Deal Me In – Week 39 Wrap Up


We’re at the three quarter post of the Deal Me In 2014 track and thus now in the home stretch. Below are links to new posts this week.

Dale read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”

Randall read Ray Bradbury’s “Junior”

Katherine read Joyce Carol Oates’ “The Hand Puppet”

I read Leo Tolstoy’s “God See’s the Truth But Waits” but may not post about it. I did post about a remarkable non-DMI story, “Axolotl” by Julio Cortazar if you want to read something 🙂

Candiss checked in with an update ( ) and I for one am glad to hear she is still reading her short stories, even if there haven’t been any posts lately. 🙂

This is a non-DMI post of James’ but it does deal with short stories if you’d like to read

I missed Bellezza’s post last week about the Edgar Allen Poe classic, “The Black Cat”


Deal Me In – Week 24 Wrap Up


I’m way behind schedule in posting this, but here are links to new posts by all the Deal Me In’ers since the last wrap-up. We’re almost at the midway point of the challenge! Note: for week 26, I’m working on a kind of “survey” about the challenge. I hope you’ll consider participating by answering a few questions, via which I hope to make improvements for DMI 2015 next year…

Dale wrote about Herman Melville’s “The Piazza” at

I wrote about Maxim Gorky’s “Her Lover” at

James posted about a couple stories, Grace Paley’s “The Pale Pink Roast” and Tim Pratt’s “Our Stars, Ourselves” from the Welcome to Bordertown anthology:

Candiss writes about Amy Bloom’s “Silver Water” at

Returning Reader read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Arrangers of Marriage”

Katherine tackles a classic, Edgar Allan Poe’s. “The Purloined Letter


Deal Me In – Week 23 Wrap Up


Below are links to new posts and reviews since our last update. We’re nearly at the halfway mark of Deal Me In 2014! Please take a moment to visit and read the posts of your fellow challenge participants.

Susan read a few more stories from Alaska Traveler and commented on them at Shelfari:

Returning Reader shares two stories: Milly Jafta’s “The Homecoming” and the Flannery O’Connor classic “A Good Man is Hard to Find As an added bonus, the latter includes a link to an audio recording of the author herself reading it.

Dale read G.K. Chesterton’s “The Song of the Flying Fish”

I read Mary Gaitskill for the first time and found her story “The Other Place” extremely good, if disturbing…

Katherine read an Edgar Allen Poe story featuring “detective” Auguste Dupin: “The Mystery of Marie Roget

Candiss merges Deal Me In with Angela Carter Week ( ), reading that author’s “The Fall River Axe Murders

Deal Me In – Week 12 Wrap Up


First, how about a Short Story QOTW?
Haruki Murakami: “My short stories are like soft shadows I’ve set out in the world, faint footprints I’ve left behind.”

Below are links to all the posts I saw as of the time of this writing. If there’s one I missed, feel free to link in the comments to this post. As always, I encourage everyone to visit and read the posts of your fellow participants, leaving a comment if you wish.

Hanne five of spades (Napoleon!) led her to share the William Trevor story “On the Sreets”

James takes a break from connecting his stories – or does he? – with Isak Dinesen’s “The Fish” and Grace Paley’s “The Long Distance Runner”

Dale’s three of spades treated us to Ray Bradbury’s tale “Long After Midnight”

Returning Reader’s King of Clubs yielded another story from the Granta Book of the African Short Story, Camara Laye’s “The Eyes of the Statue”

Katherine at The Writerly Reader joins the mind of Edgar Allen Poe in his story/essay “Maelzel’s Chess Player,” about a chess-playing automaton that was a touring sensation for many years. And she also shares another video with us.

(below: “The Turk”, a.k.a. Maelzel’s Chess Player)


Candiss drew the three of hearts and so offers us a seat at “a banquet for the open mind” with Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Library of Babel”

Hanne’s second (week 12) story was Margaret Atwood’s “Stone Mattress”

For my part, I took the train to Ottignies when my four of hearts led me to “From Brussels to Ottignies” by Monica Westeren.

See you all next week!

