#24in48 Update #1:

If you read my last post, you know I’m participating in the “24in48” challenge this weekend, the goal being to spend 24 of the 48 hours (between midnight Friday to midnight Sunday) reading. I’m spicing up my challenge by playing a mini-game of Deal Me In, with 24 short stories each assigned to a card in a euchre deck of paying cards. My list of stories I’ll be reading is in my previous post.

I got up extra early today and have read five stories so far. I’m also going to rate the stories using the rank of cards in the trump suit in euchre, from “Right Bower” (the best, i.e. “five star” rating) proceeding downward from Left Bower, Ace, King, Queen, Ten to a “nine” as being my equivalent of a one star rating. (I doubt any stories of this poor quality made it past my screening process, but we’ll see.) A quick recap of the first five:

Story #1 “The Dead Hand Loves You” – Margaret Atwood: the first card I draw is a forty-two page story?! Wow. Probably the longest of my deck. This was a great story, though. A “starving writer” makes a deal with his three college roommates, who he owes 3+ months rent to, that he’ll split any proceeds of the novel he’s working on with them if they forgive his debt and extend his residency another month. No one expects his work to have any market value but, lo, he writes a cult horror classic!

My rating: Ace

Story #2 “Lusus Naturae” – Margaret Atwood

I learned a lot of vocabulary with two Atwood stories right out of the gate! I didn’t know or had forgotten that lusus naturae is a term for freakof nature, which describes the (unreliable?) narrator of this shorter Atwood story. The family of a child who would be more at home in a circus side show is Embarrassed by her and fakes her death so that the rest of them, including a sister hopeful of making a good marriage, may have a chance at a normal life. Things are going okay until the neighbors find out…

My rating: Left Bower

Story #3 “The Power of Words” by Edgar Allen Poe

The deck of cards I’m using for this project features “animals” and the one I drew for this story has a butterfly on it. Appropriate, since this Poe “story” is really more like a dialog from the Greek Philosophers, the subject of which would today be called “The Butterfly Effect”

My rating: Queen

Story #4 “The Domain of Arnheim” by Edgar Allen Poe

It’s true that it was “in Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree” but Poe’s insanely rich character, Ellis, searches the world for a suitable place to create a work of art from nature, which by the end of the story we learn is the titular “domain.” I was unaware of this Poe story before today, but it is one that made quite an impression on me.

My rating: Left Bower

Story #5 “The Beauties” by Anton Chekhov

Shout out to my blogging colleague at Short Story Magic Tricks for piquing my interest in this one last week. There’s not much a “plot” here, it’s almost more of an essay on the effect the beauty (feminine beauty, in this case) can have on a man. You know when Chekhov writes something like “I saw the bewitching features of the most beautiful face I have ever met in real life or in my dreams,” that you’re in for a treat of a story.

My rating: Ace

That’s where I stand now at about 730am. How is YOUR 24in48 Readathon proceeding? Have you read any of these five stories? Okay, enough time wasted… I’m “going back in!” See you after five more stories. Maybe. 🙂