“It’s The Most Wonderful Day of the Year!” – Announcing the 7th Annual “DEAL ME IN” short story reading challenge.

It’s December 21st, the SHORTest day of the year. What better date to take the plunge and sign up for a short story challenge? So, without further ado…

Welcome to the Short Story Reading Challenge, “Deal Me In 2017!”

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(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)

Since I was a child, I’ve always loved a good story. I believed stories helped us to ennoble ourselves, to fix what was broken in us, and to help us become the people we dreamed of being. Lies… that told a deeper truth.”

                           -Anthony Hopkins (portraying Dr. Robert Ford) in Westworld, season 1, episode 10.

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Yes, I know you’re being bombarded with posts about all sorts of reading challenges for the new year, and they all sound like a lot of fun. But here’s a unique challenge where your reading burden is relatively light AND where you still can experience a lot of different authors and genres.

What is the goal of the challenge?

To read 52 short stories in 2017 (that’s only one per week – versions with a lesser story requirement are noted below)

What do I need?

1) Access to at least fifty-two short stories (don’t own any short story collections or anthologies? See links to online resources below)
2) A deck of cards
3) An average of perhaps just thirty minutes of reading time each week

Where do I post* about my stories?

(*You don’t have to post about every single story, of course, – or even ANY story – but if you have something to say about the story you read any given week, your fellow participants would love to hear it.)

1) On your own blog or website if you have one (I will link to your post at the bottom of my weekly post. I currently plan to do my weekly post on Sundays)

2) if you don’t have a blog or website you may comment on any of my Deal Me In posts, sharing thoughts on your own story – or start one at WordPress or blogspot – it’s easy and free to create a basic blog.

How do I pick which stories to read?

(The 52 stories themselves are totally up to you.) 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. It can be fun to use different suits for different types of stories, but that is optional. I’ve often included one wild card for each suit too, so I can maybe read a story I’ve heard about during the year, or read another by an author I’ve discovered through this challenge. 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. There are links to many of last year’s participants’ rosters in the comments to last year’s sign-up if you want to see some examples. I’ll be posting my own 2017 roster soon. My twists this year? I’m actually including 13 essays this time around (inspired by “o” at the Behold the Stars blog) One of my suits will be stories by authors who the streets in the neighborhood I grew up in are named after (Irving, Hawthorne, Wallace, etc.)  I think my other three suits will be loosely based on the three fates (Moirae) from Greek Mythology who, we are told in Plato’s “Republic” sing of “things that were, things that are, and things that will be.”  Not sure how I’m going to manage that, but I have a few days left.

What if I don’t have time to read a story every single week?

You don’t have to read your stories on a regular schedule (I almost always fall behind at least once during the year) and can catch up once a month if your prefer – OR try one of the challenge variations noted below, the Fortnight (or “payday” if you prefer) version is one story every two weeks or the “Full Moon Fever” version with just thirteen stories read or selected on seeing each full moon…

How do I sign up?

Leave a comment below with your URL and I will link you on my home page, where I’ll eventually have a section in my sidebar for “2017 Deal Me In Participants.” This year, I think I’ll try to go back to a weekly wrap-up post, linking to other Deal Me In participants’ posts I’ve seen recently too.  Late sign-ups are allowed and encouraged too.

What is the purpose?

To have FUN and to be exposed to new authors and stories and maybe get in the habit of reading a short story a week. Isn’t that enough? 🙂

Some short story resources:

Links:
Classic Horror Stories:
AmericanLiterature.com short story of the day
EastoftheWeb’s short story of the day:
The Library of America’s short story of the week archive:

Free online novels.com has a wide selection; or check here for a few more. Heck just google “free short stories on line” and you’ll have enough to last a lifetime of Deal Me In Challenges!  Check out The New Yorker too. Last I checked you could access a limited number of their published stories per month. If your local library is like mine, they’ll likely have a good collection of annual O’Henry Prize-winning volumes, or the yearly Best American Short Stories anthologies.
Looking for some really short stories? Try here

Deal Me In Variations:

The Deal Me In “Fortnight Version” – just use two suits from your deck and assign a story to each card, drawing a card every two weeks. If you get paid bi-weekly, you can use that as a reminder to draw a new card (I guess this makes the fortnight variation a.k.a. The “payday version.” 🙂

The Deal Me In “Euchre Deck Version”If you work for “one of those companies” where you only get paid twice a month on the 15th and 30th, e.g., use a euchre deck!  Note: I’ve experimented with an accelerated euchre deck version for a couple readathons, especially the 24 in 48 readathon, where, instead of trying to read 24 hours out of 48, I try to read 24 short stories in 48 hours. Also pretty challenging.

