Deal Me In – Week 45 Wrap Up

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New posts this week from the DMI crew:

Coincidentally, with me also reading The Martian Chronicles this week, two of us drew a Ray Bradbury story from their Deal Me In deck.

Dale read “Some Live Like Lazarushttp://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/ray-bradbury-some-live-like-lazarus/

And Randall read “Let’s Play Poisonhttp://timeenuf.blogspot.com/2014/11/lets-play-poison-by-ray-bradbury.html

The avalanche of stories from Returning Reader continues:
1) Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Eva is Inside Her Cathttp://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/short-story-30-eva-is-inside-her-cat-gabriel-garcia-marquez/
2) the Ernest Hemingway classic “The Snows of Kilimanjarohttp://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/short-story-31-the-snows-of-kilimanjaro-ernest-hemingway/
3) Anton Chekhov’s “Gooseberrieshttp://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/short-story-32-gooseberries-anton-chekhov/
4) Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales
http://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/short-story-33-a-childs-christmas-in-wales-dylan-thomas/
5) Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa’s “An Unexpected Deathhttp://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/short-story-34-an-unexpected-death-ungulani-ba-ka-khosa/

Katherine has exhausted her hearts suit after reading Robyn Carr’s “Natasha’s Bedroomhttp://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/deal-me-in-week-45-natashas-bedroom/ There’s also a magic trick video featuring her card 🙂

I missed Halloween by one day in drawing Ambrose Bierce’s ghost story, “Beyond the Wall” (I got goosebumps) https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/beyond-the-wall-a-ghost-story-by-ambrose-Bierce/

Candiss posted about Margaret Atwood’s “Happy Endinghttp://readthegamut.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/deal-me-in-challenge-story-45-happy-endings-by-margaret-atwood/

Some other short story content from the week that I found interesting:

Have you heard of author Ron Rash before? I hadn’t, but this collection sounds like it would be at home on my bookshelf http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/entertainment/article_6fa4c738-66d1-11e4-9fcb-dfce161211a2.html

Great article about an event in NY where some of the authors featured in The Best American Short Stories (2014 edition) read their work at a Barnes and Noble. I’ve included some stories from The BASS series the past couple Deal Me In challenges. Looks like I may want to do so again. 🙂 http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/07/jennifer-egan-writing-technologies-short-stories

I follow a couple Irish literary accounts n Twitter and they appear to have a thriving short story culture over there. The Davy Byrnes award is one of their prestigious writing prizes. (I’ve read one story from this source in a previous DMI, Claire Keegan’s “Foster”. https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/a-perfect-opportunity-to-say-nothing/)
Here’s a collection of the cream of that crop.
http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/six-of-the-best-davy-byrnes-stories-2014-1.1988889

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Deal Me In – Week 41 Wrap Up

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A little late with the wrap up this week, but here, finally, are links to this week’s posts by DMI participants:

Dale read Ernest Hemingway’s “Now I Lay Me” http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/ernest-hemingway-now-i-lay-me/

I read Alexander Pushkin’s “The Queen of Spades” https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/the-queen-of-spades-by-alexander-pushkin-brought-to-you-by-the-queen-of-clubs-via-deal-me-in-2014/

Katherine read David Copperfield’s story “Eagle” http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/deal-me-in-week-41-eagle/

Randall read William Hoffman’s “Amazing Grace” http://timeenuf.blogspot.com/2014/10/amazing-grace-by-william-hoffman.html

OTHER LINKS Of SHORT STORY INTEREST

A review of Margaret Atwood’s new collection “Stone Mattresshttp://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/10/stone-mattress-margaret-atwood-review-short-story-collection

Actually, here’s a second review (they’re popping up everywhere!) http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/lucy-sussex-reviews-margaret-atwoods-stone-mattress-short-stories-20141003-10pi83.html

Free Alice Munro stories available online? Sounds good to me! (a couple of these have been read by our Deal Me In group this year) http://www.openculture.com/2013/10/read-14-short-stories-from-nobel-prize-winning-writer-alice-munro-free-online.html

Tis the season to be… scary. Interesting post about Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic short story collection “In a Glass Darkly” whose influence persists today. (Note: I did not watch the linked videos and don’t know if any might be “objectionable”…) http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/Dubliner-inspired-horrors-from-ghost-stories-to-the-Twilight-movies-VIDEOS.html

Deal Me In – Week 27 Wrap Up

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Another slow week for DMI activity, but stalwarts Dale and Katherine both contributed a post, and your humble host managed one as well. :-). Below are the links.

