Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Month: September, 2013

502: The Man Who Tried to Clone Himself by Marc Abrahams

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502: Abrahams, Marc. The Man Who Tried to Clone Himself—And Other True Stories of the World’s Most Bizarre Research and the Ig Nobel Prizes. New York: Plume, 2006. 250 pp. ISBN 0-452-28772-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 502: Miscellany (General science)

Every year (and every day, sometimes), landmark research is published and the results amaze, shock, or comfort the world. Cures and vaccines and psychological insights are gleaned from meticulous scientific research. But not all science is groundbreaking and world-changing; sometimes it’s just one person or a small group looking into the unlit areas of the world. They prod and examine the natural world for even the most esoteric knowledge, hoping that one day, it will be understand in a much larger context. And even for these off-the-beaten-path researchers, there are yearly awards—the Ig Nobels. Marc Abrahams The Man Who Tried to Clone Himself is a collection of the most delightful, most disconcerting, and most distinguished winners from the last 22 years.

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610: One Doctor by Brendan Reilly

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610.695: Reilly, Brendan. One Doctor: Close Calls, Cold Cases, and the Mysteries of Medicine. New York: Atria Books, 2013. 369 pp. ISBN 978-1-4767-2629-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 610: Medicine
  • 610.6: Organizations, management, group practice, medical personnel and relationships
  • 610.69: Medical personnel and relationships
  • 610.695: Physicians

Medicine is simultaneously one of the most rewarding and heart-breaking fields to work in. Every day, millions of physicians are tasked with managing the livelihoods of countless injured or sick patients. They can have an infinite number of backgrounds and come in with a dizzying array of issues. In relatively little time, they have to assess their patient, diagnose them, and pursue a course of treatment that takes many factors into account. I do not envy them one bit, but neither do I bemoan their profession or their pay. Brendan Reilly’s One Doctor gives us a peek into a two-week window of the life of a primary care physician and his team at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

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630: One-Woman Farm by Jenna Woginrich

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630.974749: Woginrich, Jenna. One-Woman Farm: My Life Shared with Sheep, Pigs, Chickens, Goats, and a Fine Fiddle. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2013. 208 pp. ISBN 978-1-6034-2718-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 630: Agriculture and related technologies
  • +974749: Washington County, New York, United States

One day, while listening to a friend wax contently about life on his farm in the Hudson Valley, Jenna Woginrich became jealous. She wanted that life, filled with cold mornings, broken fences, herding chickens, and baling hay. She wanted her life to have more seasons and less weekends. She wanted a dog at her side and a horse under saddle. In One-Woman Farm, she recounts how she did just that and gives us a year in the life of a New York State farmer.

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296: Hanukkah in America by Dianne Ashton

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296.4350973: Ashton, Dianne. Hanukkah in America: A History. New York: New York University Press, 2013. 278 pp. ISBN 978-0-8147-0739-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 290: Other religions
  • 296: Judaism
  • 296.4: Traditions, rite, and public services
  • 296.43: Festivals, holy days, and fasts
  • 296.435: Hanukkah
  • +0973: United States

Hanukkah is one of the oldest religious observances still extant and celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean revolts during the 2nd century BCE. It begins on the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar and continues for eight nights and days. For almost two thousand years, it was a solemn occasion replete with songs, rituals, and reflection. But, like all things, when Jewish populations increased in the United States, it became a much more diverse and interesting event. Dianne Ashton’s Hanukkah in America is a look at how changes in America’s social landscape intertwined with and transformed Hanukkah forever.

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420: The Prodigal Tongue by Mark Abley

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420.9: Abley, Mark. The Prodigal Tongue: Dispatches from the Future of English. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. 236 pp. ISBN 978-0-618-57122-2.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 400: Language
  • 420: English and Old English
  • 420.9: History of the English language

If you perk up your ears for a bit, you will notice that English is not the language it once was. Odd terms, new phrases, and foreign invasions are changing English from the inside out. The explosion of the Internet and small-scale news have given localisms a chance to flourish on a global scale. It took the word “teenager” roughly sixty years to become mainstream, but now noob and lol are commonplace after only a decade of use. Mark Abley’s The Prodigal Tongue traces the historical journey of the English and project many possible changes the language could take.

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617: The Knife Man by Wendy Moore

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617.092: Moore, Wendy. The Knife Man: Blood, Body-Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery. London: Bantam, 2006. 535 pp. ISBN 0-5538-1618-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 610: Medicine
  • 617: Miscellaneous branches of medicine and surgery
  • +092: Biography

In the middle of the 18th century, surgery was still a gruesome practice. Bloodletting and induced vomiting were standard procedures for all manners of ailments. But, like in all the sciences, one practitioner decided to upend convention and actually study the field from the ground up, asking basic questions and looking for observable phenomena. Wendy Moore’s The Knife Man chronicles the life of John Hunter, a doctor from rural Scotland who would almost single-handedly set right the world of surgery and change medicine for the better.

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266: By the Rivers of Water by Erskine Clarke

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266.5092: Clarke, Erskine. By the Rivers of Water: A Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey. New York: Basic Books, 2013. 378 pp. ISBN 978-0-465-00272-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 260: Christian social and ecclesiastical theory
  • 266: Missions
  • 266.5: Presbyterian Church missions
  • +092: Biography

Slavery was a way of life in early 19th-century Georgia. While the wholesale importation of slaves from Africa was officially banned by law by 1807, the subjugation of existing blacks in the South was still legal. The different layers of culture, status, and race blended to create a complicated atmosphere. Erskine Clarke’s By the Rivers of Water details the lives of plantation owners turned missionaries John Leighton and Jane Bayard Wilson to West Africa and how their journey to help others offers new perspective on an old problem.

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