Something Sensational to Read in the Train, By Gyles Brandreth

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The Independent Culture

From his screamer-packed entries at school ("We Tories – sorry, Conservatives!") to his departure as a Tory MP in 1997, this 50-year journal is one of the oddest diaries ever published.

The author emerges as stupendously pleased with himself, relentlessly pushy, egregiously twee (loads about GB's Teddy Bear Museum), but also perceptive, amusing, honest, blessed with amazing recall and stylish.

Does any other diary boast such a bizarre assortment of characters - Kenneth Williams, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Edwards (naked in a hot tub), Michael Redgrave, Lord Longford and the Duke of Edinburgh?

Most pages are laden with piffling of events, yet this vast memoir ends with a touching letter to GB's much-missed friend Simon Cadell.