Dale read a July 4th story (randomly drawn!) – Ernest Hemingway’s “Ten Little Indians.” http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/ernest-hemingway-ten-indians/

Katherine read Steven Millhauser’s “The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad” and also shared her thoughts on last week’s survey. It’s all here http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/deal-me-in-week-27-the-eighth-voyage-of-sinbad/

For my part, Nobel Prizewinner Alice Munro (it’s her birthday this week!) made her DMI debut (from my roster anyway) as I read her story “Menesetung.” https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/meneseteung-by-alice-munro/

That’s it for this week. Oh, and if you haven’t taken the Deal Me In “survey” from last week, feel free to do so at your convenience. 🙂

Deal Me In – Week 26 Wrap Up – and Mid-Year Survey!

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Well, we’ve made it to the halfway point, and if you’ve made it this far you know that you’ll be able to make it the rest of the way. 🙂

Below are links to new posts since the last update and also a survey about what you think of the challenge so far and of the stories you’ve read. Participation is optional, but I would enjoy reading some feedback. You can either participate via the comments or via a separate post on your own blog.

James found an easy connection between his stories this week, reading Ernest Hemingway’s “A Canary for One” and Charles de Lint’s “A Tangle of Green Men” http://jamesreadsbooks.com/2014/06/27/strangers-on-a-train-ernest-hemingway-vs-charles-de-lint/

Dale read Truman Capote’s “A Diamond Guitar” http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/truman-capote-the-diamond-guitar/

Katherine drew the mustache-less King of Hearts and read the Kevin J Anderson story “Technomagic” which included a nod to the great Arthur C. Clarke. Oh, and another card trick video as well 🙂 http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/deal-me-in-week-26-technomagic/

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Pour moi, it was another new-to-me author as I read Eric Puchner’s strange story “Beautiful Monsters” https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/beautiful-monsters-by-eric-puchner/

Mid-Year Survey:

1. Do you have a favorite story or author so far?

2. What is your major “discovery” from DMI this year? Either from the posts of fellow participants or from your own story roster – or both.

3. Would you participate in the challenge again in 2015?

4. Do you think a weekly wrap-up post is necessary? Would you prefer a monthly wrap-up?

5. Do you have any good ideas for suit “themes” to share for others who might try the challenge again?

6. Have you gotten much of a response from other readers of your blog (other than fellow DMI’ers I mean)?

7. Can you recommend any good resources (on line or otherwise) for those looking to populate their DMI roster?

8. Does DMI rate favorably in comparison with other book blogging challenges in which you’ve participated? Why or why not?

9. What is/are your favorite part/parts about The Deal Me In challenge?

10. Conversely, what do you NOT like about the challenge or what would you change about it?

11. Feel free to add any other general comments.

Thanks for participating!

My answers:
1. I have several. Two that really stood out are Leonid’s Andreev’s “Lazarus” and Katherine Vaz’s “Undressing the Vanity Dolls.” In general, the Russian Authors (“clubs”) that I’ve read have been my favorites.
2. Too many to mention. One that springs to mind immediately is Grace Paley, much lauded by James at JamesReadsBooks. I’ve also enjoyed learning and reading about some of the African Authors at Returning Reader’s blog.
3. Absolutely! 🙂
4. I think I’d prefer a monthly wrap-up (less work for me) or some kind of Linky widget-y thing (where participants would be responsible for linking in their posts), which I don’t think is available for my “free” version of WordPress. Any shared expertise on this possibility would be appreciated.
5. I’ve thought about a classic fairy tales suit a couple times but never did it, since I fear that would be committing too many of my choices to less “meaty” works. I’ve also thought about a “New Yorker Stories” suit since I’m a subscriber. Another idea is a suit dedicated to authors with a local connection; one of the unstated missions of Bibliophilopolis is to support writers in my area. My favorite idea is a suit of stories I learned about from my fellow DMI participants this year.
6. Most seem to think “That’s a great idea.” A few authors that I’ve communicated with really like it too. One even said she might use it for her students.
7. I’m a big fan of library book sales and used bookstores. I pick up a couple cheap anthologies a year at those. I have ample fodder to last the rest of my short story reading life I think. 🙂
8. I’ve basically only done “read-alongs” and in my “completely objective” opinion DMI is much more fun.
9. I love the randomness and “the hand of fate” participating in deciding when I read something. “Strange coincidences” seem to often occur. I also have loved seeing some of the unique playing cards others have pictured and how others have put their own stamp on the challenge, or have come up with their own variants. And Katherine’s sharing the videos of card tricks.
10. I wish I had specifically stated that participants aren’t necessarily “required” to write a post about every story they read. Being committed to a weekly post can begin to feel like a burden. The real goal should remain just reading 52 stories. The more you post about, the better, but you don’t have to post about every one. 🙂
11. I’ve really enjoyed Deal Me In’s becoming a shared experience the past couple years. Was it Oscar Wilde who said that “a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled?” – sounds like him but I’m not sure…

