The article I composed for tomorrow’s edition of True Community reminded me of the first book I ever used in my sections of English 101. Sophie’s World is one of my favorite books, and not just because it tells the story of western thought. I like it because of the story Jostein Gaarder creates, essentially in response to the dry nature of most philosophy textbooks. It’s a book I recommend highly. This isn’t a book review, not a traditional one, but know that Sophie’s World is one of those books that stands to be ruined for you if you read even the mildest commentary on Amazon or some other place.
I abandoned the book because students found it tedious, way too abstract and, yes, boring. I can’t tell you how shocking I find this. The history of ideas is boring? What do you find interesting?
In the meantime, of course, I’ve developed a Zen practice, and the very concept of dualism is something I would no longer really subscribe to. Perhaps it’s time to bring Sophie’s World back to my classes, and to offer that point of view to the students who’ll end up reading it.
I might just do it.