Re-booting a Neglected Project

Since we’re nearing the end of the third quarter of 2011, I found myself beginning to daydream about what my unofficial reading project for 2012 might be. Then, however, I inevitably started thinking about how badly I’ve neglected my 2011 reading project, “Deal Me In,” where my goal was to read 52 short stories (one per week) in 2011. Checking my records, I found that – after roughly 38 weeks, I’d only notched 19 completed stories from my list so far. Disgraceful, yes. Surprising? Sadly, no, if you’re familiar with my inveterate slacking…

In this project, I had assigned a story to each card in a standard deck of playing cards (leaving the “deuces wild” to allow me a few unplanned reads) and then determined which story would I would read next by drawing a random card. Each suit had a common theme: favorites, ghost stories, recommendations, etc. So, yesterday I rebooted the project and since then, in an effort to catch up, I have read six more stories. I enjoyed most of them so much it has made me wonder how I managed to have neglected the project in the first place.

I also began to think that I should renew this project for next year and indefinitely going forward. I mean, how hard should it be to commit to reading one measly short story per week? You’re right. Not hard AT ALL. :-). So, expect a few posts in the next week or so that relate to the stories in my catch up phase. Funny, perhaps the reason I’ve gotten started again is that I emerged from last week’s flurry of “required” reading of novels and sat there unable to decide what book to read next. It was my indecision which led me back to my short story project. Stay tuned. 🙂

How are your 2011 reading projects coming along? Surely I cannot be alone in my slacking…

Sent from my iPad


  1. Melody said,

    September 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I was doing the same thing this weekend…dreaming of my 2012 reading goals and then realizing that I really had to be doing a bit better on 2011 before I was allowed to dream. 🙂 The fact that I enjoyed my month-long challenge more than my year-long projects has me thinking if there’s a way to do things a bit differently next year.

    I like how you organized your short story project; I’m looking forward to hearing about your recent stories.


    • Jay said,

      September 27, 2011 at 10:44 am

      Hi Melody,
      I still plan to steal (at least part of) your novella-reading project for next year. Maybe I’ll read one of those per month or something. Yours was my “favorite” project to follow among my fellow bloggers this year, but I realize it must also have been an awful lot of work for you to read and write so much.


  2. Dale said,

    September 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I had picked 4 epic poems to read in 2011. My plan was to read one per quarter. Then I realized that I could finish them all in 6 months. Then I finished them all by the end of May. Maybe I was too easy on myself. I think in 2012, I’m going to pick 4 authors and read at least two of their works during each quarter. Right now, I think I’m going to pick Rudyard Kipling, Isaac Asimov, Charles Dickens and Jack London. But this is subject to change.


    • Jay said,

      September 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

      Dale, you are putting the rest of us to shame. Completing your project EARLY!?!?? Of all the nerve! 🙂

      I’ve thought about having several smaller ‘quarterly’ projects instead (since it seems it’s more fun to plan the projects than actually complete them, that way I get to plan four projects!)

      I’ve been thinking about doing a “authors biographies/autobiographies” project for next year. I’ve rarely read one I didn’t like – provided I was already interested in the author anyway. The two I read this year were both autobiographies (Trollope & Asimov) and they were both among my favorite reads for the year.



  3. September 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I’ve been thinking about this as well. I have really enjoyed my exploration of Leaves of Grass this year and I’d really like to do something similar next year. Whitman worked out perfectly for a year long project as the edition ( commonly referred to as the “deathbed” edition) that I’m reading works out to about 50 pages / month or a page or two per day. Not everything would be suited to that structure but with poetry it works out nicely.
    I have the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe so I’ve been considering that which, of course, would combine poetry and short stories.

    Love the card idea. 🙂 Keeps it fun and interesting!


    • Jay said,

      September 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Hi Nicki,
      I’ve really enjoyed the Poe I’ve read. A couple years ago, for our October meeting, my book club read a bunch of Poe works instead of our normal “Ghost Story Month” fare. We also have a guy here in town that dresses up as the author and does readings every Halloween season. I’ve been meaning to go for several years but something else always comes up to prevent me. Maybe this will be there year. If it is, I’ll be certain to blog about the experience.


  4. Dee said,

    October 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Suggestion: I’ve been reading Daniel Alarcon: War by Candlelight (short stories) – He was a Time Mag featured author under 40 -some months ago. What a great story teller!


    • Jay said,

      October 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, Dee. I will definitely check him out.


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