Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children :- the story of privileged New Yorkers in the months just before and after 9/11. A book that is a chocolate box of many pleasures - not perfect, but always absorbing and intelligent. 9/11 itself is approached in an exemplary and subtle way.
Donne : the reformed soul, by John Stubbs. An excellent new biography of one of the poets on the Leaving Certificate course. Stubbs is particularly good on the slow but dramatic development of Donne's life from lad about town 'Jack Donne' to the famous Dr Donne, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral. He provides a rich evocative portrait of London, and writes movingly on the central relationship of the poet's life, that with his much younger wife Ann.