Posted in Short Stories

Looking Forward to Deal Me In 2016!

It’s that time of the year when I post my new Deal Me In list. Deal Me In is a short story challenge (I actually consider it more of a project) hosted each year by Jay at Bibliophilopolis. Participants create their own list of 52 short stories and assign each one to a card in a regular deck of playing cards.  As there are 52 weeks in a year, participants randomly select a card each week to determine which story to read and post about if they so choose.  2016 will be the fourth year I have participated and it’s introduced me to a ton of new authors and a great appreciation for the short story form.

In 2016, I’ve opted for a topical theme for the stories I’ll be reading.  The stories in each suit have a general topic in common and here is where you can find my Deal Me In 2016 list of stories.  Below is a brief explanation of each suit:


Legend has it that St. Patrick used the clover to illustrate the concept of the Trinity so I decided to use Clubs for stories by authors that have some connection to Catholicism.  Most (not all) of these stories are coming from an anthology The Best American Catholic Short Stories edited by Daniel McVeigh and Patricia Schnapp. I’m looking forward to exploring these stories to see what they have might have in common.


Since the diamond is an intregal shape in the game of baseball, I’m using Diamonds for stories about baseball.  Something about the game lends itself well to fiction. I’m curious as to what I might find out by reading a series of stories involving the sport. Most of these stories are coming from the collection Baseball’s Best Short Stories edited by Paul D. Staudohar.


They say “home is where the heart is” and for the past nine years my home has been Kentucky, so Hearts is my suit for authors with a connection to the Bluegrass state.  Most of these stories are coming from Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories edited by Morris Allen Grubbs.


OK, this isn’t really a topic, but I’ve used Spades for stories that happen to already be on my shelf but haven’t been read, yet. I admit that this was also an excuse to include a few favorite authors on my list again this year. At the same time, a few favorite authors are not included on my list this year; however, expect to see some week-long readings involving these authors.

An interesting side note: I determined the categories first with a general rule that I wouldn’t include multiple stories by the same author within an individual category.  I was surprised to find out that three authors showed up in three categories and three authors are included in two categories.

And I also included my obligatory Christmas story just to see what time of year it might get selected.  It’s pretty easy to figure out which story that is. As in previous years, the Two’s in each suit are wild to give me an opportunity to read stories or authors that I discover along the way.



5 thoughts on “Looking Forward to Deal Me In 2016!

  1. Wow, what completely different themes! The differences will make the challenge interesting for you, I think. I really like your idea of having wild cards; I’m going to adopt this idea, if you don’t mind. Sometimes a story might catch my interest and it would be nice to have a slot to fit it in.

    I hope for me this challenge goes better this coming year than last, but even so, it has focused me to read stories/essays that I would not have normally read, so if I just get through some of them, it will be time well spent.

    1. I enjoyed reading about the essays you had on your list for 2015. I need to figure out a way to incorporate more essays in my reading. That might be a goal of mine in 2016. Some of my favorite authors, Wendell Berry, Flannery O’Connor, Marilynne Robinson, all have collections of essays.

      The Wild Cards have worked really well for me and by all means feel free to use it. I look forward to seeing what you will read in 2016!

  2. I really like your suits and particularly the reasons you assigned them the way you did. I look forward to following your progress, as always!

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