Tag Archives: deal me in

Deal Me In 2022, Week 1

Deal Me In logo pic

All the Deal Me In details.

Card Picked: 5♠️
Story: “Drip” by Shreya Vikram
List: Recommended by Nightfire

Thoughts:
Well, I started the year off with quite a story. Nightfire is Tor’s horror imprint and they post a monthly “best of” of horror stories published online. I haven’t in the past availed myself of their lists, but if this story is an indication, their picks are good ones, heavy on the horror.

I can’t say I totally understood everything going on in “Drip.” The narrator is definitely deranged and in an abusive situation that is pretty over-the-top. He becomes obsessed with dripping of the dirty faucet. Or at least the sound of it, which seems to only be in his head. Everything in this story, including the faucet and the basin below it, is dirty and spoiled. The only freedom for the narrator and his many brothers is when their father is gone, laying in mourning over the grave of his father and father’s fathers. I suspect the faucet and the drip are allegorical (is the faucet their . . . mother?), but none of my theories exactly fit.

The story reminds me of the X-Files episode “Home,” though that family was infinitely more loving.

Other Short Stories

I feel like I read more short stories this week, but really I only read one aside from any in Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown.

“Sheer in the Sun, They Pass” by Hester J. Rook – There are many, many takes on hauntings and ghosts and this was a new one on me.

Writing & Reading Notes, 10/21/21

Writing Notes

Yeah, I’m going to do NaNoWriMo. I plan on revisiting a project I’ve been tinkering with for *years*, but this time from a different angle. Between now and Nov. 1, I have a couple short stories I’ll play ping-pong with. Currently, I have one short story out in the world; it has racked up one rejection thus far.

Finished Reading

The Ones Who Are Waving by Glen Hirshberg

I’m happy any October when I realize that one of my favorite horror authors has an anthology out with some material I haven’t read yet. I was just about to pull out The Two Sams again. Even better? A sequel “Mr. Dark’s Carnival,” one of the standouts of that previous anthology. Hirshberg also introduces his own take on the supernatural detective with a trio of “Normal and Nadine Adventures.”

Deal Me In

Speaking of supernatural mysteries, I finally picked the ace of spades which was “Judge Dee and the Limits of the Law” by Lavie Tidhar. Judge Dee is the final word in matters of vampire law, which aren’t always straightforward. There are two other Judge Dee stories online and I might get to them this weekend.

Currently Reading


I’ll probably do Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon this weekend, so I’ll have a more in-depth “currently reading” post on Saturday.

Reading Challenge Check-In, 9/30/21

Haven’t done a proper reading challenge check-in since the beginning of July. I’ve been blogging so much about movies lately that one might even wonder if I still read! I do, but I really enjoy movies too.

The Classics Club

Goal: 10 Books by 12/14/21
Progress: 7/10

✅ I’m more or less on track, but with no room to spare. I am also about a quarter of the way through The Devil’s Elixirs (I forgot that my version is in two volumes.)

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

Shelf Maintenance / Unwieldy Library

Goal: Abstain from acquiring books; read at least 21 books from my shelves.
Progress: I’ve acquired 14 titles (including six ARCs and a preorder), 12/21+

❌ By the middle of July, I had cataloged all my owned books, both physical and electronic. On July 15th, I owned 561 unread titles. Right now, that’s down 551, mostly due to some short story titles I blew through. It’s doubtful that I’m going to get to 21 full length books by the end of the year since I’ve been distracted by so many ARCs and library books!

Additional note: I’m pretty much no longer using Goodreads. I’m keeping track of my “currently reading/read” myself (which I’ve always done), cataloging my “owned” library at LibraryThing, and only keeping “wishlists” on various library accounts. This might cause me to look at my own shelves before borrowing or buying, but it hasn’t worked that way yet.

I Read Horror Year-Round

Goal: Read 6 books from 6 categories.
Progress: 4/6

✅ On-track. I have books that would cover two more categories on my fall TBR. So far I’ve read:

  • A body of water (featured in story, on cover, or in title): The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson
  • Written by a woman: Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren
  • Ghosts or spirits: A Thin Ghost and Others by M. R. James
  • Historical horror (must be an historical novel written by a contemporary author) Slewfoot by Brom

Dune Read-through

Goal: Read Herbert’s six Dune books by October.
Progress: I read 5 of the 6 and am voluntarily stopping with Heretics of Dune. So, I’m considering this a win! ✅

Nonfiction

Goal: Read at least 30% nonfiction.
Progress: By my reckoning, I’m currently at 37% and am reading a non-fiction book as well as a fiction book currently. ✅

