Sunday, 6 April 2014

Book review: Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

I thought I'd mix it up a little on here, as I was getting a little tired and bored of my typical Week in Instagram type posts. Instead, I thought it would be nice to have a non-beauty related, lifestyle post on here every Sunday. This can be anything relating to entertainment, recipes, DIYs, health and fitness related posts or anything else really that I think might be interesting. We're starting out this week with a review of a book that I read a while ago.

Title: Sophie's World

Author: Jostein Gaarder

Price: £8.99

Type: Fiction and Non-fiction

Pages: 427

I read a book by Jostein Gaarder when I was little called "The Christmas Mystery". It was like an advent calendar in book form in that you were meant to read a chapter each day and then on Christmas the big mystery was revealed. I have very fond memories of that book and those memories are essentially what drove me to pick up Sophie's World - a book about philosophy - even though I had no interest in philosophy whatsoever.

The book follows the story of 14-year old Norwegian girl Sophie, who one day starts receiving mysterious letters taking her on a course of philosophy, starting from its very early days in Ancient Greek history and going all the way up to the modern days.

The story itself is more of a sort of vehicle for the actual letters. There is an awful lot of information in each chapter and though I found it very fascinating and interesting, I found that it was best to read only one or two chapters a day, in order to really let everything I've just read sink in. It's certainly not a book you'd pick up to race through on one particularly stormy evening.

Eventually, the story becomes more interesting and absorbing and even though I found the characters to be rather flat and the style of dialogue a tad exhausting at times, I soon longed to know what happens next to Sophie and her ... erm, world. Upon finishing the book I was left with a sense of awe and curiosity regarding the world around me, which very few other books have ever done.

Upon reading some online reviews I noticed that the book has received quite a few negative reviews based upon the fact that several big names and were omitted, but I don't think it's fair to judge Sophie's World on that. It never claimed to be an encyclopaedia containing the whole history of philosophy. It's not like it's going to replace a university degree in philosophy, either.

As a whole, I feel that if you're really, really interested in philosophy you'll be disappointed by this book. It won't tell you anything you don't already know and you will probably see the plot twist coming from miles away. But if you're someone like me, who never really spared a thought for philosophy, but are after a leisurely read that might just teach you something you didn't know, then (just like me) you may end up enjoying this book a lot more than you originally thought you would.

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