Author(s): Jostein Gaarder
Sophie’s World is one of the most unusual books I’ve read. It starts out when a 14 year old school girl discovers a note in her postbox asking two questions “who are you?” and “where does the world come from?”. In searching for the answers to these questions, the author guides you through the history of philosophy, presenting the main historical figures and key concepts which have been raised over time. Much of the book is factual, but with all of these complex philosophical ideas being wrapped in a fictional story to keep it light hearted and readable. There’s also the slightly worrying sub text of the philosopher’s relationship to his student, but I’ll leave you to read into that one yourselves.
Despite being so unusual, and partly because of this, this book is amongst my favourite books. In the same way Wild Swans made me realise how little I knew about the history and politics of other countries, Sophie’s World has taught me about areas of philosophy I’d previously not delved into.