Exciting/Challenging plans for next month’s #24in48 Readathon!

I’ve been away from blogging for a while but hope to come roaring back in June and July. First, I must catch up on posting about my Deal Me In 2017 stories. I’m about 9-10 behind, but have read four of those. I’ll probably do some “collective” posts dealing with several stories at a time. This is the worst I’ve fallen behind since 2011 – the very first year I attempted the Deal Me In challenge. 😦

What I’m starting to geek out about though, is an idea I have for my reading during next month’s #24in48 readathon. The last few times I’ve participated I’ve tweaked the format, reading 24 short stories in 48 hours, using my Deal Me In approach (what is the “Deal Me In” challenge?) of assigning each story to a playing card in a “euchre deck” and drawing them one at a time to randomize the order. I’ve always found that reading short stories during a readathon helps me avoid getting “stuck” in a longer work.

For next month, though, I’m going to up the ante. I’m making this one a “52in24in48” readathon, reading a full deck’s worth of stories with the catch being that they’ll all be stories by Ray Bradbury, the beloved science fiction/fantasy/however you want to label him writer. Reading 52 stories may take me the whole 24 hours too, making this the first time I’ve done the #24in48 in its pure form (of the “24” meaning HOURS, not 24 short stories). I’ll come up with some prize donations for the home site of #24in48, and maybe offer a few on my own site for commenters, or those who read & post about something by Bradbury during the challenge, or even just for logging into and “liking” The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies’ Facebook page. Heck, you should do that last thing regardless of the #24in48 readathon anyway, right?

I’ll firm up the details of this project in the next few weeks.  One thing I have already decided, though, is that one of my “suits” from my 52 cards will be Bradbury Stories recommended by my fellow bloggers, so give me some recommendations starting… NOW! 🙂

(Below: One of Bradbury’s stories later evolved into the iconic novel, Farenheit 451)

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I should note also that today (June 5th) marks 5 years since Bradbury passed away. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long already.

(below: one of my favorite Bradbury pics – taken with him posing in the driver’s seat of the Time Machine prop from George Pal’s film adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel.)

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What about YOU?  Are you doing the #24in48 Readathon next month (7/22-7/23)?  Do you plan to read anything by Bradbury? What are your reading plans for this fun challenge?

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My 2016 Deal Me “IN” Roster

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Since December 2010, I have spent some time near year end by coming up with a list of fifty-two short stories to read during the new year. I assign each story I plan to read to a playing card in a standard deck. Each week I draw one card and that is the story I read for that week. By the end of the year’s fifty-two weeks, I’m out of my fifty-two cards and out of stories. The second year that I did the “Deal Me In” challenge here at Bibliophilopolis, my reading colleague Dale (blogging at “Mirror With Clouds“) joined me. The third year, a few more bloggers did – including Katherine at “The Writerly Reader” who has also become a mainstay in the DMI crowd – and the year after that even more, including the “Behold the Stars” blog, which added the wrinkle of reading essays, poetry, and plays in addition to short tories. So, though it’s hard for me to believe, the Deal Me In Challenge is now entering its sixth year! If you’d like to try this challenge (or any of its shorter variations) the explanation of how it works and the sign up post may be found here. Won’t you join me in 2016?

Since 2016 is the year of (my home state) Indiana’s Bicentennial, I wanted to theme my short story reading challenge this year related to the ongoing celebration of our 200th birthday.  So… I am reading exclusively “Indiana stories” (stories written by an Indiana author, or having some Indiana connection) this year, and even throwing some short non-fiction into the mix for the first time.  I’ve also dubbed this year’s challenge Deal Me “IN” since IN is the postal abbreviation for Indiana. 🙂  Is there any end to my cleverness? Ha ha ha. Not yet, because I’ve also located an Indiana deck of cards which I’ll be using as my short story deck.  It features 14 unique pictures (see below) with, for example, the “2” of each suit having the same picture on its face.

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Below I share my roster for 2016. Take a look and let me know what you think. I’ve included four wild cards, as has become my habit, so I am open to suggestions to help fill those slots.  I’ve separated my selections into suits with a common theme: Magazines & Literary Journals, Contemporary Writers, Non-Fiction, and Indiana “Legends.”

♥♥♥ Hearts (from Indiana-related Magazines and Literary Journals) ♥♥♥

♥A♥Letter to the Man in Carnivorous Plants – Lauren Ann Bolton (week 20)

♥2♥– *wild card* Siddhartha – Abe Aamidor (week 19)

♥3♥Everything Strange and Unknown – Joe Meno (week 33)

♥4♥A Conversation with Tim O’Brien – James J. Hanna (week 31)

♥5♥I Can Hear the Clicking at Night – Ann Gamble (week 7)

♥6♥Ransom Place – Corey Dalton (week 24)

♥7♥The Gods of Indianapolis – Jason de Koff (week 3)

♥8♥The Devil and James Whitcomb Riley – Jason Roscoe (week 30)

♥9♥The Passeur – E.E. Lyons (week 18)

♥10♥Come Go With Me – Nora Bonner (week 9)

