Okay, the Summer Reading Challenge was one thing, but what has possessed me to consider joining the Autumn Readers Imbibing Peril challenge? I am not quite sure. Partly it is because this challenge — 5 gothic novels between now and October 31 — involves a genre I don’t usually read, so it seems like a real challenge. Partly of course it is the excellent Gorey button.

But I actually have a bunch of things I intend to read in the next couple of months. The new Dawkins book, of course. My Book Club books. Whatever Booksfree sends me. Hungry Planet. The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The Bujold books Lostarts recommended to me. The Cather that Dingus6 recommended to me. Wide Sargasso Sea — kind of gothic, that, actually.

That’s not too many. I should be able to fit in some gothic stuff. I can read Frankenstein early (it is the KTC book for November), and count Wide Sargasso Sea. I haven’t read more than a couple of things in this genre per year since I was a teenager. Then, of course, I read the classics: Poe, Stevenson, Wilde, Eyre — those guys. I also read the Had-I-But-Known books, the oneheys in which the heroine inevitably goes, in her nightie, down to the smuggler’s cave, Bluebeard’s locked room, the idiotic rendezvous in the darkened boathouse. DuMaurier, Holt, and Seton are the authors I remember in that group. I might re-read some of those in front of the fire, when it gets to that point in the year. Phillipa Gregory does some of that, too, though hers move past deliciously creepy to downright depraved.

Fellow readers, can you recommend a couple of others for me?

Yesterday was a quiet afternoon at work. I had gotten the entire store looking decent, including the math area, which tends to be challenging. So in between customers I read Gary Paulsen’s new young adult book, The Legend of Bass Reeves. Very good, and it is about a historical figure we don’t often hear about, a slave who became a marshal on the frontier. If you have kids, or even if you don’t, you might check your library for this one.

Then, along about 4:00, everyone decided to come in and shop. They had been massing in the parking lot, I guess, waiting. There were numerous children, many of them screaming. There was a woman who wanted me to get her 3 yds of each color of bulletin board paper, one who wanted help arranging a schedule for her special-needs child, one who needed to do calendar work with three year olds. There was a woman who had come quite a distance to pick up her order, which wasn’t in yet, and she would not leave. I kept darting off to help the others, and then coming back to her and saying, “What can I do for you? What would be helpful?” The Mennonite school had all been in the day before, and one of them returned for more paper.

Once it quieted down, I spent a little time wondering about their outfits. They have outifts, of the “I see by your mennonite dressoutift that you are a Mennonite” variety. It is clear, when these ladies all arrive in a group, that they are all using the same dress pattern.

I understand the caps, and I understand the modest dresses with two layers of cloth covering the torso, but what is there about sneakers and ankle socks that seems more holy than other shoes? I can’t recall any biblical injunctions about that.

Enough idle persiflage. I have an unusually long list of errands to run today, and I am determined to have a PSD (Personal Sewing Day, as Susinok puts it) afterward, so I must get my skates on. Enjoy your weekend!