Short Stories

Goal: Deal Me In each week.
Progress: Again, I have been reading my weekly Deal Me In stories, if not posting about them. I’m more likely to mention them on Twitter. 😬

Reading Notes, 8/19/21

Finished Reading

Cover: The Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow

The Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow

This is the fourth book of the Horus Heresy, a long, still on-going series of novels detailing the events that lead to the Warhammer 40K gaming setting. Despite that possibly ignominious designation, the books I’ve read in the Horus Heresy are pretty good. They are military science fiction, a sub-genre I don’t read much of, but I like the occasionally conflicted characters and the Gothic-punk aesthetic. (When I say Gothic here, I mean Visigoth, not Hot Topic goth.) I have in the past commented that often in women’s fiction there is a lot of attention paid to clothes and hair and makeup. Those books have nothing on the descriptions of armor, heraldry, and weaponry in these books. And I kind of dig it!

Searching through my old posts, I find that I read the previous installment back in…2010. I knew it had been a while, but I didn’t realize it had been that long. On the plus side, I was worried about the shift in characters after the initial trilogy of books. Since I didn’t remember much about them, Book #4 was painless to get into.

Deal Me In

Started a Twitter thread for short fiction including Deal Me In stories:

Currently Reading

Cover: Never Say You Can't Survive by Charlie Jane Anders

I intended to start reading The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Ward Radcliffe this week during Bout of Books, but I wasn’t in the mood. Luckily, a pending ARC request bailed me out. I’m reading Never Say You Can’t Survive: How to Get Through Hard Times by Making Up Stories by Charlie Jane Anders. Considering I’m trying to get back into writing and dealing with a bit of anxiety, it seemed like a book I might be interested in.

Also reading quite a few short stories.

Reading Notes, 7/22/21

Finished Reading

cover: The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho

I had read a few of Zen Cho’s short stories in the past, enjoyed them quite a bit, and added The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo to my TBR without paying too much attention to the story’s summary. As is, I often read a book’s blurb, decide whether the story sounds like something I’d enjoy, and then promptly forget about said blurb. All of the previous stories had some speculative aspect, so I was very surprised that Perilous Life does not. Mostly, this is something of a romance. Jade is a freelance writer in the 1920s who really wants to *live*. She gets into a few scrapes. Mostly she gets out of them. She’s a character I didn’t mind spending time with even if the plot wasn’t my usual thing.

This was a slump-buster for me and I fulfilled a prompt for #Trekathon: Nurse Chapel (Head Nurse) — Read a book with a face on the cover. Plus, book #7 for 20 Books of Summer.

cover: Green Shadows, White Whale by Ray Bradbury

Green Shadows, White Whale by Ray Bradbury

This is the kinda-sorta account of Ray Bradbury going to Ireland to write the screenplay for John Huston’s film adaptation of Moby-Dick. I first read this book back in 2004, well over a decade before I ever read Moby-Dick, so one is not necessary to read the other, but I had a little more context this time and better understood the end of the book when Bradbury finally cracks the script. Like many of Bradbury’s books, this one is a tapestry of stories that eventually make a whole. Some of them would seem to be quite autobiographical. There was purportedly some friction between Bradbury and Houston and both are characters here. Other stories are quite fanciful, including one obvious fiction digression, “The Banshee,” which I swear has been anthologized elsewhere. Some of the portraits of Irish people are not entirely flattering. Then again, neither are the portraits of the Yanks there making a movie…

Book #8 for 20 Books of Summer!

Deal Me In

Two of my Deal Me In stories lately have been from PseudoPod, an online horror fiction magazine/podcast. I listened to “FFUNS” by Johnny Compton and “Allochthon” by Livia Llewellyn, both of which were very good and, uh, NSFW. I haven’t been reading too much hardcore horror lately, so these were refreshing.

Currently Reading

cover: Jay's Journal of Anomalies by Ricky Jay
cover: The Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow

Currently reading Jay’s Journal of Anomalies by Ricky Jay for #Trekathon and just added The Flight of the Eisenstein which should count as a #Trekathon triple beam-up! (…It’s not that I’m not reading Heretics of Dune right now…Maybe if I watch the new trailer a couple more times.)


Reading Notes, 7/5/21

Finished Reading

A Thin Ghost and Others cover.

A Thin Ghost and Others by M.R. James

I’m very susceptible to peer (non)pressure. Or maybe it was a case of FOMO. But, anyway, Dale at Mirror with Clouds is reading through a collection of James’ tales and I was moved to read a few as well. I was going to read Journey to the Center of the Earth for my June Classics Club book, but Verne will have to wait.

