The Looky-Loos

Sunday Book Stroll: Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Sofie's World by Jostein Gaarder

Sophie's World is a novel about the history of philosophy entwined with an interesting story. What I loved about this book is that it allowed you to learn about some of the great philosophers while trying to figure out a mystery.

Sophie is a 14 year old girl, and up to her fourteenth year her life has been pretty uneventful. Sophie's enlightenment begins with an anonymous note in her mailbox, which asks questions that set her mind in motion and prepare her for what follows. The questions challenge Sophie's outlook on nearly everything.

Throughout the story and as Sophie takes on the challenging questions she learns about the history of philosophy from the earliest mythological philosophers to the most modern thinkers of our time. Unbeknownst to her, the information she is garnering could be crucial to her very existence ... I won't give away the ending.

One of the things I adored about this book is the basic knowledge that is derived from the dialoge between Sophie and her 'philosophy' teacher. (Who happens to be an old hermit that lives in the woods near her home.) The wonderful thing is that you're learning about philosophy whithout even meaning to, and the story that wraps up the information is intriguing if not intricate. It's a textbook with hutzpah! The downside is that there's very little plot or character development, so if you're into reading novels for those purposes alone, I'd stay away from this one, however, if you're interested in learning about philosophy on a rudimentary level ... this would be better than your average dry textbook. I really enjoyed learning about the different philosophies involved, and then after reading the book, learning more about those that interested me.

The philosophers that are included in this novel are as follows:
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza and Locke; Hume, and Bjerkely; Kant; Hegel, Kierkegaard and Marx; Darwin and Freud. (All of you teachers out there, don't mock my lack of ability to produce a good list here, it's been ages since I've been in an english class, and I just don't write often enough to warrant going back. Don't even get me started on mathematics, I couldn't long divide my way out of a paper bag! Also I may have missed one or two philosophers.)

I was given this book by a boy that I had met online when I was about 25. (yet another love of my life I'm sure) He apparently thought I was philosophically stupid and gave this to me to enlighten me. Little did he know he was about to set off a FIRESTORM of informational and classical reading frenzy in me. He he! I believe he's married to a Vegan, which is fine by me as ... if nobody minds ... I do enjoy myself some clovenhooved meaty goodness, thankyouverymuch!!!

In two weeks ... Brazil by John Updike

In addition to that ... I should be back to my regular postings. So yummy winter recipes to come. Winter is all about the comfort foods!! Yumm-O!!!



3 Things people say ...:

SSP said...

this sounds good - will look for it at the library :-) thanks

Lacey said...

I'm totally adding this book to my list of must-reads. It sounds like a really great story!

Hedgie said...

Sophie's World is an absolutely magnificent novel in terms of both what it sets out to do and how it accomplishes it. My only regret is that I didn't have the opportunity to teach it before I retired.