Mo Yan, the Nobel, and the Lost Art of Browsing
October 15, 2012
One of the great things about working in a library is that we get to handle hundreds of books every day. And sometimes, a cover or title that passes through your hands will capture your attention. I love discovering new authors that I probably never would have known were it not for my job. These are the writers who remain under the radar. They don’t have the following or publicity of a Patterson, Roberts, or Cornwell.
Not too long ago, I happened upon a book whose title I found amusing. I had never heard of the title or the author, but I took it home and was delighted. It was a book unlike any that I had ever read, and I might never have found it had it not been for the work I do. The author’s name was Mo Yan, and the book was called Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out. Last week, Yan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Unfortunately, many authors, like Mo Yan, remain largely unknown by the American public because of the lost art of browsing. When was the last time you came to the Library without any specific book in mind? How long has it been since you simply wandered the aisles and pulled a book off the shelf at random? In our fast paced world, we sometimes don't have the time to do this, but we can be missing out when we simply rely on our computers to locate items we already know about.
I’m sure that many probably scratched their heads when they heard the name Mo Yan announced as the Nobel winner. I probably would have done the same had I not been lucky enough to catch that unique title. Here at MCPL, we have many incredible books by fantastic, but relatively unknown, authors just waiting to be discovered. So, next time you visit, try to take the time to just explore our aisles. Who knows what treasures or future Nobel Prize winners you may find.