Deal Me In – Week 26 Wrap Up – and Mid-Year Survey!


Well, we’ve made it to the halfway point, and if you’ve made it this far you know that you’ll be able to make it the rest of the way. 🙂

Below are links to new posts since the last update and also a survey about what you think of the challenge so far and of the stories you’ve read. Participation is optional, but I would enjoy reading some feedback. You can either participate via the comments or via a separate post on your own blog.

James found an easy connection between his stories this week, reading Ernest Hemingway’s “A Canary for One” and Charles de Lint’s “A Tangle of Green Men”

Dale read Truman Capote’s “A Diamond Guitar”

Katherine drew the mustache-less King of Hearts and read the Kevin J Anderson story “Technomagic” which included a nod to the great Arthur C. Clarke. Oh, and another card trick video as well 🙂


Pour moi, it was another new-to-me author as I read Eric Puchner’s strange story “Beautiful Monsters”

Mid-Year Survey:

1. Do you have a favorite story or author so far?

2. What is your major “discovery” from DMI this year? Either from the posts of fellow participants or from your own story roster – or both.

3. Would you participate in the challenge again in 2015?

4. Do you think a weekly wrap-up post is necessary? Would you prefer a monthly wrap-up?

5. Do you have any good ideas for suit “themes” to share for others who might try the challenge again?

6. Have you gotten much of a response from other readers of your blog (other than fellow DMI’ers I mean)?

7. Can you recommend any good resources (on line or otherwise) for those looking to populate their DMI roster?

8. Does DMI rate favorably in comparison with other book blogging challenges in which you’ve participated? Why or why not?

9. What is/are your favorite part/parts about The Deal Me In challenge?

10. Conversely, what do you NOT like about the challenge or what would you change about it?

11. Feel free to add any other general comments.

Thanks for participating!

My answers:
1. I have several. Two that really stood out are Leonid’s Andreev’s “Lazarus” and Katherine Vaz’s “Undressing the Vanity Dolls.” In general, the Russian Authors (“clubs”) that I’ve read have been my favorites.
2. Too many to mention. One that springs to mind immediately is Grace Paley, much lauded by James at JamesReadsBooks. I’ve also enjoyed learning and reading about some of the African Authors at Returning Reader’s blog.
3. Absolutely! 🙂
4. I think I’d prefer a monthly wrap-up (less work for me) or some kind of Linky widget-y thing (where participants would be responsible for linking in their posts), which I don’t think is available for my “free” version of WordPress. Any shared expertise on this possibility would be appreciated.
5. I’ve thought about a classic fairy tales suit a couple times but never did it, since I fear that would be committing too many of my choices to less “meaty” works. I’ve also thought about a “New Yorker Stories” suit since I’m a subscriber. Another idea is a suit dedicated to authors with a local connection; one of the unstated missions of Bibliophilopolis is to support writers in my area. My favorite idea is a suit of stories I learned about from my fellow DMI participants this year.
6. Most seem to think “That’s a great idea.” A few authors that I’ve communicated with really like it too. One even said she might use it for her students.
7. I’m a big fan of library book sales and used bookstores. I pick up a couple cheap anthologies a year at those. I have ample fodder to last the rest of my short story reading life I think. 🙂
8. I’ve basically only done “read-alongs” and in my “completely objective” opinion DMI is much more fun.
9. I love the randomness and “the hand of fate” participating in deciding when I read something. “Strange coincidences” seem to often occur. I also have loved seeing some of the unique playing cards others have pictured and how others have put their own stamp on the challenge, or have come up with their own variants. And Katherine’s sharing the videos of card tricks.
10. I wish I had specifically stated that participants aren’t necessarily “required” to write a post about every story they read. Being committed to a weekly post can begin to feel like a burden. The real goal should remain just reading 52 stories. The more you post about, the better, but you don’t have to post about every one. 🙂
11. I’ve really enjoyed Deal Me In’s becoming a shared experience the past couple years. Was it Oscar Wilde who said that “a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled?” – sounds like him but I’m not sure…

Mid-year trivia: can you name the movie that included the scene below? (It’s relevant to this week’s wrap-up…)



