Deal Me In Doubleheader: Weeks 32 & 33 – “Your Book: A Novel in Stories” by Cathy Day and “More Than the Game ” by Barbara Swander Miller

I’ve fallen behind pretty egregiously in Deal Me In, so I’m going to combine my week 32 & 33 selections in one post. Both selections were by Indiana authors so I’m also counting this as a “Reading Local” post. Now in its fifth year, Deal Me In is an annual short story reading challenge (explained here). My list of stories I’m reading this year, with links to those I’ve posted about, may be found here.

Unlike week 31’s selection, my week 32 story was a perfect fit for the Indy Writes Books anthology. The three of diamonds led me to the fascinating and delightful Cathy Day story, “Your Book: A Novel in Stories,” which traces a kind of life cycle of an author’s book and even the author herself.


Among other things, it follows the various ways that “the word gets out” about books (goodreads, word of mouth, seeing a friend or stranger reading a book you’ve heard of, etc.). In this regard, I know much of what’s in the story is true because I’ve witnessed it myself over the years. We readers often forget that we’re consuming a finished product that has undergone quite a history just to get to the point where it’s fallen into our hands. I think the following is a good representative passage from the story when dealing with this process:

“She loves the stories inside the books, yes, of course, but she also loves the stories outside the books, which is the story of how a book travels from the author’s imagination into the reader’s imagination. To do so, it must travel a vast maze called commerce, and your editor has devoted her adult life to understanding that maze, which is why she lives inside it and inside this office, even when she isn’t physically there.” 

 
Three of diamonds image from http://eprints.utas.edu.au/6843/

For my week 33 story, via the ten of hearts, I returned to the “Hoosier Hoops and Hijinks” anthology, tackling Barbara Swander Miller’s “More than the Game,” a story that is a mystery not in the whodunit sense, but rather a young man’s exploring why there was such a rift between his father and recently deceased grandfather, who was a standout basketball star for the local “Red Rollers” basketball team. Young Tim is just beginning to become interested in basketball and has begun to regularly participate in a local pickup game with other youths – a scene repeated countless times all over my state and one in which I participated in myself when I was young. Tim also experiences – or hallucinates? – a couple spectral encounters with his grandfather and old teammates that lead him to discover his grandfather has bequeathed “a box” to Tim, that his dad doesn’t want him to have…


I was a little surprised at how different this story was from the others I’ve read in this anthology (two of which are part of my 2015 deal Me In roster, one of which (“Fallen Idols”) I’ve already posted about.

What short stories have you read recently? Have you ever tried a “reading local” focus to your reading plans?

2 Comments

  1. Dale said,

    August 17, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    The basketball story sounds awesome! I’m planning a Kentucky-related stories/authors for one of my suits in 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      August 18, 2015 at 7:27 am

      I think one guy I’ve read this heat, Jason Sizemore, is based in Kentucky now. His collection, “Irredeemable” has been good so far.

      Like


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