Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder

Released: 1991

Sophie's World is one of the most unique novels I have ever read in my life, and I am proud to say I own both the hardcover and softcover versions of the book as well as Jostein Gaarder's other works.

Sophie's World will provide readers with not only an intriguing fictional plot, but a history lesson on philosophy as well.

Prior to Sophie Amundsen's fifteenth birthday, she receives a mysterious letter in the mail from one Alberto Knox, a friendly philosopher who begins to educate Sophie on the history of philosophy dating back to Socrates and working its way up to the present time. As Mr. Knox teaches Sophie about philosophers throughout time, Sophie soon begins to receive other strange letters written between another teenager named Hilde Moller Knag and her father Albert. A complicated mystery arises from the exchanges of all these letters between the novel's characters, and creates a fantasy-like, Alice-in-Wonderland-type feel.

This novel is a great substitute for a boring philosophy textbook, which in my opinion is a dry subject to begin with. Sophie's World is probably the best way to learn about philosophy! Even more redeeming is the fictional portion of the novel, so although readers may grow bored and want to skip over the philosophy lesson bits, you'll still find yourself being pulled in enough to finish the entire lengthy book.

Personally I thought the philosophy lessons were tiresome, but Jostein Gaarder paints such a beautiful picture and story that Sophie's World truly is compelling.

Other great works by Jostein Gaarder include The Solitaire Mystery, Through a Glass, Darkly and Maya.

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