Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (Phoenix)
14-year old Sophie Amundsen is a seemingly ordinary teen who lives a relatively normal life in suburban Norway. Her world is soon turned upside down when she receives two anonymous notes in the mail one day, posing the following questions: Who are you? and Where does the world come from?
Soon afterwards, she receives a batch of notes from a mysterious philosopher who calls himself Alberto Knox.
What follows is the beginning of an interesting (and very enlightening) correspondence in which Sophie is taken through a journey of philosophy, covering the Hellenistic, Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic and Christian periods and the various philosophers stemming from those periods.
When philosophy is not keeping her busy, Sophie spends her time trying to figure the mystery of the postcards which are addressed to a Hilde Knag (from an Albert Knag) but sent to Sophie from time to time instead. Who is she? And why does she share the same birthday as Sophie?
The answer is revealed in an astonishing twist at the end of the novel.
What makes this books such a remarkable read is not the story itself, but the author's ability to transform a heavy (and boring, according to some) topic into a fun, light-hearted (without losing its real meaning), highly readable and accessible read.
Anyone who is keen on having a basic idea of what philosophy is all about, should definitely read this book. It makes for a great introduction into a world with so many complex threads.
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