The Deal Me In “Full Moon Fever Version” – this would be the baby steps way to ease into the Deal Me In routine, basically reading just one story a month (who doesn’t have time for that?). Just use one suit or face cards only and you’re set. Seeing the full moon in the sky can also serve as a reminder – “hey, I need to read my next short story!” We only have twelve full moons in 2017, so maybe you can have a ‘discretionary read’ sometime during the year where you draw a thirteenth card.

You can try the using the new moons, as well, or BOTH new and full moons. In the past, we’ve had a couple Deal Me In’ers have a full moon add-on in addition to their 52 stories.

Other participants in the past have added their own wrinkles: Reading a story a week for only half the year, reading two at a time and trying to find a “connection” between them, reading essays, plays, poems, or famous speeches… Feel free to twist, spindle or mutilate this challenge any way you see fit to suit your own plans – the only element that should probably remain is the use of playing cards to determine your reading order.

Giveaways! I’m working on a system to actually do a few giveaways this year. Maybe one a quarter. Nothing extravagant, just maybe a B&N or Amazon gift card or something. Winners will be determined somehow by luck of the draw (naturally!) I’ll try to have that figured out and announced with my first wrap-up post of 2017.

So, how about it?  Are you UP for a challenge? If so, Deal Me In 7.0 might just be for you!  Shall we “Deal YOU in?” 🙂

Last of all, please help spread the word about Deal Me In. It’s been so much more fun the past few years with others playing along. Bloggers from all over the world have participated – from Great Britain to Ghana and from Tempe to Tasmania! 🙂 I haven’t been counting, but I know we’re well over the “1,000 stories read” mark by challenge participants – something I’m a little proud of. 🙂

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86 Comments

  1. DebraB said,

    December 21, 2016 at 10:31 am

    I love this challenge! i signed up a couple of years ago, but did not follow through. I don’t want to make false promises again. I would like to read and blog about more short stories, though. 🙂

    Like

    • Jay said,

      December 21, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Hi Debra!
      We always have a significant attrition rate as it is hard to keep it – or anything! – going all year long. Before it even became an on-line challenge, reading a short story a week was just my personal way of trying to keep a reading “pulse” going no matter how busy my life got. Now it’s become a real pleasure.
      -Jay
      P.S. You could always sign on for one of the “lighter” variations… 😉

      Like

  2. December 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    I’m in! Been looking forward to it since October. 😉
    https://katenread.wordpress.com/deal-me-in/deal-me-in-2017/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 21, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      I knew I could count on you. 🙂 I checked out your list and I think there is only one (ONE!) story there I have read before. And just a handful of authors I’ve read before as well. Highlights another advantage of the DMI challenge. We can divide and conquer and learn about more authors & stories than if we were all doing this solo.

      I look forward to following your reading in the new year!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. December 22, 2016 at 5:36 am

    As you know, I’m in! Looking forward to it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 22, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      I’m so glad you’ll be joining us again!

      Like

  4. Bev Hankins said,

    December 22, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I’m ready to be dealt in this year. Here’s my Sign-Up Post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. December 22, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    […] All the information can be found at  Bibliophilopolis […]

    Like

  6. N@ncy said,

    December 22, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    First time participant….
    Here is my sign-up post:
    https://ipsofactodotme.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/deal-me-in-challenge-2017/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      Welcome, N@ncy! Hope you enjoy the challenge!

      Like

  7. Dale said,

    December 22, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    I’m in! Can’t wait to start! Here is my list:
    https://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/short-stories-deal-me-in/2017-2/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      Glad to have you back for another year, Dale!

      Like

    • Jay said,

      December 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Oh, and I just read Ron Rash’s “Into the Gorge” from your list last week. My Rathskeller book club is reading his story collectin Something Strange and New, of which it is a part. Lot of good stories in that book.

