Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Month: September, 2012

051: Good Days and MAD by Dick DeBartolo

051: DeBartolo, Dick. Good Days and MAD: A Hysterical Tour Behind the Scenes at MAD Magazine. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1994. 275 pp. ISBN 1-5602-5077-1.

Dewey Construction:

  • 000: Computer science, information, and general works
  • 050: Magazine, journals, and serial publications
  • 051: General serial publications in American English

In 1952, William Gaines decided to start a small mildly-amusing comic book to round out his group of publications. When that comic book decided to dodge the censorship code and become a magazine in 1955, MAD Magazine as we know it today was born. When Dick DeBartolo—often considered MAD’s Maddest Writer—sent in a script for a satirical commercial in 1961, Gaines sent back a response on cardboard telling him it had been accepted (and to send more!).  Thus began five decades of comic writing and shenanigans.

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181: The Analects of Confucius

181.112: Pelikan, Jaroslav, ed. Sacred Writings: Confucianism: The Analects of Confucius. Translated by Arthur Waley. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1992. 233 pp.

Dewey Construction:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 180: Ancient, medieval, and eastern philosophy
  • 181: Eastern philosophy
  • 181.1: Far East and South Asia
  • 181.11: China and Korea
  • 181.112: Confucian philosophy

Confucius (more formally known in China as Kongzi) was born in 551 BCE near present day Qufu. Throughout his relatively long life of 72 years, he compiled and transmitted the foundations of Eastern philosophy in a set of texts called the Five Classics. The Analects is a collection of sayings and commentary by Confucius that was not finalized until 250 years after his death. The Analects are now held above the Five Classics and occupies a spot as one of the “Four Books,” the core of Confucianism.

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297: The Koran: Selected Suras

297.122: The Koran: Selected Suras. Translated by Arthur Jeffrey. Decorated by Valenti Angelo. New York: Heritage Press, 1958. 207 pp.

Dewey Construction:

  • 200: Religion
  • 290: Other & comparative religions
  • 297: Islam, Babaism, and Baha’i Faith
  • 297.1: Sources of Islam
  • 297.12: Koran and Hadith
  • 297.122: Koran

The Koran (more accurately transliterated as Qur’an) forms the core of Islam. It is considered the verbatim word of God as compiled by Muhammad. That is the extent to which I am going to describe the contents of this book because I have a basic understanding of a comment flame war and I do not have the time keep putting out fires.

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352: Ask Not by Thurston Clarke

352.23860973: Clarke, Thurston. Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America. New York: Henry Holt, 2004. 216 pp. ISBN 0-8050-7213-6.

Dewey Construction:

  • 300: Social Science
  • 350: Public Administration
  • 352: General considerations of public administration
  • +2386: Inaugural addresses
  • +0973: United States (historical treatment)

On January 20, 1961, households across the US tuned in to what they thought would be yet another lackluster presidential inaugural address. What they heard would change them. At just under 14 minutes, it was the fourth shortest such address in history. But packed into the dense optimism was a sense of history. It charged the nation to be actively responsible for its future, to cull forth a sense of duty. And all this came from a man who just forty-three years old, the youngest man ever elected president—John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

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439: Born to Kvetch by Michael Wex

439.109: Wex, Michael. Born To Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. 285 pp. ISBN 0-312-30741-1.

Dewey Construction:

  • 400: Language
  • 430: Germanic languages
  • 439: Other Germanic languages
  • 439.1: Yiddish
  • +09: Historical treatment

In Aaron Lansky’s Outwitting History, we saw how a small team of dedicated people are helping save Yiddish literature. Thousand of aging Jewish folks were lamenting the loss of their books and happy to give them a new home (but not without inviting Lansky and his crew in for a five-course snack). But where do these feelings of woe come from? Michael Wex, in his Born To Kvetch, gets to root of the issue, arguing that because the Jewish culture exists in a permanent state of exile, the moments of joy are fleeting and all that is left is to kvetch.

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580: A Rum Affair by Karl Sabbagh

580.92: Sabbagh, Karl. A Rum Affair: A True Story Of Botanical Fraud. US: Da Capo Press, 2001. 263 pp. ISBN 0-306-81060-3.

Dewey Construction:

  • 500: Science
  • 580: Botany
  • +92: Biography

In 1948, John Raven had had enough. Discoveries from the Hebrides, and most notably the Isle of Rum (also spelled Rhum), by Professor John Heslop Harrison seems to be contrary to all known theories about the Ice Age and plant life in Britain. Harrison had discovered several species of sedge (or grass) on the islands that supported his unique theory that this particular plant life had survived the last Ice Age. It didn’t make any sense to Raven. So, he did what all passionate professors do: he secured a grant, traveled north, and sought to set the record straight.

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