Mid-year trivia: can you name the movie that included the scene below? (It’s relevant to this week’s wrap-up…)

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Deal Me In – Week 19 Wrap Up

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Below are links to new Deal Me In-related posts since last Sunday. I’m happy to relate that Risa, a fellow “friend of the short story” with whom I go way back to the “Short Stories on Wednesdays” era, is now joining the DMI crew. Welcome, Risa!

Also, last week, I mentioned that Cedarstation was adapting Deal Me In to help “clean up” her TBR list of books. Another blog, Plethora of Books, has now also taken up that variant (“reading roulette”) of the Deal Me In challenge. http://bookchallenges.weebly.com/9/post/2014/05/reading-roulette-card-1.html
Initial post: http://bookchallenges.weebly.com/9/post/2014/05/reading-roulette.html

Dale reads one of the titans of the short story form: Ernest Hemingway (and his story “Soldier’s Home“) http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/ernest-hemingway-soldiers-home/

Risa of Breadcrumb Reads joins us with her first post – on the fantasy story “The Wizard’s Coming” by Juliet E. McKenna http://breadcrumbreads.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/the-wizards-coming/

I posted about two of my stories this week: Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/all-summer-in-a-day-by-ray-bradbury/ and Nikolai Gogol’s “St. John’s Eve” https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/st-johns-eve-by-nikolai-gogol/

Katherine read Robert Weinberg’s “Dealing With the Devil” http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/deal-me-in-week-19-dealing-with-the-devil/

Also, C.A. Talks a little about short story month and has some helpful links at https://bonesparkblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/knight-time-rewind/

That’s it for this week. & Good luck to those hearty souls participating in the Bout-of-Books Readathon. Happy reading to all!

My Old Man by Ernest Hemingway

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Week/story #32: Ernest Hemingway’s “My Old Man”

This was probably my least favorite of the Hemingway stories I have read thus far. The competition in that group is quite stiff, though, so that doesn’t mean this was a bad story. One thing about it that didn’t help was that the setting was that of horse racing, something I have never been able to get excited about. It always seemed to me to be a contest of “one rich guy’s expensive horse beating other rich guys’ expensive horses” – something I didn’t have a vested interest in.

***Spoiler Alert****

One of Hemingway’s earliest stories, it’s told by “Joe,” the twelve-year-old son of the title character, who is an aging jockey whose best years are behind him and who’s beginning to have to cut corners to remain competitive and to continue “earning.” The turning point, where the father “breaks bad” for good, is where he takes advantage of an unscrupulous tipster and a “fixed” race featuring the great horse, Kzar (a real – and legendary – European racehorse of the early 20th century).

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The father eventually puts together a big enough stake to buy his own racehorse and, riding it himself, participates in a steeplechase event that is the climax of the story. The horse is leading going into the home stretch, and, as young Joe watches, a terrible accident occurs. Within minutes, the boy loses the race, his father, their horse (shot after he has broken a leg), and his illusion of the father’s character (he overhears other jockeys speaking of how he “had it coming” after “all the stuff he had pulled”). One of his father’s associates tries to comfort Joe at the end of the story, telling him “Don’t listen to what those bums said, Joe. Your dad was one swell guy.” Joe is, I think, old enough to know better, though, and the story finishes with him thinking:

“Seems like when they get started they don’t leave a guy with nothing.”

