Deal Me In: Short Story Reading Challenge 2014

Deal Me In

This challenge, hosted by Jay (Bibliophilopolis), looks really interesting.  It involves reading 52 short stories, one per week, over the course of the year, choosing each week’s story by drawing a card at random from a deck of playing cards, and reading the story that has been assigned in advance to that card!  Full details at the sign-up post, here.

I’ve already got one book of short stories on my TBR list for 2014: The Granta Book of the African Short Story.  And I’d like to read it – and any other short stories – in a thoughtful way, not just rushing from one story to the next.  Focusing on just one a week sounds like a good way of doing that.  So I’ve chosen more stories to make 52 altogether, and I’m in!

29 of these stories (marked * below) are from The Granta Book of the African Short Story, ten (marked %) are from Flavorwire’s “10 Wonderful Short Stories to Read For Free Online”, two (marked %2) are from the same website’s “10 (More) Wonderful Short Stories to Read for Free Online“, and eleven (marked <>) have been chosen at random from online listings of classic short stories.

Here is my list:


2H: A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor %
3H: The School, Donald Barthelme %
4H: In the Penal Colony, Franz Kafka %
5H: Signs and Symbols, Vladimir Nabokov %
6H: Gooseberries, Anton Chekhov %
7H: Sea Oak, George Saunders %
8H: The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, Ursula K. LeGuin %
9H: The Veldt, Ray Bradbury %
10H: The Bear Came Over the Mountain, Alice Munro %
JH: The Nose, Nikolai Gogol %
QH: Desirée’s Baby, Kate Chopin <>
KH: The Mouse, Saki <>
AH: The Sniper, Liam O’Flaherty <>


2S: Eva is Inside Her Cat, Gabriel Garcia Marquez <>
3S: The Stranger, Katherine Mansfield <>
4S: A Haunted House, Virginia Woolf <>
5S: Araby, James Joyce <>
6S: The Library of Babel, Jorge Luis Borges %2
7S: The Half-Skinned Steer, E. Annie Proulx %2
8S: The Coming Out of Maggie, O Henry <>
9S: The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Ernest Hemmingway <>
10S: A Child’s Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas <>
JS: Death Makes a Comeback, James O’Keefe <>
QS: The Arrangers of Marriage, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie *
KS:Faeries of the Nile, Mansoura Ez-Eldin *
AS: Stickfighting Days, Olufemi Terry *


2D: Dancing to the Jazz Goblin and His Rhythm, Brian Chikwava *
3D: Promenade, Henrietta Rose-Innes *
4D: An Ex-mas Feast, Uwem Akpan *
5D: Ships in High Transit, Binyavanga Wainina *
6D: The Moustached Man, Patrice Nganang *
7D: A Good Soldier, Maaza Mengiste *
8D: Préférence Nationale, Fatou Diome *
9D: Homecoming, Laila Lalami *
10D: Street of the House of Wonders, Rachida el-Charni *
JD: Bumsters, E. C. Osondu *
QD: Passion, Doreen Baingana *
KD: The Fugitive, Alain Mabanckou *
AD: Haywards Heath, Aminatta Forna *


2C: Missing Out, Leila Aboulela *
3C: Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals, Yvonne Vera *
4C: The Centre of the World, George Makana Clark *
5C: Propaganda by Monuments, Ivan Vladislavic *
6C: Mme Zita Mendes, a Last Image, Alaa al Aswany *
7C: An Unexpected Death, Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa *
8C: The Homecoming, Mily Jafta *
9C: Oxford, Black Oxford, Dambuzdo Marechera *
10C: You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town, Zoe Wicomb *
JC: Cages, Abdulrazak Gurna *
QC: The Last Bordello, Manuel Rui *
KC: The Eyes of the Statue, Camera Laye *
AC: Slipper Satin, Alex La Guma *

3 thoughts on “Deal Me In: Short Story Reading Challenge 2014

  1. Great list, RR! It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I haven’t read any of the stories from the African Short Story Book. Sadly, my reading hasn’t often ventured to that continent, but short stories would likely be a good introduction for me.

    Of the others I’ve read seven, and think you are in for a real treat with some of them. There are also about seven authors on your list that I’ve read, just not those particular stories, & I think your Proulx story made the cut on my list this year too.

    I hope you enjoy doing this challenge as much as I have the past few years. I also love how “the luck of the draw” has – surprisingly often – seemed to give me just the right story at the right time. I hope that happens in your reading too. 🙂


  2. RR: I really like your list. I read Flannery O’Connor’s collection last year and found it to be amazing! And “Signs and Symbols” has been on my radar for a while. I may have to use that for one of my wild card selections. I’m looking forward to this project in 2014. It was a lot of fun in 2013.

  3. Wonderful list! I love that you are incorporating so many stories from Africa. I am very interested in hearing your thoughts on all of these. Happy reading!

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