      Like

      • Dale said,

        December 24, 2016 at 2:31 pm

        I’m looking forward to reading that story! We both have Hawthorne’s “The Snow Image” on our 2017 list. I’m looking forward to reading that one, too.

        Like

  8. December 22, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    […] Deal me In Short Stories Reading Challenge. Read 52 short stories in 2017 […]

    Like

  9. Gubbinal said,

    December 23, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I am a first-time participant and am looking forward to this very much. My list can be found here;

    https://wordpress.com/post/gubbinal.com/772

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 24, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Welcome, Gubbinal! It’s great to have you with us this year!

      Like

  10. December 24, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    […] Deal Me In Short Story Reading Challenge hosted by Bibliophilopolis (52 short stories matched to a deck of cards) […]

    Like

  11. December 25, 2016 at 1:13 am

    […] in the short stories written with tremendous skill, encourages me, after careful thought, to join Deal Me In 2017: Short Story Reading Challenge created and hosted by Jay of Bibliophilopolis. It is the sort of challenge that reinforces my […]

    Like

  12. Nancy said,

    December 25, 2016 at 1:17 am

    I’m a new participant as well. Here’s my sign-up post: https://aidetoseshat.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/reading-52-short-stories-in-2017/

    Like

  13. Brona said,

    December 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    I will give the euchre variation a shot during 2017 – http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/2017-plans-and-projects.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 26, 2016 at 10:01 am

      So glad you’ll be joining us, Brona! And I’ve already learned something from you – that euchre is played with a 32-card deck in Australia. I hope you enjoy the challenge as much as I do.
      -Jay

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Anna said,

    December 27, 2016 at 8:06 am

    This sounds wonderful! I will most likely be a quiet lurker. I’m planning on starting with the Fortnight Version. But reading a story every Sunday could also be a possibility (short story sundays). I’m very excited.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 27, 2016 at 8:15 am

      When I first started doing this, drawing a card on Saturday mornings was something I looked forward to every week. It can quickly become a routine that’s relatively easy to keep up with. Good luck with the challenge. If you post a list of the stories you’ll be reading, share the link in a comment to this post and I will add you to the sidebar.

      Like

  15. Risa said,

    December 28, 2016 at 2:31 am

    I’ve finally got together a list I want to work with through 2017! However, I have chosen only essays this time. Here’s my link: https://risathenextchapter.blogspot.in/2016/12/deal-me-in-2017-in-which-i-will-be.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 28, 2016 at 9:25 am

      Glad to have you joining us, Risa! Looks like 2017 is maybe going to be “The Year of the Essay” at Deal Me In. So many participants have included them – or are reading them exclusively – this time around. Good luck, and enjoy the challenge!

      Like

  16. Melissa Robinson said,

    December 28, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Oh I love this one! I’ll have to work on my list tomorrow http://mommawantsherbooks.blogspot.com/2016/12/2017-deal-me-in-short-stories-reading.html

    Like

    • Melissa Robinson said,

      December 29, 2016 at 12:15 am

      Ok took less time than i was expecting. I got my list all done. Some on there I have read but not in a very very long time. Most are brand new to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jay said,

        December 29, 2016 at 10:48 am

        I checked out your list and it is the favorite one I’ve seen so far. I’ve actually read a lot of those stories and many are among my personal favs. You have a fun year of short story reading ahead of you. 🙂

        Like

        • Melissa Robinson said,

          December 29, 2016 at 2:12 pm

          Thanks! I read a number of them in college and high school but figure it has been long enough that I should reread them again. I’m really looking forward to reading all of these and checking out what others are reading

          Liked by 1 person

        • Jay said,

          December 29, 2016 at 2:17 pm

          FYI – I just finished adding a new link category to my sidebar with individual links to everyone who’s signed up so far’s story lists. 689 stories/essays/etc. so far and growing. 🙂

          Like

  17. nsenger said,

    December 29, 2016 at 12:04 am

    This looks like a great reading challenge! Thanks for organizing it. I’ve got my list of stories ready, mostly from Alfred Hitchcock anthologies. Here’s the url to my reading challenge page, which includes my Deal Me In List: http://www.nicksenger.com/onecatholiclife/2017-reading-challenges

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 29, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Great to have you with us, Nick! I checked out your list and see a few of my favorites & I’m glad to see you’re reading a bunch of M.R. James stories. (His “The Ash Tree” is in my unofficial short story hall of fame). Good luck with the challenge! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
      -Jay

      Like

  18. December 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    […] last few years I’ve watched other bloggers make and post lists for a challenge hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis–52 short items (frequently short stories, but often also including poems, essay, or plays), […]

    Like

  19. amanda said,

    December 29, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Well, it looks like my blog post already linked itself above, but I wanted to stop by and say, after years of thinking about it, I’m finally committing! I’m hoping it’s just the poke I need to finally read some short stories and poems that keep sitting on my shelves taunting me. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 29, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      No worries. 🙂 I’m glad you decided to give it a try. Remember you don’t have to post about every story you read, the main part of the challenge is the READING part. 🙂 Happy to have you with us and good luck with the challenge!
      -Jay

      Like

  20. hkatz said,

    December 30, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Jay, I plan to participate this year, but with short nonfiction (I just don’t read short stories like Deal Me In would require). Thanks for hosting this challenge. And Happy New Year 🙂

    https://thesilloftheworld.blogspot.com/2016/12/deal-me-in-2017-short-nonfiction-version.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 30, 2016 at 8:35 am

      So happy you’re joining in! I’ve enjoyed your blog for “many years” now and look forward to hearing about the essays you read. I included some in my roster this year too, from the Joyce Carol Oates “Best American Essays of th Century” anthology. As of now, they are some of my cards that I’m most looking forward to turning up. Good luck, and happy New Year to you as well.
      -Jay

      Like

  21. December 30, 2016 at 2:33 am

    I’m giving it another try again! Here’s my sign-up post: http://cleoclassical.blogspot.ca/2016/12/deal-me-in-challenge-2017.html Thanks again, Jay, for hosting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 30, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Hi Cleo,
      I’m glad your participating again. There are so many quality titles on your list & I look forward to hearing about them. Thanks also for your support of Deal Me In in comments I’ve seen of yours elsewhere. 🙂
      -Jay

      Like

  22. MaryR said,

    December 31, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I saw this challenge on Brona’s Books and was inspired. I don’t read a lot of short stories/essays but would like to. Here is my sign up post:
    http://bibliographicmanifestations.blogspot.com/2016/12/deal-me-in.html
    Looking forward to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 3, 2017 at 8:09 am

      Happy to have you join us this year, Mary! I didn’t always read a lot of short stories either but began trying to read just one a week at a time in my life when I was so busy I didn’t have much time to read at all. It was that routine that kept my reading “pulse” going at that time and then later grew into a Deal Me In. I hope you enjoy the challenge as much as I do. Happy reading!
      -Jay

      Like

  23. January 2, 2017 at 11:11 am

    […] Deal Me In Short Story Reading Challenge @ Bibliophilopolis – Read 52 short stories. The challenge has a fun playing card twist to it. […]

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 2, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      Glad you’ll be joining us this year, Kai! If/when you post your list of stories, be sure to share a link here in the comments and I’ll add you to the sidebar links. Good luck with the challenge!

      -Jay

      Like

  24. Gubbinal said,

    January 2, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    https://gubbinal.com/2017/01/02/deal-me-in-katherine-mansfield-the-stranger/

    I just wanted you to know that I am off and running!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Martha G said,

    January 2, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! I want to play! Deal me in!
    Here is my roster http://marista.blogspot.com/2017/01/deal-me-in-2017.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 3, 2017 at 8:10 am

      Welcome, Martha! happyyou are joining us for Deal Me In 2017! I will comment on your roster at your blog. Good luck with the challenge! -Jay

      Like

  26. LadyInRead said,

    January 3, 2017 at 1:29 am

    This sounds like so much fun and I love short stories so I am playing! I will be posting my roster in the next couple of days but deal me in. Here is my initial sign up post.
    http://myrandrspace.blogspot.com/2017/01/2017-reading-challenges.html

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Bellezza said,

    January 3, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    I will try again this year. I haven’t been too successful with my reading in 2016, and your challenge has always intrigued me. Surely I can match a suit to a type of story I wish to read, such as Hearts for Japanese stories, Diamonds for Biblical stories, etc. Thank you for hosting. Thank you for being flexible and patient.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 4, 2017 at 6:18 am

      Hooray! 🙂 Let me know if you end up posting a list of your stories on your blog, and I will link to it in my side bar. Good luck with the challenge!

      Like

  28. Bev Hankins said,

    January 4, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Jay–I just posted my first one! So much fun. Is it next week yet? Is it time to draw another card? 🙂

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 6, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Great to have you with us, Adam! Good luck with the challenge!

      Like

  29. Martha G said,

    January 6, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    If anyone is still looking for stories, here is a nice list on Longreads: 10 Outstanding Short Stories To Read in 2017 https://longreads.com/2017/01/02/10-outstanding-short-stories-to-read-in-2017/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 6, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks, Martha! Always good to have a story ready if I draw a wild card too.
      -Jay

      Like

  30. Jason said,

    January 7, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Sorry I’m late! Here is my list: http://literaturefrenzy.blogspot.ca/2017/01/deal-me-in-challenge-2017-edition.html

    Thanks again for hosting, Jay!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

      No worries! Late joining is allowed – and encouraged. Good to have you with us again. I’m off to check out your list in a moment. -Jay

      Like

  31. Gubbinal said,

    January 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    https://gubbinal.com/2017/01/08/deal-me-in-2017-challenge-week-2/

    I just posted my second week story. I am so enjoying this challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 9, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Thanks for sharing! I left a comment on your post. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the challenge so far. 🙂

      Like

  32. abookdragon said,

    January 18, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    This looks like a lot of fun but I’ve already got a stressful year going on so I’m going to add this to next year’s list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 19, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks for the comment – & I look forward to hearing from you again for “Deal Me In 8” in 2017 🙂
      -Jay

      Like

  33. Randall said,

    January 19, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Hi Jay, long time no read. 🙂 My “Time Enough At Last” blog has been pretty silent for more than a year now, but with the turn of the calendar I suddenly found myself thinking about Deal Me In again. I’d like to join back in this year — so look for my list very soon!

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 20, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Randall! Great to hear from you! I’ve often thought “I wonder whatever happened to Randall…” but am now glad to see the time has come for you to read again. 🙂 I will look forward to seeing your DMI2017 list!

      Like

  34. January 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    […] Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis What’s Deal Me In? […]

    Like

  35. January 29, 2017 at 1:10 am

    […] blog-land, reading blogs that are part of the Ultimate blog challenge, I learned about the “Deal Me In” short story reading challenge. […]

    Like

  36. Katie said,

    February 3, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    I saw someone else post about this challenge yesterday, and realized I have been missing out! I know I’m a month late, but I made my list, and I’m hoping I can catch up quickly. http://www.readathomemom.com/p/deal-me-in-short.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      February 3, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      Welcome, Katie! It’s never too late to join the Deal Me In challenge, and catching up is (relatively) easy. Off to check out your list now. 🙂

      Like

  37. Sharon Sprigg said,

    March 4, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    I will start out with the smaller competition to start. The full moon vision.
    Sounds like fun. Don’t want to promise more than I can accomplice. I think it is a lovely idea. Good luck and good reading everyone. Better go start my list of 12. For a short story how many pages approx. for each story. Also, would love to find 12 wonderful English Mysteries. Any suggestions? I adore Sherlock and Agatha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      March 5, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      I’ve read most of Holmes’ stories over the years. Maybe The Five Orange Pips? I like Christie’s The Red Signal. Dorothy Sayers is another author whose mysteries I’ve enjoyed. I haven’t read them yet, but Asimov also had a series of mystery stories that are quite popular. Good luck with the challenge!

      Like

  38. Sharon Sprigg said,

    March 6, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Deal me in for the once a month challenge. I will ready mysteries. So need to make a list. Love English Mysteries. Sherlock, Christie. Any suggestions for my twelve.

    Like

  39. kids storys said,

    March 13, 2017 at 8:27 am

    I’ve taken the challenge.. i don’t care if i addicted to read stories !! bcoz stories keeps us healthy minded, i think

    Liked by 1 person

  40. March 16, 2017 at 10:26 am

    […] have a lot of time? Try a short story challenge or month-long vintage sci-fi […]

    Like

  41. Kinna said,

    March 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I’m in. I couldn’t finish last year’s. Hoping for the best this year.

    Liked by 1 person


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