I’ve said this before, probably differently, but M. R. James gets undervalued as a writer of weird literature. He gets the designation “teller of traditional English ghost stories,” but maybe I don’t understand either category. Are traditional English ghost stories full of bugs (often very large ones) and strange hairy things that are spawned from an apparently cursed wallpaper print? Sure, James has the nested narrators—someone relating a tale told to him by a friend who read the creepy historical documents—of a Christmas ghost story. Often, at least in the case of these five stories, the terrible thing has happened in the less enlightened 1700s, but make no mistake, James traffics in the uncanny.

Reading Challenge Check-In

Here we are at the halfway mark of 2021. Time for a good check-in!

Summer Challenges

10 Books of Summer graphic.

20 Books of Summer

Actually, my goal was to read 10 books between June 1st and Sept 1st, but I’ve already finished six! They’ve all been on the short side, but I’m still considering changing the goal to 15 books. Only two of the six were from my original TRB. ✅

#TrekAThon prompt graphic.

#Trekathon

#Trekathon just started July 1st. I’ve finished one prompt: read a book either set somewhere you’ve never been. A good start.

Next, I’m listening to the event group-read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, though I’ll probably switch over to reading it when my hands get tired of crocheting.

I’m feeling pretty optimistic about this readathon! 😎

Year-Long Challenges

Classic Club graphic.

The Classics Club

Goal: 10 Books by 12/14/21
Progress: 6/10

✅ I’m on track! For the second part of the year, I plan on reading a couple of longer works. I might go for a chapter-a-day strategy after I finish the Dune books.

Bookshelf picture.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

#ShelfLove / Shelf Maintenance

Goal: Abstain from acquiring books; read at least 21 books from my shelves.
Progress: I’ve acquired 12 titles (including five ARCs and a preorder), 5/21+

❌ I’ve moved on to cataloging my Kindle books on LibraryThing, which is kind of a pain. I’m through titles A–F. I’ve deleted quite a few ebooks that I downloaded for free that, frankly, I’m never going to read. As is, I’m at 453 unread of 862 titles.

I Read Horror Year-Round

Goal: Read 6 books from 6 categories.
Progress: 3/6

✅ Still on-track, more or less. So far I’ve read:

  • A body of water (featured in story, on cover, or in title): The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson
  • Written by a woman: Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren
  • Ghosts or spirits: A Thin Ghost and Others by M. R. James

Dune Read-through

Goal: Read Herbert’s 6 Dune books by October.
Progress: I managed to finish God Emperor of Dune, which is generally considered a stumbling block. I’ll admit, though, Heretics of Dune isn’t clicking with me. ✅

Nonfiction

Goal: Read at least 30% nonfiction.
Progress: Currently, at 36%. No nonfiction planned in July though. Or August. I’m not worried. I’m sure something will come up. ✅

Short Stories

Goal: Deal Me In each week and Cather Reading Project each month.
Progress: I dropped the Cather Reading Project, mostly because I felt like I wasn’t adding much to the discussions. Still reading my Deal Me In Stories, but haven’t been posting about them. 😬

Reading Notes, 6/17/21

Finished Reading

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury

A reread for me. I’m 90% sure I originally bought this books in college at UNL’s University Bookstore. Despite that I continually call this book Zen AND the Art of Writing

This was a good reread for me. I’ve been flailing around with my writing and my thoughts about being a writer. Leaving writing behind hasn’t seemed right for me, but I’ve also developed some fairly toxic attitudes toward what I should be doing instead of just enjoying writing. And writing can be difficult, so “enjoyment” is often not quite the right sentiment. Bradbury’s sheer enthusiasm is the kind of infection I need right now. I do wish the book would have presented these essays in chronological order. I think I might leave myself a note to read it that way the next time I reread it. And, no doubt, there will be a next time.

I’m resisting a Moby Dick read-through that’s happening on reddit, but I think Bradbury’s Green Shadows, White Whale will be another “writing” book to reread later on in the summer.

This is my second of “10” Books of Summer!

Deal Me In

3♠️: “Black Flowers Blossom” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
I will admit, this story is smuttier than I’m used to. Nothing against it, but my fiction tastes don’t usually run toward the erotic. But, this is a pretty neat little story following an eldritch “horror” and an occult detective through various time periods.

Currently Reading

  • The Hypno-Ripper, edited by Donald K. Hartman – Nearly finished! I plan to review it next Tuesday.
  • The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science by John Tresch – I’ve been thinking some time about the use of sciences in 19th century fiction. This book came across my radar and I had to jump on it.
  • Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert – My Dune saga continues.