♥J♥A Hundred Ways to Do it Wrong – Emily Temple (week 40)

♥Q♥  – Drills – Laura Citino (week 5)

♥K♥Not in Kansas Anymore – Rocco Versaci (week 39)

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♠♠♠  Spades (Indiana-related short non-fiction works) ♠♠♠

♠A♠ – Poet, Prophet and Philosopher (Max Ehrmann) – Fred Cavinder (week 34)

♠2♠ – *wild card* Working a Jigsaw (Barb Shoup) (week 52)

♠3♠ – God Bless You Mr. Vonnegut: And Farewell – David Hoppe (week 17)

♠4♠ – Men From Mars – Ernie Pyle (week 27)

♠5♠ – Profiles in Survival: Eleanor M. Garen – John Shivley (week 44)

♠6♠ – The Gentleman of the Press in Skirts (Janet Flanner) – Fred Cavinder (week 15)

♠7♠ – Educational Testing: Just Another Job – David Hoppe (week 50)

♠8♠ – The B-29s – Ernie Pyle (week 32)

♠9♠ – Profiles in Survival: James Duckworth – John Shivley (week 46)

♠10♠ – Politics and Poetry (John Milton Hay) – Fred Cavinder (week 21)

♠J♠ – Peyton Manning – Champion: This Doesn’t Happen Very Often – David Hoppe (week 29)

♠Q♠ – Life on a Flat Top – Ernie Pyle (week 4)

♠K♠ – Songs of Experience: Bob Dylan at the Egyptian Room – David Hoppe (week 41)

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♦♦♦  Diamonds (contemporary writers with an Indiana connection)  ♦♦♦

♦A♦Fort Wayne is Seventh on Hitler’s List – Michael Martone (week 49)

♦2♦ – *wild card*(& guest post!) Play Like I’m Sheriff – Jack Cady  (week 12)

♦3♦The Penance of Scoot McCutcheon – Frank Bill (week 22)

♦4♦Missing Athena – Josh Green (week 14)

♦5♦It Came From Burr County – Marian Allen (week 16)

♦6♦The Circle Effect – Diana Catt (week 35)

♦7♦What Happens in Hell Stays in Hell – Clint Smith (week 11)

♦8♦Shadowed – Christine Johnson (week 10)

♦9♦And One for the Road – Joanna Parypinski (week 2)

♦10♦Schliemann in Indianapolis – Michael Martone (week 28)

♦J♦Murder on Indiana Avenue – Andrea Smith (week 51)

♦Q♦Uncle Sack – Murphy Edwards (week 43)

♦K♦The Table of the Elements – J T Whitehead (week 37)

♣♣♣  Clubs (“Legendary” Indiana authors)  ♣♣♣

♣A♣ – A Reward of Merit – Booth Tarkington (week 13)

♣2♣ – *wild card* The Boyhood of Christ – Lew Wallace (week 25)

♣3♣ – The Boarded Window – Ambrose Bierce (week 45)

♣4♣ – Harrison Bergeron – Kurt Vonnegut (week 36)

♣5♣ – The Old Soldier’s Story – James Whitcomb Riley (week 38)

♣6♣ – Autumn Full of Apples – Dan Wakefield (week 26)

♣7♣ – The Pedagogue – Maurice Thompson (week 47)

♣8♣ – Mr Blake’s Walking Stick – Edward Eggleston (week 1)

♣9♣ – The Beautiful Lady – Booth Tarkington (week 48)

♣10♣ – The Legend of Potato Creek – Maurice Thompson (week 8)

♣J♣ – Next Door – Kurt Vonnegut (week 23)

♣Q♣ – Bobby and the Keyhole: A Hoosier Fairy Tale – Edward Eggleston (week 6)

♣K♣ – The Haunted Valley – Ambrose Bierce (week 42)


MY SOURCES:

Hearts: “Booth” – the literary journal of Butler University (Indianapolis); “Punchnel’s” – an online journal here in Indianapolis; most of the stories from this source will also be part of the “Mythic Indy” anthology; “Midwestern Gothic” –a Midwestern literary journal (a couple with an Indiana connection from this one);  “Indiana Review” – a literary journal managed by Indiana University. I had to buy a couple issues to fill these spots.  They won’t arrive until mid -January, so I hope I don’t draw these cards first!

Diamonds: Story collections: “Fort Wayne is Seventh on Hitler’s List: Indiana Stories” by Michael Martone, “Crimes in Southern Indiana” stories by Frank Bill; “Dirtyville Rhapsodies” stories by Josh Green (I learned of Green via his former professor at an author event at Bookmama’s bookstore*); “The Worst Book in the Universe” stories by the “Southern Indiana Writers Group,” “Decades of Dirt” stories from the ‘Speed City’ chapter of “Sisters of Crime”; “Ghouljaw” stories by Clint Smith; “Terror Train 2” a horror story anthology produced by a Hoosier small press, James Ward Kirk Fiction; “Defy the Dark” anthology of short stories; “Mistresses of the Macabre” short story anthology; “The Periodic Table of Elements” – a poetry collection.

