I'm reading Kate O'Brien's novel, Without My Cloak, the first book of hers I've read since That Lady. It's really a Catholic Irish middle- class version of Upstairs Downstairs or The Forsyte Saga.

I've also got a proof copy of Hermione Lee's 700-page new biography of Virginia Woolf. I firmly believed that I would never want to read a single page or hear another word about that woman, but Hermione has changed my mind. And I've just fininshed a very good novel by Pearl Abraham called The Romance Reader, which really does tell you about a world you know nothing of - going mad in a Hassidic Jewish household.