Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Month: October, 2012

910: Explorers House by Robert M. Poole

910.6073: Poole, Robert M. Explorers House: National Geographic and the World It Made. New York: Penguin, 2004. 310 pp. ISBN 1-59420-032-7.

Dewey Construction:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 910: Geography and travel
  • +.6: Organizations and management
  • +073: United States

Alexander Graham Bell is quite the greedy-guts of history. Not only did he hold the most important patent in history (the telephone), invent the metal detector, and attempt to perfect hydrofoil design, he was also one of the founding members of the most important ecological and scientific organizations of our day: The National Geographic Society.

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305: It is Well with My Soul by Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson

305.48896073: Johnson, Ella Mae Cheeks (with Patricia Mulcahy). It Is Well with My Soul: The Extraordinary Life of a 106-Year-Old Woman. New York: Penguin, 2010. 195 pp. ISBN 978-0-14-311744-5.

Dewey Construction:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 305: Social groups
  • 305.4: Women’s studies
  • 305.48: Specific kinds of women
  • +896073: African-Americans

Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson was just your average socially-minded retiree. She served on community boards, maintained correspondence with various groups, churches, and friends. She gave when she could and took only when she needed. There is, however, one thing makes her stand out as she wrote her memoirs: she was 105 years old and still kicking.

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853: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

853.914: Calvino, Italo. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981. Translated by William Weaver. 260 pp. ISBN 0-15-643961-1.

Dewey Construction:

  • 800: Literature
  • 850: Italian literature
  • 853: Italian fiction
  • +914: 1945-1999

Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler is probably not like any book you’ve read before. For starters, it’s in the second person. You, the Reader, are the agent of action. Second, every other chapter is the first chapter of some other book. Third, at the beginning of the book, you are told you are reading this book, and right at the end, you are told that you are nearly finished reading this book. It’s all very disconcerting and exciting at the same time.

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018: Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist by Carlton Lake

018.20976431:  Lake, Carlton. Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist. New York: New Directions, 1990. 182 pp. ISBN 0-8112-1130-4.

Dewey Construction:

  • 000: General works
  • 010: Bibliography
  • 018: Catalogs arranged by author, main entry, date, or register number
  • 018.2: Classified catalogs of private and family libraries
  • +0976431: City of Austin, Texas, United States

Carlton Lake, after earning his BA from Boston College and an MA from Columbia, started collecting books, letters, and other works by modern French writers and artists. He lived in Paris from 1950 to 1975, learning the business of the local book dealers and immersing himself in the culture of post-war Europe. When he moved back to the US to become the curator of the French collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Collection at UT-Austin, he had amassed a collection of over 200,000 documents and 1,000 works of art. In his Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist, he relays a few stories from his Paris heyday.

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174: Doing Nothing by Tom Lutz

174: Lutz, Tom. Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. 320 pp. ISBN 978-0-86547-650-9.

Dewey Construction:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 170: Ethics (Moral philosophy)
  • 174: Occupational ethics

I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve met in my entire life that wouldn’t want to sit around and do nothing if they could still maintain their standard of living. To be fair, there’s a difference between wanting to do things efficiently and waste the least amount of time, and not wanting to do anything at all. Tom Lutz, in Doing Nothing, focuses on the smart shirkers, not the smart workers—those people who have willingly and without remorse chosen not to contribute, not to work, and not to exert effort in American history. Ironically, it takes a lot of effort to do nothing.

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972: Cities of the Maya in Seven Epochs by Glassman and Anaya

972.6: Glassman, Steve & Armando Anaya. Cities of the Maya in Seven Epochs, 1250 B.C. to A.D. 1903. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2011. 222 pp. ISBN 978-0-7864-4848-7.

Dewey Construction:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 970: General history of North America
  • 972: History of Middle America and Mexico
  • 972.6: History of the Mayan civilization

Starting in the Pre-Classic Period (c. 2000 BCE), the Maya thrived as a Mesoamerican civilization. They built grand cities and temples, invented a rich logographic writing system, and had a deep understanding of celestial bodies and their movements. In Cities of the Maya in Seven Epochs, authors Steve Glassman and Armando Anaya try to impart a more holistic picture of the culture by looking at the construction of their cities throughout time.

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702: The Art Detective by Philip Mould

702.88: Mould, Philip. The Art Detective: Adventures of an Antiques Roadshow Appraiser. New York: Penguin, 2011. 246 pp. ISBN 978-0-14-311916-6.

Dewey Construction:

  • 700: Fine Art
  • 702: Miscellany of fine and decorative arts
  • 702.8: Techniques, procedures, apparatus, equipment, or materials
  • 702.88: Maintenance and repair of fine and decorative arts

For most collectors, it’s the thrill of the hunt and the negotiation that keeps them going. Finding a prized baseball card from the 1950s or spotting a priceless antique at a flea market—these are the life’s blood of collectors. Philip Mould is no different. As a specialist in painted portraits, he scours the world looking for pieces that no one has yet noticed are the work of a true master.

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