I read Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder when I was just a kid. I thought it was one of the greatest way to get interested in philosophy, while trying to figure out what is it that the author's hiding from you. It's dinamic, a little bizarre and amazingly written.
Sophie's World is one of my favourite books, too, and I think Gaarder's books in general are very good. My other favourites are Haruki Murakami, Leena Krohn, Tove Jansson and Neil Gaiman
Leena Krohn writes philosophical, dream-like and surralistic stories that often tell lots about the world in general. Her books are kind of weird, and since the way she writes remains pretty much the same in all of her books, they're the kind of stuff you either take or leave. I think that Ihmisten vaatteissa
(Pelican Man is the name of the movie, but a direct translation would be something like "In the Guise of a Human") and Pereat Mundus
are her most fascinating books. Tainaron
seems to be her best known book, and it has also been translated into English.
Murakami is somewhat similar to Gaiman, I think, as they both have a very fluid way of writing and both of them often operate with magical realism and adult themes. I'm no fan of adult themes or violence in general, but their books are otherwise so good that it doesn't matter. If you want to read something by Murakami, start with Kafka on the Shore
or Norwegian Wood
. As for Gaiman, I think I like his short stories and Sandman
the best, but American Gods
is awesome too.
I love Tove Jansson's Moomin
books, but her other books, especially the short stories, are good too. They are quite down-to-earth, the characters in them are interesting and her way of writing is rather poetic and honest.