Happy All Hallows’ Eve, fellow ghouls and goblins of the darkest reaches of the web. May your pumpkins be perky and your frights frightful. I wish I could say my reading had been fitted to this most horrid of holidays but sadly the only monsters in my recent reads have been squashed spiders who have inadvertently found their way into the leaves of my book collection.

While I may not be able to offer a trick to supplement the season, I hope I can offer up a minor treat in the form of my redesigned site. There are still tweaks to be made but I hope you like the new layout. It’s been a long time coming but is more or less as I envisaged it now. I have my long-suffering web designers to thank for that (I am, I fear, an absolute pain in the arse when I am trying to fulfil a vision). So, explore, enjoy, and let me know when you inevitably find something that doesn’t work!

Though the wrapping might be new and shiny, fear not, the package is reassuringly unchanged and set firmly in its curmudgeonly ways. Books remain half-read, reviews unwritten, and I entirely in my own world. I can, though, promise you a few reviews for November.

Firstly, I have just started The Sellout, which won the Booker Prize days ago. I’m only a few pages into the novel, which promises to be a manic and satirical look at the state of racism in America and what effect this has on the minds of African-Americans, and I can already tell that it is going to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time (fingers crossed).

On a slightly less tongue-in-cheek attempt at worthiness, I’ve also been working through Jenni Murray’s A History of Britain in 21 Women. I’ve already taken in Boadicea and Aphra Behn, Elizabeth I and Jane Austen, and I’ve barely tipped into the nineteenth century. I’m feeling more educated already so will let you know how the rest of the book turns out.

And on women who have shaped the British landscape, I’ve finally finished Persuasion by one Jane Austen, apparently quite a well-known lady of letters. So it is back to Austen-land that I return this month, to write up some thoughts on this, her final novel.

And with that I leave you for another month. Ta-ra.