This book inspired the dream of having my very own letterbox inside my garden. We’ve got a shed in the garden we call ‘The Art Shed’ which would be the perfect place to put it. I’d have a cute red flag attached to the side so I can let the-Philosopher-down-the-road-who-wants-to-communicate-with-me know when I’ve written a letter back and it’s ready for collection.

What I Love:

  • It’s a novel about the history of philosophy – what’s not to love about that!
  • The name Sophie. I named my daughter, Sophie, about 6 years after reading Sophie’s World. 
  • Being inspired to write handwritten letters.

Books that are Mentioned in Sophie’s World:

  • Winnie the Pooh, A.A.Milne
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Favourite Quotes:

Who doesn’t like rabbits, and hats, and magic? And that is exactly how I do experience the world – like a mysterious place where anything could happen:

A lot of people experience the world with the same incredulity as when a magician suddenly pulls a rabbit out of a hat which has just been shown to them empty.
In the case of the rabbit, we know the magician has tricked us. What we would like to know is just how he did it. But when it comes to the world it’s somewhat different. We know that the world is not all sleight of hand and deception because here we are in it, we are part of it. Actually, we are the white rabbit being pulled out of the hat. The only difference between us and the white rabbit is that the rabbit does not realize it is taking part in a magic trick. Unlike us. We feel we are part of something mysterious and we would like to know how it all works.

Even now – when there are so many people who say “there isn’t a dumb question,” people are still afraid to ask dumb questions, especially when there are so many people who want to treat you as if you are really, really dumb for asking it. So take heed. Have a beginner’s mind and ask dumb questions:

A philosopher is therefore someone who recognizes that there is a lot he does not understand, and is troubled by it. In that sense, he is still wiser than all those who brag about their knowledge of things they know nothing about.
“Wisest is she who knows she does not know,” I said previously. Socrates himself said, “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.” Remember this statement, because it is an admission that is rare, even among philosophers. Moreover, it can be so dangerous to say it in public that it can cost you your life. The most subversive people are those who ask questions. Giving answers is not nearly as threatening. Any one question can be more explosive than a thousand answers.

This quote feels important for a novel I’m hoping to start writing next. The story will explore a character’s sense of belonging to their roots, to their family history, and to a wider sense of humankind’s history:

She herself was just an ordinary person. But if she knew her historical roots, she would be a little less ordinary. She would not be living on this planet for more than a few years. But if the history of mankind was her own history, in a way she was thousands of years old.

Out in the World:

Sophie’s World in Danger