Deal Me In – Week 18 Wrap Up

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Below are links to new posts this week. The blogs of a couple of our regular participants have been quiet in recent weeks, but for now I’m assuming they’re on holiday and will return with several short stories to share. 🙂 In other news, we’ve “inspired” one blogger to launch her own variant of Deal Me In – check out Julianna’s blog “Cedar Station” at  and her own DMI line-up at http://cedarstation.wordpress.com/reading-roulette/

Also, thanks to May being National Short Story Month, DMI got some recognition courtesy of C.A. LaRue and her blog, Bonespark. Check out her post at https://bonesparkblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/selections-for-short-story-month/ where she provides links to some great recommended stories.

It’s always nice to discover other blogs that are “Friends of the Short Story,” and I hope you take a moment to visit them if you have the time.

Dale encountered a short story by Kurt Vonnegut: “Mnemonics” http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/kurt-vonnegut-mnemonics/

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Katherine visits “The Barnum Museum” gaining her ticket from author Steven Millhauser – http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/deal-me-in-week-18-the-barnum-museum/

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James brings us another unlikely pairing with stories by Grace Paley (pictured below) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and explores their stories “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute” and “The Thing Around Your Neck,” respectively. http://jamesreadsbooks.com/2014/04/29/grace-paley-vs-chimamanda-ngozi-adiche-a-deal-me-in-short-story-challenge/

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Candiss at Read the Gamut read the Roald Dahl story “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” http://readthegamut.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/deal-me-in-challenge-story-18-the-wonderful-story-of-henry-sugar-by-roald-dahl/

I’m still playing catchup, with pending posts on Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day” and the Anton Chekhov classic, “The Black Monk.” Hope to have them up soon. 😉

See you all next week!

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How Quickly We Forget

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Or, I should say, how quickly I forget. I was reminded this week of how often I do NOT remember the details of a book, and how sometimes they fade quickly. How was I reminded? Well, a co-worker to whom I had recommended a book by a “classic” author stopped by my desk to report she had finished it and, more importantly, to take me to task about an unhappy ending. (Apparently, someone died in someone’s arms in the final pages.) You’d think that’d be something one would remember, wouldn’t you? I guess not, at least in my case. Thankfully, she was just giving me a hard time and had actually really liked the book – as I suspected she would -and we now also have a third co-worker tentatively making her way into the book.

I’ve often been accused of having a great memory. I wish that were the case, although perhaps – relatively speaking – maybe I do. I have a fondness for trivia and seem to remember a lot of little facts about things. All well and good, and it has helped me pass through the Jeopardy! auditions twice now (they still haven’t called me, dammit! 🙂 , but I would actually like to remember things more worthy of remembering – like more of the plot of a Thomas Hardy novel. There, thats the final clue as to which book I’m talking about; I don’t want to type “Spoiler Alert” in this post!) that I read just a year and a half ago.

But how does one go about that? Are we chained to whatever aptitude for memory we are born with, or can it be enhanced? Long ago – I was probably still in college -I discovered a book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas (yes, the famous basketball player) about memory, and techniques used to “memorize” lists and things. I did learn some things from that book, but it did not deal with the type of memory I seek. I desire more to recall rather than “just” memorize. How is that done? Anyone know?

Personally, I think readers fall into one, or a combination, of the following groups of what they remember about books they read:

1: Some remember certain scenes very well if not the whole book

2. Some remember characters very well, as if they were people they actually know

3. Some remember dialogue or quotations that they can seem to recall at will much later

4. Some remember the emotions that a particular book elicited in them.

5. Some remember the entire plot. These are “the lovers of stories” I think.

6. Some – and these are the ones I “hate” 🙂  – remember “all of the above.

Which categories do you fall into? Which categories would you add to this list?

I suppose in truth we are all a mixture. For my part, I’m fairly strong on #1, respectable on #3, passable on #2, and a disaster on #s 4 & 5.

I should say that another short story I just read yesterday also helped prompt me to write this post. It was the second story in the Vonnegut collection, Bagombo Snuff Box, titled “Mnemonics.” In this sweet, very short story, our protagonist, Alfred Moorehead, works in an office which has him attend a memory skills seminar, where we learn that “The images used to help memory vary widely from person to person.” It turns out that the images that help Alfred remember are those of beautiful women, such as Lana Turner and Jane Russell, a technique that leads to amusing consequences regarding his pretty secretary, Ellen, who he has secretly pined for since he met her. There, no spoilers there either. 🙂

That’s all for now. Have a good Wednesday!