I own this story as part of my volume, Ernest Hemingway The Short Stories. Other stories of his that I’ve posted about are: “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” “Hills like White Elephants,” “Soldier’s Home,” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” What are some of your favorite Hemingway stories?

I read this short story as part of my 2013 Short Story Reading Project,”Deal Me in.” Here is a link to my page describing the project. I’m curious – Would you consider participating if I made it a public “Reading Challenge” in 2014?

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Stories Like White Icebergs

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I didn’t really start getting into Hemingway’s writing until a few years ago. I’d only read the famous short story, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” for a class in high school. That was it. Then a couple years ago I was blown away by one of his short stories, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” and began further exploration, including one novel (The Sun Also Rises) and several more short stories. After this additional exposure I began to learn a little more about him, and also his “Iceberg Theory” (or theory of omission) of writing which, as you might guess from the name, proposes that most of the story should lie “beneath the surface.

” I already enjoyed Hemingway’s economy of words and learned from a fellow reader (Hi, Richard!) in my Great Books Foundation discussion group at the Nora Library to think in terms of “everything in a Hemingway story is there for a reason.” (I can still hear Richard asking, perhaps somewhat mischievously, “Why is he giving him a cigar?!?” at our discussion of the Hemingway story, Indian Camp.) I learned a lot at that meeting. 🙂 Another Hemingway story that had been frequently recommended to me was the story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” so when coming up with a roster of stories to read for my 2013 short story reading project, I made a place for this one as the “five of clubs.”

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***spoiler alert*** But why not just read the story online yourself, though? One place you can find it is here:

  What was memorable to me about this story, which involves a couple traveling in the Ebro valley in northeastern Spain to a city where the woman will have some kind of procedure (never actually mentioned but clearly An abortion), is that the two characters themselves could be said to apply the “Iceberg Theory” to their relationship. Hemingway doubtless is applying it to the story, but their relationship adds another layer. An ice cube floating in a puddle of water on an iceberg? I’m sure that can happen in nature, so why not literature. Have you read this story? What did you think of it? Do you enjoy the theory of omission or do you prefer stories that are told in a more straightforward way? (Below: the Ebro valley in Spain – looks beautiful!)

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What is your favorite Hemingway story?

“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Ernest Hemingway

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I always struggle to write my thoughts about classic stories or authors, likely thinking my humble writing will not do them justice, and that there is likely “nothing new under the sun” to be said about them. That said, below are some of my disorganized and rambling reactions to Hemingway’s short story classic, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” which was the King of Clubs in my Project: Deal Me In this year

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You often hear it said that “nothing focuses the mind like a deadline.” And what is the ultimate deadline? Wouldn’t that be one’s own approaching death? I’ve never thought about it before today, but is that where the term DEADline comes from? (a quick check of my Merriam Webster app indicates not: “a line drawn within or around a prison that a prisoner passes at the risk of being shot.”) Interesting, but I digress… (big surprise there)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Harry is dying. “Stranded” on safari with the towering Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop, he is laid up with a gangrenous leg (from failing to tend immediately to a thorn scratch – and I suspect it is not coincidental to the story that he was felled by something relatively harmless instead of, say, being victimized by a charging rhinoceros). Help has been sent for, but it’s uncertain whether it will arrive in time. Attended by his wife and a few native servants, Harry has also begun to attract the attention of vultures, whose acute senses know a terminal case of gangrene when they smell one.

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We also are familiar with the concept of one’s life “flashing before one’s eyes” in cases of near death accidents and the like. Given that, I guess it only makes sense that a slower death would allow a slower replay of one’s life. This is what happens with Harry, a writer whose best works are already behind him. During the story he continually has “flashbacks” to other times in his life, reminding himself of opportunities lost and behavior that would have been better if altered. All the things he was planning to write about someday when he was fully “ready” will now likely be lost. He even blames his wealthy wife, whose patronage of him and his craft has only made him lazy and enabled him to become a heavy drinker. He realizes, though, in a period of lucidity, that it’s not her fault. He would’ve found another rich patroness if he hadn’t landed her.

