Deal Me In – Week 31 Wrap Up



A busy week here at the Deal Me In 2014 Offices!


Latest on potential publication of “new” Salinger work:

Have you heard of “Teffi?” I hadn’t.

And we thought we were doing good to read 52 stories a year? How about 4,000?(!)

Are short stories “Literary palate-cleansers?”


Another blogger is joining the Deal Me In challenge! Bellezza of Dolce Bellezza has created a list. Check out her intro post – and way cool picture – at

James reads Grace Paley and Raymond Chandler and shares impressions on their stories, “Come On, Ye Sons of Art” and “No Crime in the Mountains”

I read Gertrude Atherton’s “The Bell in the Fog” (Atherton was recommended to me by Paula of “Paula Cappa’s blog”) I haven’t finished my post yet ’cause I left my notes at the office Friday.

Dale enjoyed another Herman Melville story, this time tackling “The Encantadas

Randall posts about William Gay’s “Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You?”

Katherine’s David Copperfield anthologies continue to (finally) live up to her expectations, this week with Tad Williams’ story “The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of

Candiss is back and shares her thoughts on Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain” (This story is DMI2014’s fifth “twin,” as James also covered it in May; in case you missed it, his take is at )

Bellezza posts about “In a Grove” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

I think that’s it for this week. Hope I didn’t miss anybody. (As always feel free to add an additional link in the comments). See you next time!

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 20 Wrap Up


I trust everyone is enjoying Short Story Reading Month? Below are links to new posts I’ve found since last week’s wrap-up. As always, please try to visit your fellow DMI-ers’ posts, leaving a comment or ’liking’ them if you can. 🙂

James at read two stories: Henry James’ “The Private Life” and Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain.” I hadn’t heard of the second story before, but the premise is fascinating. Check out his post at

Dale of Mirror With Clouds read Anton Chekhov’s “The Bet”

Candiss at Read the Gamut is in the midst of the Bout of Books Readathon. She found time to read Ted Chiang’s ” The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling.” Her post will be forthcoming after the BoBR has been completed.

Katherine at The Writerly Reader drew a winner with her ten of hearts (same card I drew this week!) and read George Guthridge’s “Chin Oil.” Read her post at to find out more about this story

Returning Reader rejoins us with two stories: James Joyce’s “Araby” and Maaza Mengiste’s “A Good Soldier”

Susan at Avid Series Reader add a couple more reviews on Shelfari scroll down to the bottom to see her thoughts on Doran Larson’s “Morphine” and Bliss Broyard’s “Mr. Sweetly Indecent” at

I read a new-to-me author Roxane Gay and thoroughly enjoyed her story “North Country.” I hope to have my post up later tonight or tomorrow morning. 🙂

That’s it for now. See you next Sunday with another wrap up. In the meantime, keep those cards flying!

Today I drew the six of diamonds… (week 3 of Project: Deal Me In!)

Tobias Wolff’s short story, “Hunters in the Snow”

This is the third short story in my “Deal Me In!” reading project for 2011. This morning I drew the six of diamonds from my deck of cards, and then checked my list to see which story that meant I would treat myself to today. I was taken a little by surprise in that I drew a card for a story I don’t currently own a copy of. Dang! I had hoped for a little more time to fully stock/(stack?) my deck, but not to worry, I had my Nook and Nook App for the iPad, and I can buy practically any book from either of these in a matter of moments. But alas, I searched on Barnes& assuming I’d find a collection that includes it, but nothing. Then I thought, “well, I’ll just stop in Borders when I’m downtown later today,” but also wondered if they’d even have it. So I did a little research on-line and what do I come across but a free copy(!) It’s at If you’d like to read it too.

It’s only just under 6,000 words so I “read it immediately.” It’s an odd story, in which several things aren’t immediately revealed. There are three main characters, Kenny, Frank, and Tub. None are really described physically, although Tub is confirmed to be overweight first by context and later by dialogue. The story begins with Tub waiting (for over an hour, in the cold) at the side of the street form his friends to pick him up so they can go hunting. Without the descriptions, I at first thought Tub was a youth (I mean aren’t young people more often “waiting on a ride” than adults?) Later his troubles getting across/through a barbed wire fence and his struggles to keep up with his companions confirmed for me that he was supposed to be overweight. (As if his very name couldn’t have clued me in – duh! Real sharp there, Jay) Anyway they begin their hunt and an “accident” happens.

***Spoiler Alert***

After Tub misses some obvious deer tracks (and is teased about that) the hunters encounter a “No Hunting” sign but decide to go to the owner of the land’s house and ask permission to hunt, which is then granted. As they begin, they are hounded by the owners very old dog and Kenny begins to act strangely. First, he eyes an old post and says, “I hate that post,” and promptly shoots it. Then he points to a tree and says “I hate that tree,” and shoots it too. Then, as the old dog increases his barking, he says, “I hate that dog,” and I’m thinking “no, come on, now,” but Bam! he shoots the dog dead too. (Now I’m mad.) The others protest – especially Tub, who says “what did that dog ever do to you?” at this point Kenny says to Tub, “And I hate YOU.” Tub is no idiot (well, maybe he IS a bit of an idiot) and “knows” what is coming next so shoots Kenny first in “self defense.”

Kenny protests that he “was only kidding around,” and is bleeding profusely from the abdomen. Kenny’s bullying of the others (naturally) ceases, and they carry him back to the truck and go back to the house of the farmer who owns the land they’re on to call an ambulance. None are available and the nearest hospital is fifty miles away. Tub “confesses” to the farmer that “our friend shot your dog,” but learns that the man had asked him to, since the dog was so old and the farmer couldn’t bring himself to do the deed himself. Kenny’s not having let his friends in on the knowledge of this request is apparently typical of his prankish behavior.

The story turns a little surreal at this point, as Frank and Tub seem to lack any real since of urgency about Kenny’s condition. They write down directions to the hospital

and set off with Kenny stowed away in the bed of the truck. It’s almost as though – with Kenny’s more powerful and overbearing personality removed – they no longer know how to act. Frank “confesses” that he is in love with his fifteen (but, soon to be sixteen – Frank knows the date and time down to the minute) year-old babysitter, while Tub confesses that he is “secret eater” – even though people think he’s dieting, he has food cached away everywhere (earlier, on the hunt, when the three eat together, he has a hard-boiled egg and some celery, but later when they are separated for awhile, he eats the two sandwiches and cookies that he also brought).

As they talk, they decide to stop at a roadhouse to warm up (the windshield of the truck has a hole in it which makes those in the cab just as cold as poor Kenny, who they nonchalantly leave bleeding in the bed of the truck while they go inside for coffee). Tub leaves the directions to the hospital behind when they go, but Frank thinks he remembers them. The story ends with Kenny, whose head is toward the front of the truck, watching the north star in the space between his feet in the back of the truck. The North Star is also the direction of the hospital. They took a wrong turn and are driving in the wrong direction…

Tobias Wolff was suggested to me by Chelle at

I can’t say that I fully understood the deeper meaning behind this story, but maybe some of my thoughts above are “close.” What about you? Have you read this story – or any others by Tobias Wolff? What were your thoughts and reactions?

Author Tobias Wolff