Deal Me In – Week 33 Wrap Up

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THIS WEEK’S DEAL ME IN POSTS:

Following are links to our group’s postings this week:

James reads Raymond Chandler’s “Trouble is My Business” and George Orwell’s essay “Marrakech” his post is at http://jamesreadsbooks.com/2014/08/13/george-orwell-vs-raymond-chandler-2/

Dale shares with us a lesser know story from the creator of Walter Mitty, posting about James Thurber’s “University Days” http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/james-thurber-university-days/

Randall’s finally heads south, posting about Carson McCullers’ “Sucker” http://timeenuf.blogspot.com/2014/08/sucker-by-carson-mccullers.html

Katherine visits The Barnum Museum once more, sharing the penultimate remaining Steven Millhauser story in her deck, “Alice, Fallinghttp://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/deal-me-in-week-33-alice-falling/

I wrote about two stories, “Class of 1990″ by Rebecca Emin and “The Bell in the Fog” by Gertrude Atherton. I’m going to stop linking to my own posts since you can “just scroll down” and you’re already at my blog. 🙂

My use of the word “penultimate” above reminded me of one of my favorite cartoons, that I think first appeared in The New Yorker. Any excuse to share…

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IN OTHER SHORT STORY NEWS:

George R.R. Martin a short story writer? http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/game-of-thrones-author-george-rr-martin-reveals-hes-tempted-to-publish-neverbeforeseen-writing-9674262.html

Though not a Deal Me In post, regular DMI contributor James’s following entry is certainly worth a look: http://jamesreadsbooks.com/2014/08/15/a-short-story-review-anthology-hemingway-williams-babel-alexie-cunningham-paley-murakami-kinsella/

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe (now 25) stars in the series “A Young Doctor’s Notebook” – an adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s short stories http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/television/gail-pennington/daniel-radcliffe-wizard-poet-doctor-actor/article_cd739684-53b3-5a52-b2d0-8eb2a895152a.html

P.S. I’ll be off-line almost all of next weekend (Indianapolis Open Chess Tournament – Nerd Alert!) so my week 34 wrap up post will certainly be delayed. 🙂

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May Reading – The Month Ahead

I used to post fairly regularly near the start of a month about what was on deck for my reading but have kind of fallen out of the habit in recent months (years?). BUT, I was sitting here this morning thinking about my May plans (reading and otherwise) and thought I’d jot down what’s on my reading docket…

Books:
“The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science” by Will Storr
I actually just passed the halfway point in this book. It’s been fascinating reading thus far, especially the more “sciencey” sections discussing how the brain often conspires to delude us in our thinking. Storr, a journalist, seems to earnestly attempt to understand the thinking of a wide range of belief systems that fly in the face of facts and traditional evidence. Storr asks himself the question, “Why don’t facts work?” and the answers are unsettling thus far.

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2. “Northanger Abbey” by Jane Austen and “Northanger Abbey” by Val McDermid

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A friend just completed reading my copy of Jane Austen’s classic about the same time I heard of this new treatment of the story. I thought it might make for good blogging to read both and write about them in comparison. Oh, and it would be a good excuse to read some Austen for the first time in many years too. 🙂 This feels a little ambitious to read both, and I’m not sure I’ll find the time, but my instincts tell me it might be fun. We’ll see.

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3. “If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? – Advice for the Young” by Kurt Vonnegut
This book is a collection of graduation speeches by the late author, and it is the May selection for the book clubl at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library here in town. It includes an introduction by author (and friend of Vonnegut) Dan Wakefield, who is scheduled to join us at our meeting. Can’t wait to read this one.

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4. “Scapegoat of Shiloh: the Distortion of Lew Wallace’s record by U.S. Grant” by Kevin Getchell
I went to a lecture by the author a couple weeks ago. As a fan of Lew Wallace, I am interested in reading this.

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(above: two new purchases in April – see? I don’t only buy e-books, so get off my case!)

Reviewing books I’ve previously read:
A couple book clubs I (irregularly) participate in are discussing books that I’ve already read. Twice. The Carmel Clay Public Library is discussing Booth Tarkington’s “The Magnificent Ambersons” (set in Indianapolis) next week, and the relatively new book group at Indy Reads Books book store is discussing Carson McCullers’ “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” toward the end of the month. I won’t read these a third time, but I will certainly review them and revisit my “incisive underlinings” (ha ha) in my copies.

There’s also a new edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Welcome to the Monkey House” short story collection that I picked up at a book signing by author Gregory Summner, whose non-fiction work, “Unstuck in Time” has become a reliable reference work for me when dealing with Vonnegut’s novels. This new edition has some background info on how many of the stories came about, which I look forward to reading.

Other items:
Of course I’ll continue reading a short story a week for Deal Me In 2014, but fate determines which stories those will be. I have a strong roster, though, so I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

I want to get refocused on increasing my vocabulary. For several months starting back in October, I was creating monthly “bundles” or sets of flashcards on my iPad and reviewing them fairly frequently. Yeah, that only lasted through January, though. Seems my laziness knows few bounds. It was a good system, and I need to return to it(, dammit).

I also have a big backlog of blog posts to write or finish about books (-not short stories)  I’ve read. I’ve let my blog’s focus drift too heavily toward short stories and would prefer it to be more balanced. I need to post about some of these books(!)

Well, those are my reading/literary plans for May. What are YOURS? I’d love to hear about them…