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Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
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Sophie's World (original 1991; edition 1995)

by Jostein Gaarder

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,823216152 (3.77)138
Member:zoomball
Title:Sophie's World
Authors:Jostein Gaarder
Info:Phoenix House (an Imprint of Orion Books Ltd.) (1995), Edition: Reprint, Hardcover
Collections:other novels
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (1991)

Recently added bycctesttc1, Alain-Lecomte, private library, GyeldarB, SCalvin, cristinavieira1303, Lynnesbooks
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    missmaddie: As the main characters develop, they also uncover fascinating mysteries with philosophical/psychological significance. Very intellectual reads with twisted, intense plots!
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    missmaddie: Both books contain letter correspondence, and they also both have supernatural/fantasy elements. Likable girls as the main characters.
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» See also 138 mentions

English (166)  Spanish (14)  Dutch (11)  French (6)  Swedish (3)  German (3)  Finnish (3)  Norwegian (2)  Portuguese (2)  All (2)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All (1)  Catalan (1)  All (216)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
I don’t know how I had never heard about this quite amazing book; there are 30 million copies in print in many languages according to the reader’s guide. It is a novel but also a history of philosophy from the earliest Greeks up to the 20th century existentialists. Sophie, a young girl on the eve of her 15th birthday, receives an invitation from a mysterious older teacher – Alberto Knox -- to study philosophy with him. First receiving written manuscripts from him she eventually meets him and they have sessions covering all the strands of philosophical thought over millennia. While their meetings are certainly unusual everything seems just peculiar until really odd things begin to happen. A video of modern day Athens transforms to a scene as the city appeared during the time of Socrates. Alberto’s dog speaks to Sophie; there’s a message inside a banana peel. In these messages and in other ways, there are repeated references to another girl her age who shares the same birthday that suggests they are soon to become friends, but “Hilde” lives two hundred miles away. There are frequent post cards containing birthday greetings for Hilde postmarked with the current date, but sent from Lebanon by a Norwegian major serving with UN peacekeepers. Things that can only be “unreal” start to happen to Sophie -- finding a cross belonging to Hilde who she’s never met, seeing mythological creatures and fairy tale characters and many more surreal occurrences.
The perspective shifts to Hilde and it’s suddenly clear that Sophie and Alberto are fictional creations of Hilde’s father, Major Albert Knag. The major has written this story for Hilde as a birthday present and to introduce her to serious philosophy. (It’s revealed late in the story that Hilde had been dabbling with “New Age” pop nonsense that had upset her father.) Alberto contends that he and Sophie are being controlled by the major and he doesn’t like this. He devises a plan to escape from his creator. He succeeds and they do make their “escape”. Is this really Albert’s plan? Not entirely since all authors ultimately lose control over their creations in that what they have created becomes independent of them and timeless, Alberto and Sophie will exist apart from Albert and forever.
The book is worthwhile as a clear and concise overview of the philosophical thinkers of the ages, but it is also an intriguing and fascinating story full of mystery, fantasy and suspense. ( )
  stevesmits | Jan 21, 2017 |
Sophie's World is a rather clumsy attempt at literary edutainement. The plot and pedagogy are clumsily combined, detracting from the value of both; a main character comes off as creepy (a middle aged man randomly deciding to teach a teenage girl philosophy?), and worst of all, the author's glossing over of 20th century philosophy leaves one with an incomplete picture of the field as it is today. As a pedagogic text it might perform somewhat well, but as a work of literature, it's rather lacking. ( )
  noonaut | Jan 19, 2017 |
It has now been several years since I have read this book but it still remains one of the nicest book in bookshelf. The idea on which the book is centered is quite original and the content guides the reader through centuries of philosophy in a way that is both interesting and easy to grasp.
The ending ... no I won't spoil it for you! Let me just say that is one of those you will remember. A book to buy for yourself and as a present. ( )
  ferrarini_luca | Dec 6, 2016 |
It was an interesting idea, but I couldn't keep the various philosophies similarities and differences as straight as a 14 year old could. It may have been a better read with a class discussion to keep me on track. ( )
  sbluerock | Nov 5, 2016 |
I can't finish this book. It feels like it started as a children's book and writer dumped philosophy 101 textbook in it. It doesn't fit. ( )
  soontobefree | Nov 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
As philoso-narrative, "Sophie's World" is a world above "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" but a universe below "The Magic Mountain." In my view, literate readers would do better to try Bertrand Russell's "History of Western Philosophy," which is shorter on magic but longer on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly skepticism.
 

» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jostein Gaarderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Buchholz, QuintCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eriksson, MonaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haefs, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klok, JankeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Møller, PauletteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pijttersen, LucyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Savolainen, KatriinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snoeijing, KimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, PaulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
He who cannot draw on three thousand years

is living from hand to mouth.


Goethe
"Colui che non è in grado di darsi conto di
tremila anni rimane al buio e vive alla giornata".

JOHANN WOLFGANG GOETHE
Dedication
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Este libro no habría nacido sin el alentador apoyo de Siri Dannevig. También quiero agradecer a Maiken Ims su revisión del manuscrito y sus valiosos comentarios. Mi gran agradecimiento también a Trond Berg Eriksen por sus cariñosas observaciones y sólido apoyo profesional durantes muchos años.
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Sophie Amundsen was on her way home from school.
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Book description
Deze roman over de geschiedenis van de filosofie is een spannend verhaal, een detective en een filosofie-geschiedenis in één: een intrigerende roman die iedereen zal aanspreken die iets over zichzelf en de wereld om zich heen wil leren.
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One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" From that irrestistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the pilosophy she is learning--but the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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