Deal Me In – Week 22 Wrap Up


It was a busy week for the DMI2014 group! Below are links to the nine stories (and counting!) our group has blogged about since the last update. Happy reading!

JamesReadsBooks posted about Tobias Wolff’s “The Other Miller” and Grace Paley’s “In this country, But in Another Language, My Aunt Refuses to Marry the Men Everyone Wants Her To.” (That second title’s a mouthful, eh?)

Dale read George MacDonald’s “The Gifts of the Child Christ”

Katherine Read Dave Wolverton’s “In the Teeth of Glory” and links to another card trick video you don’t want to miss!

I went back to Mother Russia for Alexander Kuprin’s “The Outrage – A True Story”

Candiss and Returning Reader are both in “catch-up mode” and are sharing several stories this week. Candiss’s will all be in one post at starting with O. Henry’s “The Ransom of Red Chief

Returning Reader’s stories are as follows:
The Vladimir Nabokov classic, “Signs and Symbols

Aminatta Forna’s Hayward’s Heath”

And Abdulrazak Gurnah’s “Cages”

There. That should keep you busy for awhile! :-). As always try to take a moment to visit/comment/like the blog posts of your fellow DMI participants as you see fit.

And what about you other readers who are not “officially” part of the Deal Me In Short Story reading challenge? Did you discover any new stories this week that you’d like to recommend? We’d love to hear about them… 🙂

Deal Me In – Week 13 Wrap Up


Ready for our first quarter results? 🙂 Thirteen weeks in means we’re 25% done with Deal Me In 2014. By my calculations, our little band of short story readers’ earnest efforts have covered over ONE HUNDRED stories thus far. Something to be proud of!

Below are links to new posts since the last update. Please consider doing your fellow bloggers the courtesy of visiting and reading their posts, leaving a comment or “liking” them if you wish.

James has better luck with Isak Dinesen this week, reading her story “Peter and Rosa” and also Raymond Chandler’s “Red Wind”

Dale read John Steinbeck’s “Junius Maltby” which, like Caesar’s Gaul, he found could be divided into three parts 🙂

Katherine read “Fat Man and Little Boy” by Gary Braunbeck in the anthology “Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury”

I read a story with local flavor Marianne Halbert’s “Dark Cloud Rising” found toward the bottom of my Indiana Horror Underground post.

Returning Reader got two stories in this week: O. Henry’s “The Coming Out of Maggie” and “An Snamhai” by Katherine Duffy

Hanne read “The Lost Order” by Rivka Galchen from a 2013 issue of The New Yorker

Candiss’s eight of diamonds served up the Katherine Mansfield story “Bliss

Back to Back O. Henry Stories

After a recent burst of Reading, I’m almost back on schedule with my short story reading project. I’m supposed to read one a week and I’m up to 25/52 completed for 2012. As luck would have it, my last two stories from my list – randomly selected – were both by a master of the form, O. Henry. (and here I’ll let you enjoy a laugh at my expense, as I had always thought it was “O’Henry” you know, like he’s Irish, but no, it’s just “O. Henry,” which I at least did know was a nom de plume for William Sydney Porter – pictured below)

I acquired these stories in 1978 in a book of twelve by this author. I know the exact date because its title page is inscribed with “To Jay, Merry Christmas from Mom & Dad, 1978.” (see photo below) It’s funny because I don’t remember being quite “literarily” self aware back then so I’m not sure why they would given me this book as a gift. Although… now that I’m typing this, a fossil of a memory is starting to come to the surface. I think I remember reading the O. Henry story, “The Gift of the Magi” for a class in school, and maybe liked it or talked about it with my parents, so they got this book so I could further explore his work. That would be very like them. Anyway, enough with the personal.


The first of the two stories I read was titled “A Madison Square Arabian Night,” in which a high society- type gentleman, Carson Chalmers, in a restless mood, advises his butler to choose “at random” a homeless person to dine with him because, “on that night he felt the inefficacy of conventional antidotes to melancholy.” His guest turns out to be a down on his luck painter, who lost business because his portraits displayed the “true nature” of their subjects – sometimes a nature one didn’t want to own up to. Chalmers asks him to paint a portrait of his estranged wife using a photograph as reference…

The other story, “The Last Leaf,” was my favorite of the two. A young woman, living in a kind of “artists colony” in Greenwich Village, is stricken with pneumonia (which O. Henry personifies as “a cold, unseen stranger” who “stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy fingers.“) and has more or less resolved to die. She even links her deterioration to the leaves dropping off a vine of ivy on the wall across the street, which she can see from her window. Her roommate and neighbor try, each in their own ways, to save her…

Both stories are very short and can be read in just a few minutes. They can be read for free on-line:
The Last Leaf
A Madison Square Arabian Night

Have you read any O. Henry? How did you find him?