Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Month: March, 2013

284: Letters to Lutheran Pastors by Hermann Sasse


284.1: Sasse, Hermann. Letters to Lutheran Pastors, Volume 1: 1948-1951. Edited and translated by Matthew C. Harrison. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2013. App. 600 pp. ISBN 978-0-7586-2800-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 280: Denominations and sects of the Christian Church
  • 284: Protestant denomination of Continental origin and related bodies
  • 284.1: Lutheran churches

This is a whopper of a book. It catalogues the translated letters of Hermann Sasse, a confessional Lutheran theologian, written from 1948 to 1951. At this point in his career, he had survived the National Socialist regime of World War II Germany and had been teaching religious studies for two decades at the University of Erlangen. In 1949, he moved to Adelaide to teach at the seminary at the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia. These letters detail his concerns with confessional faith, Lutheran ecumenism, and how a body of churches should teach its theological precepts to the world.

Read the rest of this entry »

226: Mark by the Book by P. W. Smuts


226.306: Smuts, P. W. Mark by the Book: A New Multidirectional Method for Understanding the Synoptic Gospels. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2013. 225 pp. ISBN 978-1-59638-440-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 220: The Bible
  • 226: Gospels & Acts
  • 226.3: Mark
  • 226.306: Exegesis

If other books on Biblical scripture were like this one, I’d read more of them. The unfortunately-named Biblical scholar P. W. Smuts, in Mark by the Book, systematically dissects each passage in the Gospel of Mark and shows not only the meaning behind a straightforward reading of the text, but how the text is informed by the Old Testament, relates to the other Gospels, and helps in reading later passages of the New Testament. This model of straight-back-sideways-forward reading constitutes the “multidirectional” part of his method. His brand of hermeneutics (interpretation of the Bible) is refreshing and deep at the same time.

Read the rest of this entry »

932: The Shadow King by Jo Marchant


932.014092: Marchant, Jo. The Shadow King: The Bizarre Afterlife of King Tut’s Mummy. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, 2013. 245 pp. ISBN 978-0-306-82133-2.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 930: History of the ancient world
  • 932: History of Egypt to 640
  • 932.01: Early history to 332  B.C.
  • 932.014: Period of New Kingdom, 1570-1075 B.C.
  • +092: Biography

1,300 years before the birth of Christ, one man ruled over a desert kingdom. But he wasn’t really a man. Taking the throne at age nine, Tutankhamun ended the worship of the god Aten in favor of the god Amun (hence the name) as well as directed the continuation of building projects at Karnak and Thebes. Because he was a child, most of the day-to-day decisions were handled by his powerful advisers. Ten years into his reign, he died from an unknown cause. As was customary, his body was treated with great respect, mummified, and laid to rest in a secret temple in the Valley of the Kings. And then he was forgotten. Forgotten, that is, until 1922, when Howard Carter unsealed his tomb and reintroduced him to the world. Jo Marchant’s The Shadow King is an exploration of both the life and afterlife of the legendary Egyptian leader.

Read the rest of this entry »

810: Ornithologies of Desire by Travis V. Mason


810: Mason, Travis V. Ornithologies of Desire: Ecocritical Essays, Avian Poetics, and Don McKay. Waterloo, ONT, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013. 226 pp. ISBN 978-1-55458-630-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 800: Literature
  • 810: American literature in English

This is another one of those book where I don’t have a fun, exciting, or enticing lede. Travis V. Mason’s Ornithologies of Desire is an in-depth look at the writing of Canadian poet-critic-essayist Don McKay. But rather than a straightforward textual reading of McKay’s works, Mason uses McKay’s love of birds and ornithology to create a ecocritical lens through which to examine McKay.

Read the rest of this entry »

340: Rebels at the Bar by Jill Norgren


340.0820973: Norgren, Jill. Rebels at the Bar: The Fascinating, Forgotten Stories of America’s First Women Lawyers. New York: New York University Press, 2013. 212 pp. ISBN 978-0-8147-5862-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 340: Law
  • +082: Women
  • +0973: United States

Jill Norgren, in her upcoming book Rebels at the Bar, wants to shine a light on a forgotten corner of American history. While there are many woman law practitioners today, the mid-1800s saw the breaking of the barrier. America had come out of the Second Great Awakening with an interesting amount of education societies of which women were a large part. With new-found access to education (no thanks to men legislators and officials), they sought to work along side their male counterparts in many notable professions. This included the law. While lawyers were generally seen in the same way as we do today, well-meaning members of society thought the law to be a noble calling. Norgren’s book details the life and times of eight pioneering women in the field.

Read the rest of this entry »

796: The Ghost Runner by Bill Jones


796.42092: Jones, Bill. The Ghost Runner: The Epic Journey of the Man They Couldn’t Stop. New York: Pegasus Books, 2012. 264 pp. ISBN 978-1-6059-8413-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts
  • 790: Recreational and performing arts
  • 796: Athletic and outdoor sports and games
  • 796.4: Weightlifting, track and field, and gymnastics
  • 796.42: Track and field (running)
  • +092: Biography

He was a ghost—no number, no official listing, no limitations. John Tarrant snuck to the starting lines of hundreds of races in the 1950s and 1960s and jetted away once the starter’s pistol sounded. Race officials were always stymied when he passed; without a bib number, they didn’t know how to mark his time. His British countrymen revered him as a man who dared to stand up to the system. Even when he moved to South Africa to run against apartheid, he was still persona non grata. His past dogged him wherever he went, and no organization authorized or recognized his amazing ability on the track . Bill Jones’s The Ghost Runner is a fascinating look into the life of a man whose teenage mistakes caused a lifetime of pain and prejudice.

Read the rest of this entry »

001: Atlantis and the Silver City by Peter Daughtrey


001.94: Daughtrey, Peter. Atlantis and the Silver City. New York: Pegasus, 2013. 217 pp. ISBN 978-1-4532-7170-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 000: Computer science, information, and general works
  • 001: Knowledge
  • 001.9: Controversial knowledge
  • 001.94: Mysteries (including Atlantis)

Just under 2,400 years ago, a Greek man named Plato sat down and wrote a tale about a mythical place from a mythical time. It was an island in the vast, unexplored ocean that housed a civilization better than anything ever seen before. The island nation was overseen by a descendant of the god Poseidon and his nine siblings. Every passageway into the mainland was decorated with marble, brass, tin, and orichcalcum, an exotic metal. They oversaw a vast empire, and all that came to an abrupt end in 9600 BCE when a “single day and night of misfortune” wiped the island off the Earth. This island was called Atlantis and Peter Daughtrey’s Atlantis and the Silver City tries to settle the debate of its truth and origin.

Read the rest of this entry »