Friday, January 27, 2017

Deal Me In 2017 -- My Reading List

Back in 2014 and 2015, I started following the Deal Me In short story reading plan as championed by Jay at Bibliophilopolis. I got about halfway through 2015 before life got in the way and I lost interest.

However, this year I have mysteriously regained interest, even though life is even MORE in the way this time, if that's possible. But I am still attracted to the challenge.

So I am hereby presenting my Deal Me In reading list for 2017. This time around, I am taking a leaf from Jay's book to help create my reading list. Last year he arranged his Deal Me In list to include only stories with an Indiana connection, in honor of that state's bicentennial. Well, 2017 is Mississippi's bicentennial year, and while I am not a native, I have lived here for 23 years so that should count for something, I suppose. And while I am not industrious enough to devote my entire deck of cards/stories to the state, I think I should dedicate at least one or two of the suits to stories by Mississippi authors, or stories with a Mississippi flavor or setting. If there's one enduring heritage of the state, it is its literary heritage. The other suits will have a bit of creativity in them as well, perhaps.Some of the stories were chosen because I was already familiar with the writer's other work, and some of the stories were chosen on the basis of their irresistible titles.

So, the four suits for this year's reading are assigned as follows:

Spades: Stephen King old and new (chosen from his anthologies Night Shift [old] and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams [new])
Diamonds: science fiction and fantasy (chosen from Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder, edited by David Hartwell; and Twenty-First Century Science Fiction, edited by David Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden)
Hearts: stories by Mississippi authors (various sources)
Clubs: mystery/detective stories set in Mississippi (chosen from Mississippi Noir, edited by Tom Franklin)

And here are the stories:


Spades (Stephen King old and new -- Ace through 7 are from Night Shift, and 8 through King are from The Bazaar of Bad Dreams):
Ace: "The Boogeyman" (Week 8)
2: "Jerusalem's Lot" (Week 18)
3: "Gray Matter"
4: "The Lawnmower Man"
5: "Children of the Corn" (Week 10)
6: "Quitters, Inc." (Week 26)
7: "The Ledge"
8: "Batman and Robin Have an Altercation"
9: "Mister Yummy"
10: "Cookie Jar"
Jack: "The Little Green God of Agony" (Week 1)
Queen: "Morality" (Week 5)
King: "The Bone Church"


Diamonds (science fiction/fantasy):
Ace: "Prince Bull" by Charles Dickens (Week 2)
2: "The Triumph of Vice" by W.S. Gilbert (Week 7)
3: "Darkness Box" by Ursula K. LeGuin (Week 15)
4: "On the Downhill Side" by Harlan Ellison
5: "Lila the Werewolf" by Peter S. Beagle (Week 4)
6: "A Proper Santa Claus" by Anne McCaffrey (Week 3)
7: "The Calculus Plague" by Marissa Lingen
8: "Evil Robot Monkey" by Mary Robinette Kowal (Week 13)
9: "The Education of Junior Number 12" by Madeline Ashby
10: "Chicken Little" by Cory Doctorow (Week 14)
Jack: "Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction" by Jo Walton (Week 19)
Queen: "How to Become a Mars Overlord" by Catherynne M. Valente (Week 23)
King: "Bread and Bombs" by M. Rickert (Week 6)

Hearts (Mississippi authors, with Faulkner, Welty, and Spencer each getting a double dip):
Ace: "The Tall Men" by William Faulkner
2: "Why I Live at the P.O." by Eudora Welty (Week 21)
3: "One-Man Band" by Lewis Nordan
4: "On the Hill" by Elizabeth Spencer (Week 25)
5: "Man of All Work" by Richard Wright (Week 20)
6: "Garter Snake" by Donna Tartt
7: "The Apprentice" by Larry Brown (Week 22)
8: "Charity" by Richard Ford
9: "I Just Love Carrie Lee" by Ellen Douglas
10: "A Southern Landscape" by Elizabeth Spencer (Week 12)
Jack: "Uncle High Lonesome" by Barry Hannah
Queen: "Circe" by Eudora Welty (Week 16)
King: "Mountain Victory" by William Faulkner

Clubs (mystery/detective set in Mississippi):
Ace: "Losing Her Religion" by RaShell R. Smith-Spears
2: "Oxford Girl" by Megan Abbott
3: "Most Things Haven't Worked Out" by William Boyle (Week 9)
4: "Cheap Suitcase and a New Town" by Chris Offutt
5: "God's Gonna Trouble the Water" by Dominiqua Dickey (Week 11)
6: "Moonface" by Andrew Paul
7: "Pit Stop" by John M. Floyd
8: "Hero" by Michael Farris Smith
9: "Jerry Lewis" by Jack Pendarvis
10: "My Dear, My One True Love" by Lee Durkee (Week 24)
Jack: "Boy and Girl Games Like Coupling" by Jaime Paige
Queen: "Combustible" by Ace Atkins (Week 17)
King: "Uphill" by Mary Miller

I hope my lists intrigue you, and I hope I get through the entire list this year!


  1. Hi Randall,
    Great list - and nice to see you honoring your state's bicentennial as well! I've enjoyed a lot of Stephen King stories over the years, but don't remember specifically reading any of the titles on your list. In fact, I only see one story in your entire deck that I KNOW I've read before. Good luck with the challenge this year!

  2. Thanks, Jay! I am actually re-reading several of these stories this year, so I am hoping that will keep the ball rolling for me.

  3. Great list! I am hoping to explore some of William Faulkner's work this year. I read Chris Offut's story "Barred Owl" in 2016 and enjoyed it. Your Mississippi Noir list sounds fascinating. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about those stories.