I'd say, Murakami novels, some Winterson magic, any soul-warming gastronomy literature and sometimes, an intangible book of imagination from the shelves of your mind.

A sleepy Corgi, couch potato human and Pink Martini on the vinyl are good accompaniments.

He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.”
- Goethe

Discussed: bunnies, Socrates as the White Rabbit, paddle boats, scraped knees, floating dads, detailed indexes not to be confused with detailed content list, dust in dry eyes, wit being mistaken as prowess, Freud with a shovel, Heraclitean stream, toast and butter, post-school afternoons, grand-mere, calligraphy, love, metaphysics, *gasp*Milo

A Logophile rambles:

A fleeting moment ago, a bunny-shaped epicurean and I fell in love within this. Thus declared, we thought it imperative that since “nothing can come from nothing” our virtual space of food and paper be christened by that which apropos this.

We tumbled, jostled with higher and lower selves, bump our noses, scraped our knees and landed solidly on our feet (which may or may not be a good thing, as Gaarder so painfully reminds us) in Sophie’s World.

The Bunny and I have ambled past Thales, Parmenides and Heraclitus; Democritus and Socrates; Hegel and Kierkegaard; Darwin and Freud. We wandered through the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Romanticism and into stardust.

In 515 pages we have been busy walking the entire age of the universe and have lived more lives than ours. We have been to Sophie’s street, living room and front yard. We have shrunk, grown and exclaimed “curiouser and curiouser” (Gaarder prefers using the new – Alice in Wonderland – to reference the old - Socrates) and have paddled confidently to a Captain’s cabin. We have found we were a story in a story in a story and we have found with certainty our centre.

Sophie’s World is that solid book that stands within and apart from the other books living on the bookshelf (much like the best of friends).

In some ways, it is more than usual -- Sophie is a character so easy to peg; there is a story that provides thematic progression for the story in a story in a story; and lest things get to difficult there is a huge content list and index.

Then in others, it is more than peculiar -- Hilde is a character so difficult to division yet to invasive (like a speck of damned dust in a dry eye); the chronological coherence and lexical sets within which the chapters are arranged mocks the attempt at an overarching theme; and the detailed content and index stands as pure irony because how can one annotate the different “realms” and realities Sophie traverses.

With that, is Gaarder trying to say there are lessons her wishes us to partake? Surely there must be with scenes of Dad floating above the breakfast table, a man who is everywhere and nowhere and a frog that is curiously bulky. Do we scramble to excavate the deepest, darkest recesses of our minds for that scrap of all-important “faculty of imagination”?

Should the literary genius be exalted? Gaarder did, after all, ingeniously have Sophie begin our journey walking down a path dotted with landmarks that have become habit and end it fighting a Gordian Knot while we ricochet off the walls of our orange-sized pseudo-universe peppered by meta-narratives of the Big Bang. Shall we fixate upon the unity of his text?

Must we applaud his aplomb? While Joyce borrows resonance from classical texts by drawing Homeric parallels in Ulysses, Gaardner stands tall and inverses this. Decomposing a labyrinth of periods, eras, postscripts, conditions, wills and wishes, he pulls parallels with the Kafkaesque landscape in which we modern, hedonistic homosapiens consume. Might we then congeal his collective work and bequeath them “wit”?


This is Sophie’s World.

It is not just a story of stories. It is not simply a seamlessly abridged textbook about the history philosophy. It is most certainly not a didactic reminder from the mouths of babes about what geriatrics have lost.

It is a universe. It is a universe where the faculty of imagination is lingua franca. It is a cosmos where Heraclitean streams that are never the same are the norm.

It is a palimpsest of questions, truths and scales that have always existed.

The Bunny Speaks:

Allow my humble rodent thoughts to permeate the mind which has been roused by my intellectual partner’s interpretation of this delightful literature with... buttered toast.

In your gastronome mind, millions of gasps resonate high-pitched, squeaky ‘whys’ as you reel in horror. Gaarder has graciously introduced us to the greatest philosopher’s of all time- Darwin, Freud, and Socrates... Caviar, Pate du Foie Gras, a selection of artisanal cheese and some water biscuits, crisp bread, figs sounds like a more befitting way to meet these great gentlemen.

I beg to differ.

Milo and buttered toast is the way to go.

This universe, Gaarder’s, is where simplicity travels through a gastronomical reader’s mind like warm blood that runs through veins. This story in a story in a story is best digested with the warmth of toasty bread doused in rich butter, crusty bread crumbs that taste of the oven and washed down with a swig of chocolate-y Milo. It is best not to distract with complex flavours lest it overshadows the literature.

Personally, this food and beverage combination happens to be reminiscent of post-primary school afternoons that I spent with my grandmother. I painted (Chinese calligraphy that is), I read, I watched Sesame Street sometimes, I helped with dinner’s food prep, I picked up bits and pieces of the teachings of Buddhism and I devoured (books and toast). Sophie’s World is just like that. We learn, we re-learn, we reminisce, we ponder, and we have fun. It is always the simplest of food that brings us back to where we started. You can serve the most luxurious, extravagant and sensual dish in the world but nothing tastes as good as quaint memories, and food that touches the heart.

Serving suggestions:

Depending on what kind of person you are:

Gardenia’s plain white sliced bread
Any slice of rustic loaf bread
A nice dollop of SCS butter
Loads of Milo powder
Hot water

For the bread :

Spread a generous serving of butter on bread and place in oven to broil. Watch in delight as the liquid gold bubbles and froths, soaking into the fibers of starchy goodness

For the Milo:

Dump copious amounts of Milo powder into a home-ly mug. Add just enough boiling hot water for a concoction of rich chocolate-y goodness.

Troop to your cushy recliner in the living room, switch on some good music (Bach, Strauss, Schubert...), munch on toast, sip Milo, enjoy meeting the greatest men with Hilde and Sophie.