Tidbits of knowledge

By Stephanie Weaver  |  Cover photo by Sebastien Wiertz / Flickr Creative Commons

Alumnus and author Stephan Sherban Young enjoys puzzles and riddles. He enjoys them so much, he decided to write his books as a puzzle for his readers to solve while learning new bits of trivia about various subjects.

“I’ve always liked puzzles and intellectual games, so I started to question how I could have puzzles for the readers of my books.”

Cover by Katerina Vamvasaki. Courtesy of MysteryCaper Press.

Cover by Katerina Vamvasaki. Courtesy of MysteryCaper Press.

For Young, his genre of books is much like his liberal arts education at Loyola: learning bits and pieces of information from a wide range of subjects. For example, each book in Young’s Enescu Fleet series focuses on a single subject, such as art, music, or food.

Young’s hope is that while solving the mystery in each book, the reader also learns something new about the topic to share with friends or colleagues. Much like the concept of liberal arts, Young said.

“The structure of liberal arts opens students to many disciplines they may not have been exposed to before,” he said. “Other degrees don’t do what liberal arts does. It opens the mind to infinite subjects and encourages the pursuit of knowledge long-term.”

In all his books, his readers can learn about a subject, tidbits of information the reader may or may not have known prior to reading the book while solving a mystery.

When Young reflects on his education, he stays realistic.

“After college, you’re not going to remember everything. Hopefully a fact or anecdote 10 or 15 years later will stay with you,” he said.

But with the popularity of trivia shows in our culture, such as Jeopardy, Young knows that humans like to be challenged to recall knowledge they have deep within their brains. The nature of wonder strikes, and humans have to know the answer.

Young’s book Dead Men Do Tell Tales is much like Jeopardy. The book isn’t a novel, but rather short stories that ask questions in puzzle form.

Young believes students should never stop learning, not even once the diploma is in hand.

“University should open your eyes to all areas of knowledge. At its best, a school will make you excited about different subjects. At the end of day, that what college is all about: leaving with tidbits of knowledge from a variety of subjects. Be open to learning more about everything that enters your life.”

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