Enter the World of Ideas and prepare to have your mind stretched! This is barely a novel, but it will introduce you to basic philosophical concepts and make you smile.
'If I heat you to 1000 centigrade, then all that is left when the vapour has evaporated is some ashes. Shall we say that this is the true essence of you?'
Socrates shook his head.
'Of course not', said Wittgenstein caustically. 'Stop trying to reduce everything to its fundamentals. A nothing will do as well as a something about which nothing can be said.'
He marched off, leaving the water and ashes of Socrates to ponder its true nature.