Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Month: February, 2013

336: Austerity by Mark Blyth


336: Blyth, Mark. Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 197 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-989798-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 330: Economics
  • 336: Public finance

My favorite thing about reading occurs when I do not understand a concept. I read a book about it and then, magically, knowledge appears. This is perhaps a clichéd notion, but it still makes me feel good about reading. By no stretch of the imagination will I be able to teach a course in economics after this one, but when I hear radio and news reports of the economic landscape, I should be able to follow them with a little more understanding. Mark Blyth’s Austerity is a book really about three related things: convoluted economic instruments and how their interrelatedness sparked the current global downturn, the history of austerity as a way to alter a country’s financial standing, and how the clarion call for austerity measures in economically weak European countries is perhaps the wrong thing to do.

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712: The Hermit in the Garden by Gordon Campbell


712.09: Campbell, Gordon. The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to the Ornamental Gnome. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 210 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-969699-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts
  • 710: Civic and landscape art
  • 712: Landscape architecture and design
  • +09: History

At some point during the European Renaissance (no one knows for sure when), a curious trend started. Men of religion or of means built themselves a small shack in the countryside with the barest essentials and lived out their days in solitude and reflection. The hermits could either live in the vast acreage of a nobleman or by a monastery. Their lives were devoted to prayer, reading, communing with nature, writing, or gardening. Then, England got a hold of the practice and it took on a life of its own. While it does explore the European roots of the phenomenon, Gordon Campbell’s The Hermit in the Garden mainly chronicles the rise and fall of English hermitages and how they existed in (and just outside) British society, culture, and literature.

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346: The Democracy of Sound by Alex Sayf Cummings


346.730482: Cummings, Alex Sayf. The Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 223 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-985822-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 340: Law
  • 346: Private law
  • 346.7: North American private law
  • 346.73: United States private law
  • 346.7304: Property law
  • 346.73048: Intellectual property
  • 346.730482: Copyright law

When a work is created, who owns it? In most cases, people would automatically credit the creator with ownership. The creator normally says who can reproduce the work and how. This is the domain of copyright law: just who has the right to copy a publication. This works well for a written creation, but what of a musical composition? Who owns the music, the sound? Can you own sound? These are the questions that faced the fledgling recording industry immediately after the invention of the phonograph. Alex Sayf Cumming examines the history of musical copyright law and how the recording industry copes with increasing nuance in The Democracy of Sound.

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347: Out of Order by Sandra Day O’Connor


347.732609: O’Connor, Sandra Day. Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court. New York: Random House, 2013. 131 pp. ISBN 978-0-8129-9392-9.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 340: Law
  • 347: Procedure and courts
  • 347.7: Procedure and courts of North America
  • 347.73: Procedure and courts of the United States
  • 347.732: Federal courts
  • 347.7326: Supreme Court
  • +09: History

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated a jurist from the Arizona Court of Appeals to the US Supreme Court. For the first time in the court’s 191-year history a woman was named to fill a seat on the nation highest bench. Sandra Day O’Connor served the Supreme Court for 25 years with distinction and Honor. And now she wants to share her knowledge of the history, traditions, and personalities of the Court with us in Out of Order.

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639: Introduction to Restoration Ecology by Howell, Harrington, and Glass


639.9: Howell, Evelyn A., John A. Harrington, & Stephen B. Glass. Introduction to Restoration Ecology. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2011. 400 pp. ISBN 978-1-59726-189-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 630: Agriculture
  • 639: Hunting, fishing, conservation, or related technologies
  • 639.9: Conservation of biological resources

Alright, folks—this is a measure of my dedication to this project. Staying up until 11 PM on a perfectly good Friday night reading a textbook on restoration ecology, even though there is very little chance I’ll ever be out in nature helping to restore some abandoned wetland or forest. But now, I have the prerequisite training to least follow a conservation conversation (see what I did there?). And Howell, Harrington, and Glass’s textbook on the subject—Introduction to Restoration Ecology—is a very suitable primer for the subject.

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027: Main Street Public Library by Wayne A. Wiegand


027.477: Wiegand, Wayne A. Main Street Public Library: Community Places and Reading Spaces in the Rural Heartland, 1876-1956. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2011. 180 pp. ISBN 978-1-60938-067-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 000: Computer science, information, and general works
  • 020: Library and information sciences
  • 027: General libraries, archives, and information centers
  • 027.4: Public libraries
  • +77: North Central United States and Lake states

In an age where libraries are becoming more and more technical, where cybrarians are the new normal, and library services include everything from toddler’s story time to teenage game rooms to technical courses for the elderly but savvy user, it’s nice to look back at the beginnings of the institution. While libraries in America have been around since the Library Company of Philadelphia formed in 1731, patrons never really get a sense of the history of the building. Wayne Wiegand’s Main Street Public Library tries to wind back the clock and chronicle the beginnings of four typical libraries in America’s Midwest.

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596: The Kingdom of Rarities by Eric Dinerstein


596: Dinerstein, Eric. The Kingdom of Rarities. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2013. 270 pp. ISBN 978-1-61091-195-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Pure Science
  • 590: Zoological sciences
  • 596: Chordata (vertebrates)

In the world of animals, there exists an interesting phenomena: of the millions of species on the planet, why are there so many with extremely limited population sizes? What processes lead to the limiting of animal groups? Why, for instance, is the Kirtland’s warbler so rare that an entire festival is planned around their sighting? Eric Dinerstein, a veteran of the World Wildlife Fund, travels the world to check out hotspots of animal rarity. In The Kingdom of Rarities, he posits that the animal kingdom can be divided into two groups—the Kingdom of the Common and the Kingdom of the Rare. It’s these rare species that help to drive biological research and that research is one of the many keys required to unlock the mysteries of how the world’s ecosystems function.

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