Spades: “Forgotten Hoosiers: Profiles from Indiana’s Hidden History” by Fred Cavinder, “Personal Indianapolis” mostly humor and satire writing on Indianapolis-related themes; “Last Chapter” by Ernie Pyle; “Profiles in Survival” by John Shivley

Clubs: “Welcome to the Monkey House” short story collection of Kurt Vonnegut; “The Best American Short Stories of 1966” (contains the Dan Wakefield story); “The Collected Works of James Whitcomb Riley”; public domain for the Ambrose Bierce stories; “Collected Short Stories” Booth Tarkington; “Queer Stories for Boys and Girls” Edward Eggleston; “Hoosier Mosaics” stories by Maurice Thompson.

I hope to include some mention of how I chose the stories I did when I post about them individually, and maybe explain their Indiana “credentials”, especially if I’ve had to stretch the requirement a bit (Bierce, for example, though not from Indiana, did serve in the Indiana 9th Infantry Division for three years of the U.S. Civil War)

*Special thanks to Kathleen at Bookmama’s bookstore also, as she helped me round out my roster on a spending spree at her store last Saturday. J

Read-a-thon post #5 (final)

Well, I’m never doing that again! Well, maybe I will, it was an entertaining – if draining – challenge. I cheated a bit at the end this morning, as I was only ten pages from the end of my last book when time expired, but I kept reading out of momentum and finished seventeen minutes late. (I figure I had a 30 minute cushion in the bank from my unplanned interruption yesterday, though, so that’s my rationalization).

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New reading since my last post included finishing The Right Kind of Wrong, reading Saul Bellow’s short story “Looking for Mr. Green,” and finishing the pre-read-a-thon-started non fiction book, “No Plot, no Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days” by Chris Baty (Hey, NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, you know) 🙂

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My final unofficial “stats” are as follows:

Four books completed
Okay, so two I had started before the read-a-thon and joined in medias res, and one of those two was only fifty pages from the end, but so what? And the other two were quite short. One was 173 pages and the other was more of a novella at only 75 pages.

Five short stories read
I thought I might end up reading “just a bunch of short stories” during this event but I’m glad I kept them to a respectable number.

Total pages read:
Probably about 455. That doesn’t sound like that many, but I’m a slow reader (a condition I curse almost daily), usually in the neighborhood of 30-45 pages an hour.

Total time spent reading:
I was diligent about keeping exact track of this until about 6 p.m. but kind of got distracted later. My best estimate would be about 11 1/2 hours. I only slept about 5 1/2 hours. The great mystery is: what did I do during all the rest of the twenty-four hours?? I can come up with an explanation of about 3.5 of them, but that still leaves 3.5. Did I fall asleep during the day? Did I do the math wrong in my early counting? Next time – if there is a next time – I’ll just have to keep an old fashioned log book or something.

Well, that’s it for me. I look forward to posting in more detail about some of this burst of reading in the near future. Thanks to all the read-a-thon cheerleaders and others who visited Bibliophilopolis during this event. I hope you enjoyed your visit and come back in the future.

-Jay

Time for a Read-a-thon!

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I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and I’ve often seen posts by my fellow bloggers about upcoming “Read-a-thon” events. I’ve often wanted to participate, but they always seemed to fall on an inconvenient date for me. Not so this time! Tomorrow, 10-12, is the “Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon” event, and guess what? It’s also the start of my staycation! So, I’m going to take the plunge and see how much I can read in the twenty-four hours starting when I get up tomorrow morning.

Since this is my first time, I’ll not likely be doing anything besides just reading (there are a lot ancillary events going on) and perhaps updating my progress regularly here on my blog. Hundreds of bloggers are participating. Are you one of them? Looking at the sign up list, I don’t recognize many of the blogs and bloggers so this may also be a good way to discover some new and interesting book blogs. Maybe some fellow participants will even discover mine? 🙂

Weekends are a prime reading time for me anyway, so this won’t be a great personal sacrifice to me (unless I forego my normally scheduled Saturday visit to BW3s to play Buzztime Trivia – hey, maybe I could make that a personal reward if I can reach a certain threshold of pages or books or stories?) Ooh, good idea, Jay. 🙂

Later tonight or early tomorrow morning I’ll post a tentative schedule and list of potential reads for those who want to play along at home.

More information about the read-a-thon maybe found at: http://24hourreadathon.com/

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Challenge Accepted!

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Okay, I’ve caved in and will be participating in a reading challenge. I am cheating a bit, though, since I would have likely met the requirements anyway by my normal reading patterns. I guess I didn’t need to admit that, did I? 🙂

Anyway, it’s the “R.I.P. VIII” challenge. RIP standing for “readers imbibing peril”(!) I love it! There are various levels of participation, but I – not surprisingly – have selected the “Peril of the Short Story” option. In September and October I will read and post about several (maybe more 😉 …) short stories in the “Mystery, Suspense, Triller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, and Supernatural” genres. You are welcome to join me in this challenge – if you dare! Here is a link to the host site.

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And now I’m off to pick out some stories for this. As always, I will happily accept recommendations from readers and fellow citizens of Bibliophilopolis…

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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