Now (re)Reading: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

Ooh, festive!

I spent years relentlessly looking for a copy of this book and found my luck when I saw a shiny, blue object in the corner of my eye as I entered a secondhand bookstore two months ago. This isn’t the first time I’ve read this book. It was suggested by one of my teachers (maybe my Social Studies teacher?). She just mentioned it in passing during one of our classes. I don’t even remember the context in which it was mentioned nor why I was convinced to read it. I think she said it involved philosophy and that’s why I got curious. This also isn’t the first time a teacher of mine suggested a book and I actually read it. I sincerely thank my 1st grade Science teacher for introducing Harry Potter to me.

It’s been bothering me that I didn’t get to finish it. When I borrowed the book, it was almost the end of the school year. I had to return it before summer break and there were still five chapters left to read. I never picked it up again. This was around six years ago. I’ve been haunted by the ghost of Socrates for six years. I remember reading two more Jostein Gaarder books in my high school (Through a Glass Darkly and A Christmas Mystery). I wrote a book report about Through a Glass Darkly and read A Christmas Mystery for one Christmas break (I read it in such a way that the last chapter would coincide with Christmas day). Jostein Gaarder has become one of my favourite authors ever since.

There are three reasons why I chose to read this book now:

  1. We have an unfinished business.
  2. It seemed like the perfect book to read for the holidays.
  3. I am now competent enough to understand it.

I began reading a week ago and I’m already halfway through the book. It takes some time to digest all the information but it was so much easier to understand now. I still remember the story and characters but the philosophy lessons are lost in my memory. College has prepared me for my second encounter with Sophie’s World and I am ready to be the virtual student of Alberto Knox.

The characters look different in my head now than they did when I first read it. I imagined Sophie to look like Ofelia in Pan’s Labyrinth but since Norwegians typically have light colored hair, almost blonde, it’s unlikely (though not impossible) for Sophie to have dark hair. On the other hand, I’ve always imagined Hilde with blonde hair, and I think I’m actually right because when she appeared in Sophie’s dream, she was said to have fair hair. Alberto Knox is, of course, an adorable old man with a beard and a blue beret. We have a Labrador with chocolate brown fur but Hermes has golden fur so I’d often imagine him with brown fur and when I imagine him with golden fur, he becomes a golden retriever (because we also had a golden retriever).

Another reason why I wanted to read Sophie’s World is because I am taking a class called History of Ideas where we study the great thinkers and how philosophy developed throughout the years. This book is like a fictional companion to my class. As I have mentioned in my previous post, I love metafiction. Sophie’s World is, you guessed it, metafiction. I’ve also recently acquired an immense fascination with Norway and it blew me away when I found out that Gaarder is Norwegian and the story is set in Norway. More and more reasons to love this book!

The story is just as magical to me, maybe even more now! It’s going to be another one of those books where I’ll cry at the end because it’s over.

“The only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder.”

Never lose sight of the horizon of wonder!

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One thought on “Now (re)Reading: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

  1. Pingback: Gratia (Week 1) | Idealistic and impractical

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