How have I managed to get this far in life without reading William Boyd? I was handed a copy of Any Human Heart a few weeks ago by my friend Sally Woodward Gentle, a film producer, who turned the book into TV some years ago. I missed that too. Anyway I was gripped from the start by the diaries of Logan Mountstuart who charts the ebb and flow of his life which spans the 20th century. William Boyd is a beautiful writer. I found myself jotting down quotes and wonderful words that he used – lubricious, miasma, quiescent – storing them away for future use. There’s something humbling about following a life from start to finish, through its highs and lows, through history, through loves and losses. Logan Mountstuart may be a fictional character but real characters are woven into his story from Edward and Mrs Simpson to Picasso and Virginia Woolf. I read the 500 or so pages in a week, eager to get back to Logan every time I had to put the book down. My only problem is that when, with 20 pages to go, I went into Daunt books and told them I was about to finish it and wanted another Boyd book to read…the very knowledgeable man behind the counter looked at me with concern and said “Any Human Heart” is his best.