Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Month: December, 2012

339: Scroogenomics by Joel Waldfogel


339.47: Waldfogel, Joel. Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009. 146 pp. ISBN 978-0-691-14264-7.

Dewey Construction:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 330: Economics
  • 339: Macroeconomics and related topics
  • 339.4: Factors affecting income and wealth
  • 339.47: Consumption or spending

There are a lot of people out there who decry the wasteful spending by the developed world on the holidays. Joel Waldfogel is apparently one of them. In Scroogenomics, we hopes to convince readers to not buy presents for people for Christmas. Here’s why.

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621: Tesla by Margaret Cheney


621.3092: Cheney, Margaret. Tesla: Man Out of Time. New York: Touchstone, 2001. 354 pp. ISBN 978-0-7432-1536-7.

Dewey Construction:

  • 600: Technology
  • 620: Engineering and allied operation
  • 621: Applied physics
  • 621.3: Electrical, magnetic, optical, communications, or computer engineering
  • +092: Biography

For fifty years, the scientific and public community simply forgot about one of its own. He helped to usher in a fantastic age of electrical devices, invented a machine that could wirelessly transmit power, and created a pocket-sized device that could destroy a building with just waves. The good thing is, we have know come to love and respect this great tinkerer. And Margaret Cheney writes him a very passable biography: he was Nikola Tesla.

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813: The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen


813.6: Larsen, Reif. The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet. New York: Penguin, 2010. 374 pp. ISBN 978-0-14-311735-3.

Dewey Construction:

  • 800: Literature
  • 810: American Literature in English
  • 813: American fiction
  • +.6: Authors active after 1999

On a ranch in Montana, Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is busy drawing maps. He spends countless hours observing the world around him, carefully detailing its motions and inner workings. From the flight paths of bats to the individual sound prints of different firearms, his maps allow other people to see the world in a different light. And it is precisely these maps that earn him the prestigious Baird Fellowshop from the Smithsonian. All this would be remarkable on its own, but it’s even more so given one more detail: T.S. Spivet is only 12 years old.

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508: Dry Storeroom No. 1 by Richard Fortey


508.07442134: Fortey, Richard. Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum. New York: Knopf, 2008. 314 pp. ISBN 978-0-307-26362-9.

Dewey Construction:

  • 500: Science
  • 508: Natural history
  • +074: Museums, collections, and exhibits
  • +42134: Kensington and Chelsea Royal Borough

At the British Museum of National History in London, millions upon millions of specimens from the whole of the natural world lay in drawers, awaiting cataloging and research. Richard Fortey takes us on a tour through the facility, amiably telling stories about both current and past scientists, the politics of the institution, and the need for continuing work in the field of taxonomy.

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220: God’s Secretaries by Adam Nicolson


220.52038: Nicolson, Adam. God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible. New York: Perennial, 2004. 243 pp. ISBN 0-06-095975-4.

Dewey Construction

  • 200: Religion
  • 220: The Bible
  • 220.5: Modern version and translations
  • 220.52: Versions in English and Anglo-Saxon
  • 220.5203: King James Version
  • +8: History

When Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, she left England languishing in an old system of nobility and still divided on the topic of religion. English Protestants and Catholics had their country locked in an interminable spiritual tug-of-war for their souls. With the coronation of James VI of Scotland as King of England (renamed James I), came the inevitable questions: Would the clergy be upheaved? Which spiritual laws superceded others? Up until then, the Church of England was a mish-mash of theological concepts from both sides. But James sought to smooth out the rough edges and convened the Hampton Court of 1604. And herein lies our tale.

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349: You Can Get Arrested For That by Rich Smith


349.73: Smith, Rich. You Can Get Arrested for That: 2 Guys, 25 Dumb Laws, 1 Absurd American Crime Spree. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006. 237 pp. ISBN 978-0-307-33942-3.

Dewey Construction:

  • 300: Social Science
  • 340: Law
  • 349: Law of specific jurisdictions, areas, socioeconomic regions, and regional intergovernmental organizations
  • 349.73: Laws of the United States (in general)

During a Christmas holiday with his family, Cornish journalist Rich Smith was playing a trivia game and asked the question “What is illegal for a divorced woman to do in Florida on Sundays?” The answer, to everyone’s astonishment was: parachuting. After that, he wanted to find out what other silly acts were illegal in the US. Once the plan was in mind, he hoodwinked his buddy Bateman into driving him around for the summer and the race was on.

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975: A Year at Monticello by Donald Jackson

975.5482: Jackson, Donald. A Year at Monticello — 1795. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1989. 104 pp. ISBN 1-55591-050-5.

Dewey Construction:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 970: History of North America
  • 975: History of the Southeastern United States
  • 975.5: History of Virginia
  • 975.5482: History of Albemarle County, Virginia

Well after Thomas Jefferson had penned his name on of the founding documents of the United States, after his stint as governor of Virginia and writing its constitution, and after becoming minister to France and Secretary of State, he retired. As he said goodbye to his governmental duties, he looked with contentment to his home in Virginia—Monticello. Although never fully constructed to his liking, he maintained the farms, the factory, and the family for a full year before the nation called on him to serve again.

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