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The wife remains hopeful that the rescuing plane will arrive soon, but when a hyena trots by the camp Harry has a realization:

“…just then it occurred to him he was going to die. It came with a rush; not as a rush of water nor of wind; but of a sudden, evil-smelling emptiness and the odd thing was that the hyena slipped lightly along the edge of it.”

I loved the way Hemingway personified Death in the hyena, having it creep closer and closer in his imagination:

“…just then, death had come and rested its head on the foot of the cot and he could smell its breath.
’Never believe any of that about a scythe and a skull,’ he told her. ‘It can be two bicycle policemen as easily, or be a bird. Or it can have a wide snout like a hyena.’”

Then later:

“It moved up closer to him still and now he could not speak to it, and when it saw he could not speak it came a little closer, and now he tried to send it away without speaking, but it moved in on him so its weight was all upon his chest, and while it crouched there and he could not move or speak…”

For those (likely few) who have not read the story, I don’t want to reveal the ending but hope that you will read it for yourself. One place I found where it may be read online for free is: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/heming.html

This is one of Hemingway’s most famous short stories, but there are many others. Which are your favorites?

(Below: the collection of Hemingway stories that I own)

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(Below: the 1936 issue <and below that, the first page of the story> of Esquire Magazine where this story first appeared)

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(The Snows of Kilimanjaro was also made into a movie – starring Gregory Peck {hey! that’s two posts in a row about works with a tie-in with Gregory Peck movies – how’s that for a coincidence}.)

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More Short Stories Finished

After some effort this weekend, I’ve finally gotten caught up on my 2011 short story reading project. I now have only seven stories to go, and – if my calculations are correct – I also have seven Saturday’s left in 2011. I’ve even already started to assemble my stories for 2012, when I intend to have a new “deck” to draw from which to draw my random “story of the week.”

What stories have I read recently to catch up? So nice of you to ask! There were quite a few the past few days…

1) “The Cock Lane Ghost” by Howard Pyle

Although this one was in one of my short story anthologies, I’m not even sure it was intended as a work of fiction. It’s more just a recounting of a famous ‘haunting’ case in London where a young girl heard numerous “rapping/tapping” and “gnawing” noises when in bed in her home on London’s Cock Lane. Allegedly, this famous case was widely considered to be “real” even after it had been debunked upon closer examination. (So often is the case where the credulous cling to their initial beliefs). This “story” I largely considered a waste of time.

2) “Babylon Revisited” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This was a much more pedigreed short story, one that I’m sure many of you have heard of. The other two short works of Fitzgerald’s that I’ve read were more along the supernatural front, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” both of which were welcome additions to my collection of read stories. This one is the poignant tale of Charlie Wales, a formerly “dissipated” man who lost his fortune (in the market crash of 1929) and his wife (to suicide), leaving his daughter in the custody of his sister-in-law and her husband. Seemingly reformed and with his life back on track he is concentrating his efforts on reuniting with his daughter. Circumstances throw obstacles in his way during this sad tale. Descriptions of his “old life” led me to think he would have been at home as one of the people hanging out with the main character in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

3) “H.P.” by S. Baring-Gould

This one was a ghost story quite dissimilar from all that I had perviously encountered. Not knowing anything about it, I wondered if the title referred to that master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft. But no, it refers to the ghost, “Homo Paleolithicus” (or something like that). An archaeologist is temporarily trapped amongst his excavations of a primitive skeleton by a cave in…

4) “Soldier’s Home” by Ernest Hemingway

This one was recommended to me by fellow blogger, Jillian, over at A Room With a View (link on my blogroll). I read another Hemingway story earlier in the year as part of my project (“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”) which I really, really liked and wrote a blog post about, after which I received several recommendations for other Hemingway stories to read. (I have a whole book of them!). This one was very sad as well, though, dealing with the return home of a soldier with what would today be called at least a mild case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Harold Krebs’s thoughts on how different his once familiar world now is to him are fascinating.