  1. Dale said,

    June 29, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Here’s my response to the survey!
    1. “The Piazza” by Herman Melville – followed closely by Ring Lardner’s “Haircut” and Jack London’s “Negore, The Coward”.
    2. There have been a lot of discoveries, but Jay’s Russian authors probably rank up there at the top.
    4. I like the weekly wrap-up posts, but can definitely understand that it could be quite an undertaking to keep up with. A monthly post would work also. Or weekly posts that could be scheduled in advance that simply would say “Hey it’s week ## of DMI, post a link to your story in the comments!” or something like that. Then readers could post their links instead of the leader (that would be you, Jay) having to keep track of everyone and provide the links.
    5. I haven’t really used suit themes but I’m thinking in terms of doing something historical in 2015. Each suit being a different time period.
    6. I’ve also gotten a few “That’s a great idea”s. Most of the comments I get on my stories are from fellow DMI-ers but there have been exceptions.
    7. Half-Price Books,,
    8. It’s easy to fit into my schedule. I can control when I read something. And I can get exposure to numerous authors. For many challenges and read-alongs, I don’t find out about them until I’ve already dived into something else – like say War and Peace or A Game of Thrones. DMI is the perfect challenge for me!
    9. I like the surprise and coincidence, also. And see above #8, too.
    10. Like I said, it’s the perfect challenge for me – and my schedule. Not sure I would change anything.


  2. July 5, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I’m probably going to start a second deck before the end of the year. I’ve loved this challenge. I can’t recall any great discoveries but I’ve enjoyed just about all of the stories I’ve read, except for the one by Hemingway.

    I think this is one of the best run challenges I’ve every participated in. The wrap-ups are excellent, but do them monthly if that works better for you.


  3. July 5, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    #9 – Ha! I don’t know what I’m going to do video-wise next year. I need to spend a lot more time on YouTube…

    #10 – I don’t think it ever occurred to me to not do a post every week. When I’ve tried to make a goal of a short story weekly in the past, I would never get around to posting about them, so I like the “obligation.”


  4. July 22, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Hi Jay, I’ve been MIA as you have no doubt noticed, and am now trying to get back on track.

    Here are my replies to the survey:

    Mid-Year Survey:
    1. A favorite story / author so far? – Two stand out: The Sniper by Liam O’Flaherty, and Mme Zitta Mendès, a Last Image, by Alaa Al Aswany. I bought a novel by Al Aswany based on my impression of his writing from this story.

    2. Your major “discovery” from DMI this year? – My first short story of the year was by Ursula K. LeGuin, and I discovered that not all fantasy/science fiction is bad!

    3. Participate in the challenge again in 2015? – At this stage, I’m just not sure. I would certainly participate again, but not necessarily as soon as next year. (Having said that, I already know what anthology I’d use as part of my 52 stories, so perhaps…)

    4. Do you think a weekly wrap-up post is necessary? Would you prefer a monthly wrap-up? – Whatever works for you! I’m happy either way.

    5. Ideas for suit “themes” to share for others who might try the challenge again? – I haven’t gone with themes at all, so I haven’t any suggestions.

    6. Response from other readers of your blog? – No, but my blog is really only for my own enjoyment and to help me deepen my reflection a bit. I’m not doing it for the same of interaction with others, unlike a lot of other bloggers.

    7. Resources? Two online are and

    8. Does DMI rate favorably in comparison with other book blogging challenges? – It compares very well, because you keep really on top of things and we all know what’s going on in all quarters! Some hosts just set up the challenge and don’t “re-appear” again until almost the end of the year. That’s fine too, I’m not complaining, but the level of your personal involvement and commitment is very encouraging. And sometimes kinda shaming – in the sense that it shames me into posting something when I’m feeling lazy 🙂

    9. Your favorite part/parts about DMI? – The randomness of the selection of what story to read next, and the fun way of doing it with cards.

    10. What do you NOT like / what would you change? – Sometimes I don’t like “having to” blog about my reading every week, but in fact that’s self-imposed and I know I probably wouldn’t read as well if I didn’t blog about every story. Not that my blogs are anything brilliant, but they do prevent me from merely skimming a story (so easy with some shorts) and calling it “reading”.

    11. Any other general comments – A big thank you to you, Jay!


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