This time last year I enthusiastically signed on to Benoit Lelievre's Smoth Criminals fiction challenge. The idea was to read seven books in various genres--a hardboiled classic, for instance, and a book with a psychopath at the center. (I was going to read Dexter Darkly Dreaming, the first in a series of novels on which the cable series is based.) Alas, I did not complete even one of the books I'd planned to read. But having been presented with the challenge, I now have my reading cut out for me next year.
I did however, take part in Brian Lindenmuth's 365 short story a day challenge. Four more days...I've actually read ahead, so I only have two more to read and write up. I made a decision to only feature one story per writer, which forced me out of my comfort zone. (I could have posted 365 stories just by Stephen King and Ray Bradbury.) I read some tremendous stories. The two that stood out for me were W.D. County's "Plastic Soldiers" and Ken Liu's "Paper Menagerie." Both stories are about children and they couldn't be more different.