Found at The World of Playing Cards.

A picture book from from Project Gutenberg...
My Book of Ten Fishes by Rosalie G. Mendel

from my shelves...

Morning Sea by

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December (third week) 2017 Reads

This week I concentrated on the "owned but unread shelf" and came up with quite a mix.

Deal Me In:  This week's story was Referential by Lorrie Moore (in The best American short stories, 2013)
Not my favorite story. I read it on Wednesday and now, on Saturday, I have zero recollection of it.

Card: 7of Hearts --no image this week

from my shelves... 


Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
I really liked this debut novel. Review cross-posted on Goodreads and LibraryThing.
Advance review copy via Goodreads giveaway


A Brief History of Portable Literature by Enrique Vila-Matas; translated from the Spanish

Best cover this week.

The Toaster Oven Mocks Me: Living with Synesthesia by Steve Margolis (Kindle ed)
Interesting memoir but I had hoped for more documented material on the condition.


American Phoenix: John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile That Saved American Independence by Jane Hampton Cook (Kindle ed)
Well written but I think Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas was a more readable coverage of the material. I would have found this more interesting if I hadn't read the Thomas book first.

Martian Goods & Other Stories by Noelle Campbell (Kindle ed)
Inter-related sci-fi stories.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

December (second week) 2017 Reads

A good reading week and now snow so there will be plenty of time for more reading.

The  Deal Me In story this week is Hill Clan Cross from Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories by

Card: Ace of Hearts. Considering the body count in these stories this card from crackmatrix at DeviantArt seems like a good choice.

from my shelves...

Ramen Is Revolutionary: A Book for Beginners and Fans by Yoshihiro Kaneda (Kindle ed)
A short and savory read. There are several delicious illustrations.


The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen; translated from the Finnish by Lola Rogers (Kindle ed)
Mystery, myth, magic, and the creative process come alive as the newest member of the Society tries to figure out what she's gotten herself into.


Affections by Rodrigo Hasbún; translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes
Outstanding novel based loosely on the family of cinematographer/explorer Hans Ertl, who resettled in Bolivia from Germany after World War 2.
Free finished copy from publisher through Goodreads giveaway.

The Italian Party by Christina Lynch
A young mixed-up couple living in Italy in 1956. They have lots of secrets from each other and from everyone else--or so they think. It's a fun diversion and pretty accurate about how things were in the 50s.
Free advance review copy through Goodreads giveaway.

Like the era appropriate cover.


René Magritte: Selected Writings by René Magritte: translated from the French by Jo Levy; Kathleen Rooney (Editor), Eric Plattner (Editor) 
Short pieces, notes, commentaries, interviews, etc.


Traces of Time by

Saturday, December 02, 2017

December (first week) 2017 Reads

Calling it December since it will be posted on Dec 2. A dreadful Deal Me In short story this week. But the other short stories I read were great and/or pretty good. The novels I read were fine.

Still having browser problems. My Firefox wasn't broke until they "improved" it. This entry looks blah without images but I just don't want to mess with it.

Story:  Razor Blades by Lina Meruane (in The Future is Not Ours), translated from the Spanish by Janet Hendrickson
Yuck! Gross mean girls.

Card: King of Spades - not bothering with looking for a card this week.

from my shelves...

I'd Like by

Vaseline Buddha by Young-moon Jung; translated from the Korean by Jung Yewon
Surreal stream of consciousness which is, at times, hypnotic. An excellent read.

Flames of Quiet Light: Thirteen Tiny Tales of Love and Loss by

After Rain by William Trevor (Kindle)
Great collection of stories.

Now and at the Hour of our Death by Susana Moreira Marques; translated from the Porteguese by Julia Sanches
Non-fiction. Observations by an observer of a palliative care unit in rural Portugal.
from the library...

Uncertain Glory by
I really liked this novel of the Spanish Civil War. The politics of that war always confuse me and this shows that the participants were pretty confused too. Sales was involved in the war.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83¼ Years Old by
An old geezer in a old folks home--reminded me of the Brit-com Waiting for God.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

November (fourth week) 2017 Reads

This week was a mixed bag of short stories, non-fiction, a mystery, and not much time for making notes on the books and uploading cover images. I'm really surprised that I've been pretty faithful with the Deal Me In challenge

Deal Me In
Story: The Boar-Pig (in  Beasts and Super-Beasts by Saki)
A short piece involving party crashers, a mischievous girl, and a ferocious beast. This is a gentle story, not one of Saki's macabre pieces.

Card: Ten of Diamonds.
This card from Roy at Deviant Art has nothing to do with the story. I just thought it was a fun design.

from the library....
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (Kindle edition)

from my shelves...
Conversations on Art and Aesthetics by

Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky by

Old Rendering Plant  by

Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology by