It’s the Most Wonderful Day of the Year! Join Me for the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Deal Me In Challenge!

The Deal Me In Challenge is BACK!!  (And so am I! – at least I hope to be a more active blogger in the new year!)

Everyone gets busy with Real World responsibilities, and sometimes it is hard to find enough time to make room for a healthy amount of reading. The number of books I’ve read per year has been steadily decreasing the past few years and hit a new low in 2019 when travel, other responsibilities and interests continued to carve out more and more of my available time. Not to mention that the “Deal Me In Office Headquarters” (i.e., my residence) was rendered uninhabitable by a tornado(!) halfway through the year. I’m set up and settled down a little again now in downtown Indianapolis and am planning on a big new year for the blog AND for the Deal Me In Challenge.

When I started blogging, it only took me a year ( 🙂 ) to invent the Deal Me In Challenge (I actually got the idea from (I think retired – does anyone know what became of them or what they moved on to? I’d love to know.) bloggers Padfoot and Prongs who were doing a similar project only with books. Short stories are obviously much less of a reading burden (anyone can finish ONE short story a week, right?) so I did a test (solo) run of the DMI Challenge in 2011. In 2012 a couple more bloggers joined in and the number of participants just kept growing. I’m very proud in the knowledge that literally THOUSANDS of short stories have been read ALL OVER THE WORLD as a result of this challenge. So… I guess all that’s left to ask is….

Will YOU become part of this great tradition in 2020?  The rules of the challenge are not difficult:


Deal Me In logo above designed by Mannomoi at follow her on Twitter at

What is the goal of the challenge?

To read 52 short stories in 2020 (that’s only one per week – versions with a lesser story requirement are noted below)

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?

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 as little as 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 must say the challenge was indeed created with bloggers in mind, but non-bloggers – or anyone really – can benefit by challenging themselves to read just one story a week.

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. Better yet, you can tweet about short stories you read using the hashtag #DealMeIn2020. In fact, I encourage everyone who does blog about the stories they read to use the hashtag (which I will link to in my sidebar in 2020) when you publish a post. Fellow DMI’ers can find them more easily and, hopefully, retweet them too.

How do I pick which stories to read?

The 52 stories themselves are totally up to you. Before you get started 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 participants lists in prior years’ sign up posts (links below) if you want to see some examples. I’ve just about finalized my reading roster and will link to it here when completed.

The Deal Me In Challenge Through the Years…











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 hope to eventually have a section in my sidebar for “2020 Deal Me In Participants.” I hope to occasionally publish some kind of wrap-up post, linking to other Deal Me In participants’ posts I’ve seen recently, or just giving an update on how things are going.

Late sign-ups (we always get a few) are allowed and encouraged too. If you can, I’d love you to add where in the world you’re blogging from and where or how you heard about the Deal Me In! challenge.

Some short story resources:

Classic Horror Stories: 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 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, I often visit this section of my library and “knock out” out a couple stories on lazy afternoons. Looking for some really short stories? Try here If you have recommendations for other free sources of short stories, feel free to share in the comments.

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.”) You could also use a euchre deck and include the two jokers to make up your Fortnight Version deck.

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!” 🙂

Not sure when the full moons occur? Not surprisingly, that information is available in many places on line, one of which is HERE.

You could also try 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.

So, how about it?  Are you UP for a challenge? If so, Deal Me In 10.0 might just be for you!  Shall we “Deal YOU in?”



  1. marianallen said,

    December 23, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Deal me in! I stopped posting about the stories somewhere in there, but I’m up for reading 52 short stories in the year! My site is Marian Allen, Author Lady

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 23, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      Hooray! Glad you’re in again, Marian!


    • Jay said,

      December 23, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      I made up my list several days ago, but realized when I was posting that it’s sitting at home. I’ll have twelve books/anthologies each providing 4 stories and then 4 wild cards as usual.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. nsenger said,

    December 29, 2019 at 1:16 am

    I’m back for my 4th year! I had to have a mini short story marathon to finish this year’s stories, but I think with better story selections I will be more motivated to stay on track in 2020. Thanks again for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 29, 2019 at 9:33 am

      Hooray! Glad you’ll be joining in again. My friend irl Jennifer is going to try your War and Peace read along, tempting me even further. I already own an e-copy of it so I should give it a go….

      Liked by 1 person

      • nsenger said,

        December 29, 2019 at 10:48 am

        Yes, it would be great to have you join! Like Deal Me In, it’s pretty easy to catch up if you get behind.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Bev Hankins said,

    December 30, 2019 at 12:12 am

    I’m back after sitting out last year Mostly reading mysteries–but added one suit of Science Fiction just to mix it up a bit:


    • Jay said,

      December 30, 2019 at 11:35 am

      Hi Bev! Wonderful to have you back! I’ll take a list at your list of stories shortly (can’t get to blogspot from my work computer 😦 )


      • Bev Hankins said,

        January 10, 2020 at 12:21 pm

        Got my first story review up!


  4. Karen said,

    December 31, 2019 at 1:10 am

    I just found out about this challenge this evening from Cleo’s post at Classical Carousel. I think I will join in! Just a couple of days ago I bought a nice hardback collection of American short stories that was on sale. I was planning on trying to read through it this year. So this book is perfect for this challenge! It has 50 stories so I’ll need to read two additional stories. I think this will be fun!
    I blog at


    • Jay said,

      December 31, 2019 at 10:04 am

      Thanks for joining in, Karen, and welcome! Is the collection you bought the one edited by Joyce Carol Oates? I have that one and worked my way through it over the years of deal me in. I look forward to seeing your list of stories. Happy reading!
      P.S. Also glad to learn through you that Cleo is participating again. She always comes up with a good roster of stories/shorter works to read.


      • Karen said,

        December 31, 2019 at 12:39 pm

        Jay, the collection book I have is put out by Fall River Press. I am going to be working on my blog post for the challenge today and I’ll be including a picture of the book in it. So you will be able to see the cover of it. I hope to have my post up on my blog either tonight or some time tomorrow. 🙂


        • Jay said,

          December 31, 2019 at 1:26 pm

          No pressure on the timing of that post (or any Deal Me In posts, really – we’re quite a low-key community at DMI) 🙂


  5. hkatz said,

    December 31, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Alright, it’s official, I signed up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      December 31, 2019 at 1:23 pm

      Hooray! Off to check out your post now! Glad to have, and Happy New Year!


  6. December 31, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    I’m in but let’s not talk about last year, okay? 😉


  7. Beth @ Beth's Bookish Thoughts said,

    January 2, 2020 at 2:55 am

    I’m in!


  8. Priya Prakash said,

    January 2, 2020 at 4:03 am

    I want to try this!


    • Jay said,

      January 2, 2020 at 10:06 am

      Take the plunge! (“Late Joining” is allowed and encourage!) 🙂


  9. January 2, 2020 at 4:27 am

    I want to try this!


  10. January 2, 2020 at 4:48 am

    I would love to do this!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bellezza said,

    January 2, 2020 at 10:28 am

    Deal me in for the Full Moon Fever version, Jay! What a great idea and name. Off to prepare my list.


    • Jay said,

      January 2, 2020 at 10:45 am

      Hooray! Looking forward to see what stories make your cut. 🙂 Seeing the full moon in the sky is a great “universal” reminder that “Hey, it’s time to read another short story for Deal Me In!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Bellezza said,

    January 2, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Here’s the link, Jay: Thank you for broadening my horizons.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nancy said,

    January 3, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Hello, Jay. Happy New Year! 🙂 Here’s the link to mine:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 7, 2020 at 11:19 am

      Hi Nancy! I apologize for not responding already, but somehow I missed this comment when it first popped up. I’m off to look at your blog now. 🙂


  14. Michelle said,

    January 3, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    Came here after reading about it on Bellezza’s blog. Love this idea, and I almost can’t believe (although I can) that I only found out about this in its tenth year!

    A very long time ago, I had started something I called “Short Story Saturdays”, where I had planned to read one short story every Saturday and post about it. It happened for a while, then dwindled off. This is as good a time as any to get it started again! So, deal me in!

    PS. I’m from Malaysia =)


  15. January 4, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    Jay, joining in the fun and trying once more;


    • Jay said,

      January 4, 2020 at 9:07 pm

      Hooray! Good to see you again, LadyInRead! Happy reading and good luck!


  16. January 5, 2020 at 8:01 am

    I blame the LadyInRead for bringing me here. I’d like to sign up.


    • Jay said,

      January 5, 2020 at 10:23 am

      You always have to watch out for The LadyInRead. 😉 Welcome to the challenge! Happy you’re joining in!


  17. January 5, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Deal me in! I recently started reading a short story a day. I’m signing up for the Full Moon Fever version and will start reading a collection of short stories every full moon. Here is my list:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 5, 2020 at 10:00 am

      Welcome, Anusha! Glad to have you joining in the challenge this year! Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Rebecca said,

    January 6, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Jay! I love the idea of a challenge focused on more short stories – deal me in 🙂


    • Jay said,

      January 6, 2020 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Rebecca! Welcome to Deal Me In! Off to check out your post now.


  19. Jason C. said,

    January 16, 2020 at 6:15 am

    Thank you Jay for hosting my favorite reading challenge! I’m so excited to be back and start reading short stories again.


    • Jay said,

      January 16, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Jason! Great to hear from you and, as Victor Lazlo says in Casablanca, “Welcome back to the fight.”


  20. January 17, 2020 at 7:02 am

    […] I read this story for Week 3 of my Deal Me In 2020 short story project when I selected the Seven of Diamonds. It’s included in Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories edited by Morris Allen Grubbs. Check out my Deal Me In 2020 list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  21. January 17, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    […] am happy to join the Deal Me In Short Story Reading Challenge this year.  I’ll make Fridays my short story posting day. I […]

    Liked by 1 person

  22. mnmona91 said,

    January 17, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    I love to join you this year. I tried last year and the year before but I failed to keep up with the reading and posting.
    anyway I want to try this year.
    this is my list and my post about it.


  23. Keely - said,

    January 17, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    I’m in:

    Liked by 1 person

  24. January 19, 2020 at 3:00 am

    […] I read this beautiful, melancholic short story (first published in 1926) for free by downloading it from Internet Archive, which proves to be a wonderful resource for borrowing literature. It is perfect for the Japanese Literature Challenge 13, and the first short story I’ve read for the Deal Me In Challenge. […]

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: