The 2012 Deck is Stacked!

I now have a “final” list of the short stories I will be reading in 2012. Like last year’s “Project: Deal Me In,” I’ve come up with fifty-two stories, each assigned by me to a specific card in a standard deck of playing cards. A list of these stories may be found on my separate page “2012 ‘1 Short Story per Week’ selections” on the left-hand sidebar. Like last year, the different suits have some “meaning” – hearts = stories by some of my favorite writers; clubs = stories by famous writers that I may or may not have read; diamonds = stories by female writers; spades = ghost/scary stories or sci-fi stories.

I’m sure I will read many other short stories throughout the year besides these, but these are the “required” reads, and their order will be determined by fate – i.e. the random drawing of a new card from the deck each week in what became a Saturday morning ritual for me in 2011.

Yesterday, I drew the ten of clubs, which was Isak Dinesen’s story, “A Sailor Boy’s Tale.” I liked it a lot, despite its relative brevity and “simplicity.” I’ll have more to say about it later…

So… do you have any planned short story reading this year? Have you read any of my fifty-two scheduled stories, and are any among your favorites?




  1. Dale said,

    January 8, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I highly recommend Willa Cather! I haven’t read the short story that you picked but I read a few of her novels and was very impressed. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by her.

    Have you ever read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury? I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I’ve got several books of short stories on my bookshelf including ones by Hemingway, Kipling and JD Salinger. I’m going to try to read these. I’m also going to try to find a Jack London collection.


    • Jay said,

      January 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      I haven’t read much by Cather yet. Maybe after the introduction via short story I will look into reading more.

      You’ve mentioned Dandelion Wine before, and someday, someday I will get to it. I do like Bradbury in general.

      I have “whole book”collections of stories by Hemingway, Salinger, and Kipling,which aren’t really part of the project, but may be read in2012 as well.


  2. Darlyn said,

    January 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    This sounds like a fascinating idea, and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with your short story project this year. I’m actually kind of curious to see what other stories you have in store. I actually aim to read more of the Sherlock Holmes stories this year. 🙂


    • Jay said,

      January 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      I read “The Complete Works” of Conan Doyle quite a few years back, but revisit occasionally. Last year, his “The Adventure of The Speckled Band” was among the short stories I read.


  3. Melody said,

    January 10, 2012 at 12:29 am

    To date, I’ve had a difficult time incorporating short stories into my reading diet–my inclination is to read a collection as if it’s a novel, when that really isn’t the case. I’m glad that you mentioned that this project has become a Saturday morning ritual for you…that makes so much sense! I also like how you’ve set the whole thing up–planned yet spontaneous. I can actually see myself doing something like that! I’ll have to mull it over.

    Looking through your lists, I [shamefacedly] must admit that I had no idea that so many well-known authors had published short stories.

    A Little Cloud was one of my favorite stories from Dubliners, though I do wonder if my opinions would be the same if I reread them. I’ve loved almost all of Flannery O’Connor’s stories, although I enjoy them more if I don’t read them all at the same time. 🙂 I’ve also read (& enjoyed) Willa Cather’s first published collection of short stories.

    So…I have to ask. How are most of your short stories bound? As an author’s collection? An anthology? If I were to venture this direction, what would your suggestions be?


    • Jay said,

      January 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Melody,
      Yes, Saturday mornings (and Sunday mornings for that matter, since I am a bit of a heathen) are some of my “prime” times for reading. 🙂

      After reading “The Dead” last year, I really wantgto read more James Joyce, but. Perhaps short stories are the way to go instead of finally attempting Ulysses…

      Most of the stories are in anthologies that I own. I actually hid the column of my worksheet which I cut and pasted into my separate blog page, and omitted the “location” column (my own guide for where I can find the story). This was an amusing problem I ran into last year, when I often couldn’t find (at least on the first few attempts) whichever story I drew from the deck that morning…



  4. Rebecca Emin said,

    January 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I love the idea you have of selecting what to read by using a pack of cards. Genius!

    I never imagined myself saying this, but now I have a dream of one day being a diamond. ;o)


    • Jay said,

      January 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      I actually borrowed this idea from fellow bloggers Padfoot & Prongs (see blogroll) who have since seemingly, sadly fallen silent.

      I actually have a hidden, private page where I’m starting to collect stories for next year. Let me know if there is something you’d like me to read, and I’ll put it on the short list!


  5. Che said,

    January 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I read through your list of short stories for 2012. Those are some amazing authors you have lined up. Some of the stories I’ve read but most of them I haven’t.
    You should think of turning this into a challenge next year perhaps, so other blogs can join you. Project Deal me in would make for a great weekly event.


    • Jay said,

      January 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      I’ve thought about that, but didn’t know if it would be well received or not (as a weekly commitment). Last year I had “deuces wild” in each suit. Guess if I did do it as a challenge, the wild cards could require you to go to a fellow participant’s blog and choose one of their stories…. Ooh, I like that idea. Oh well, food for thought at the very least.


  6. January 18, 2012 at 2:40 am

    What a wonderfully well thought out project!


    • Jay said,

      January 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you Susan! I borrowed the idea from fellow bloggers, Padfoot & Prongs (still in my blogroll, but sadly quiescent of late)


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