Raymond Tallis: Five books everyone should read before they die
1. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Of course you will have seen the play, but read it as well to savour the language of a peerless wordsmith and enter the mind of an incomparable psychologist.
2. Meditations on First Philosophy - René Descartes
A profound investigation of the mystery of our condition and yet written with beautiful lucidity.
3. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
No less of a ‘must’ for being an obvious choice. The three months it will take you will be defined forever by this Everest among novels.
4. Frau Wilke - Robert Walser
A book in a few pages, this meditation on hope and disappointment, life and death, is the greatest short story ever written.
5. Ulysses - James Joyce
Don’t give up on this one. It is difficult but it turns ordinary daylight into the fabric of a vision and an average day into an epic journey.
Raymond Tallis’ latest book, In Defence of Wonder and Other Philosophical Reflections, is out now (Acumen, £14.99)