5) “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett

I’d read this story years ago, but didn’t remember too much about it. In fact, over the years I think it had become muddled with a similar story I read (which I also don’t remember!). The story deals with a young girl, living in isolation with her mother in a modest cabin in the woods. One day, she encounters a young man walking in the woods with a gun. He is hunting birds, and collects them (stuffed by a taxidermist after he shoots them). He charms the girl at first, and when she learns that he is particularly interested in a White Heron, she hopes to gain his favor by determining the location of its nest. She does this after scaling the highest tree in the area (a passage described beautifully by Jewett). On her way back to meet the young man, however, she has second thoughts about revealing the bird’s location…

6) “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

This was another favorite that I revisited for this project. When I first read it years ago, it kind of reminded me of the classic movie, Gaslight, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman (yum yum), wherein an evil, scheming husband tries to convince his wife that she’s losing her mind. In this story, the husband’s motive is presumably innocent, but his attentions to his wife are having the same effect. Staying in a rented country manor for a few months, he chooses a room on the second floor as their bedroom. Unfortunately for his wife, who is “recovering” her health from what sounds like a mental imbalance or “hysteria,” the room contains the most disconcerting yellow wallpaper, which over the course of the story takes on a life of its own. Gilman’s description of the wife’s journey into “madness” is riveting.

7) “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver

A local book discussion group (whose meetings I keep missing) is actually meeting to discuss this story on Wednesday evening, so I’m glad it came up in my random order. A great short story dealing with two couples who are sitting around a dining room table drinking gin and tonics and musing over what the true meaning of love is, and what forms it may take. E.g. One of the women was previously in an abusive relationship but maintains her ex-husband loved her, while her current husband disagrees. The other couple are younger and have only been together for eighteen months, their love not yet having been fully “tested.” A thought provoking short story that made me thirsty for a drink of gin… I don’t know much about Carver, but I seem to recall he struggled with alcohol-related problems, which is maybe why his descriptions of this “drinking party” seem so realistic and thirst-inducing. 🙂

Have you read any of these stories or authors? Which are your favorites? Can you recommend any stories for me to include in my 2012 Short Story reading schedule?

September Reading

Okay, so it’s already the morning of the eighth and I’m a little bit late with this monthly post. As a result, I’ve already finished two books this month. One I had already read about two thirds of (We Make a Life by What We Give by Richard Gunderman) but it still counts as a September book. I hope to write a post dedicated to this book soon. The second is Chris Edwards’ Spiritual Snake Oil: Fads and Fallacies in Pop Culture. The author lives in central Indiana and gave a brief talk and book-signing at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library last week. This book – as you might guess by the title – shines a critical light on much of the pseudoscience in today’s world. More on this one later as well.

Enough of what I’ve finished already. What do I still have to go? Well I have a couple required reads as usual. One, for my personal book club, is Rex Stout’s Mystery Some Buried Caesar. This will actually be a re-read for me as I read it when it was the chosen book for Indianapolis’s “One City, One Book” program awhile back. I even went to a discussion about it at Bookmama’s Bookstore. It’s short and I know I can blast through it in a couple days when the time draws near. Stout is also an Indiana native (although he grew up in Kansas, I believe).

The second “required read” is for The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Book Club. The club is switching things up in September by NOT reading a Vonnegut novel this time. Instead, in honor of Banned Books Week, we are reading the frequently banned or censored classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This book happens to be one of those classics which I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never read. That is about to change. 🙂

A semi-required read would by Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone, which I’m about 75% done with at this point. Is a six-hundred pager, though, and I originally started reading it since it is the September pick for the “Critical Mass Book Club” at the Carmel Public Library (where I went last month for the Flannery O’Connor discussion). While I’m not officially affiliated with that group, I was impressed with its size and vibe when I visited.

I have another book that I’ve already started that I’d like to wrap up this month too. That’s Christopher DiCarlo’s How to Becone a Really Good Pain in the Ass. Another author and voice of the skeptical movement, he visited Indianapolis recently on his book tour. This book will doubtless be similar to the Spiritual Snake Oil book I’ve already finished, but it is a little heftier and more of a guide to logical and critical thinking rather than a debunking of specific fads & pseudoscience, etc.

A couple other wild card reads might be For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway and The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham, both classic which I’ve been wanting to read for some time.

Well, that’s it for me (isn’t that enough!?). What are YOU reading in September…?

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