An Edgar Allan Poe Tale That Shall Not Be Named?

I ‘discovered’ a new to me Poe story yesterday. I have a thousand-page volume of his works of which I’ve read “all the famous ones” and explored the remainder in piecemeal fashion. Scanning the contents last night, I was drawn to “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdermar”(!) The similarity in name to Harry Potter’s nemesis was unmistakable and, amid wondering if J.K. Rowling had ever read the story, I decided to explore further…

Our narrator admits that his attention “for the past three years, had been repeatedly drawn to the subject of…mesmerism.” The term mesmerism has gradually fallen out of use, yielding for the most part to the modern term, hypnotism, but those in the know are aware that Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer’s (below) mesmerism was essentially the forerunner of the concept of hypnotism or “animal magnetism” as it was once commonly referred to.


Poe’s narrator, while fascinated by mesmerism, is amazed that no one has tried it in “articulo mortis” – at the time of death. (I personally find this less amazing, as that time in one’s life is “not the best time to ask” whether or not one wants to be hypnotized.) Our hero is in luck, however, as he just happens to know a man – the M. Valdermar of the story’s title – who is dying of tuberculosis (described in that horrible fashion at which Poe is an undisputed master) and who is also scientifically curious…

Valdermar’s “regular doctors” send word when the man is nearing death, and our narrator continues with his plan. Though “scheduled” to die by midnight, Valdermar survives through the night and, in answer to a query replies in barely a whisper, “Yes – asleep now. Do not wake me! – let me die so!”


Over the next few hours his body undergoes some changes in appearance, but death has not yet totally claimed him. Communication with the man continues, but is slowly breaking down. Eventually, he appears to be quite dead, and plans are being made for his removal, when a sudden vibration seizes the body, after which he began to speak in a new voice, one:

“…whose sound was harsh, and broken, and hollow; but the hideous whole is indescribable, for the simple reason that no similar sounds have ever jarred upon the ear of humanity.”

Nice, huh? How long will Valdermar continue to exist in this way? What will become of him? Read this short story for free online and find out

There are some similarities between this story and the Character That Shall Not be Named from the Harry Potter books. Both are thought dead but are not, really. Or are they? Re-animation of a “form” does not necessarily mean it’s alive. Does it? What do you think?


The Raven (first published 166 years ago today)

It was January 29th, 1845 when this poem of unprecedented popularity was first published. Or so I learned when looking at the paper this morning during breakfast. I’ve read “most of Poe” over the years and have revisited this poem several times. In October of 2009, for my book club’s annual “ghost story month,” we read a selection of works by Poe, including this one. A few of us also viewed a YouTube clip of Vincent Price’s famous recitation. It remains one of the most famous poems of all time.

My first memories of the poem are of my dad reading it. When he was growing up, he was a huge fan of those ‘spooky’ radio programs, and I remember him imitating “The Shadow” and other creepy voices he grew up with. He was actually pretty good at scary voices and would often frighten my two brothers and me on our almost annual summer camping trips, telling ghost stories (more often than not beginning with “once upon a time, there were three little boys…”) until my youngest brother would get too scared and Mom would make him stop. My little brother’s lack of fortitude to endure these stories was a constant source of exasperation to my other brother and me.

Dad was always interested in memory and memorization (he was a teacher) and even late into his life was working on memorizing poetry. He even wrote some basic computer programs to aid his memorization. The Raven, however, was a poem he memorized long before the computer age, and his retelling of it to us kids was injected with just the right amount of the supernatural to keep us enthralled, even if we didn’t fully understand the deeper meaning of the poem. Dad was also a mathematician and I think he appreciated the structure and rhythm of poetry in a way I’ve never fully been able to. The older I get, though, the closer I think I am to having something approaching admiration for the poetic forms. Maybe someday I will become a connoisseur myself. (please don’t hold your breath, though)

So, happy birthday to The Raven. Go out and read a Poe story in celebration, or perhaps tap a cask of Amontillado… 🙂

What do you think of Poe? What are some of your favorite poems or poets? I’d love to hear about them…