Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Month: May, 2014

684: Measure Twice, Cut Once by Norm Abram

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684: Abram, Norm. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Lessons from a Master Carpenter. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1996. 194 pp. ISBN 0-316-00494-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 680: Manufacture of products for specific uses
  • 684: Furnishings and home workshops

If you’re anything like me and you’ve ever watched an episode of This Old House, you will find it both mesmerizing and engaging. Master carpenter Norm Abram would spend each episode guiding the viewer through a woodworking construction project, giving helpful tips and tricks for doing the job correctly the first time. Measure Twice, Cut Once, a collection of his short essays, is much the same way. He talks about growing up in a carpentry family (his father and grandfather each built their own homes), his relationship with the craft, and his impressions on different tools and techniques. This short book covers a lot of basics, from which tools work better in different situations to how past jobs have led to current techniques when on a project. This book actually got me thinking of which tools I have in my toolbox and how to best use them. Luckily, Abram stays away from the sappy and lands this collection squarely in the realm of the sentimental. For anyone looking for casual information about classic carpentry or a quick jolt of folksy-ish memoir, this one should not disappoint.

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715: Landscape Plants by Ferrell Bridwell

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715: Bridwell, Ferrell M. Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Culture and Use. Albany, NY: Delmar Thompson Learnings, 1994. 525 pp. ISBN 0-8273-6017-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts
  • 710: Civic and landscape art
  • 715: Woody plants in landscape architecture

Ferrell Bridwell’s Landscape Plants is exactly what it advertises. Bridwell catalogs all the plants that can be used in outdoor landscaping, plain and simple. While the book is essentially a catalog of plants, there is a fair amount of discussion on which plants are more commonly used than others, how to arrange materials to create an appealing landscape, and which plants grow better in different geographic locales. The book focuses more on the decorative appearance and care necessary for the plants, so don’t expect too deep a discussion of plant biology and morphology. There are, however, sections on each plant dealing with pest control, growth rates, and many other maintenance subjects. If you’re looking to landscape your own property or need some answers to questions you have about your foliage, this is a very good book to turn to. It’s not a page turner, but rather a fairly decent reference tool.

865: In Search of the Present by Octavio Paz

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865: Paz, Octavio. In Search of the Present: The 1990 Nobel Lecture. Translated by Anthony Stanton. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1990. 68 pp. ISBN 0-15-644556-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 800: Literature
  • 860: Literatures of Spanish and Portuguese languages
  • 865: Spanish speeches

When the Nobel Committee announced Octavio Paz as the laureate in literature in 1990, it was the first time a Mexican writer had been elevated to the position. The committee cited his “impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity.” Every year, if the recipient can, each laureate is invited to Oslo to give a speech to both accept the award and share a little bit of their vision of the world. Paz’s speech, In Search of the Present, is a quiet reflection on his history as a writer, as a reader, and as a lifelong pursuer of the “modern.”

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113: The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos by Brian Swimme

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113: Swimme, Brian. The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos: Humanity and the New Story. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996. 112 pp. ISBN 1-57075-281-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 110: Metaphysics
  • 113: Cosmology (Philosophy of nature)

Brian Swimme’s The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos is one of the weirdest books I’ve read in a long time. In one fell swoop, he declares capitalism the new cult of our age and urges parents to replace evangelist doctrine with teachings of astronomy, science, and cosmology. His main invective is against the constant barrage of advertisements, product placement, and consumer behavior that gets ingrained into children, thereby teaching them that the meaning of life is in things and not ideas. While this is not an entirely crazy notion, his hippy-dippy awe of the universe sometime gets in the way of his message.

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518: Principle of Numerical Analysis by Alston S. Householder

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518: Householder, Alston S. Principles of Numerical Analysis. York, PA: The Maple Press Company, 1953. 246 pp.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 510: Mathematics
  • 518: Numerical analysis

Before I earned a degree in library science, and before became a major in English literature, I wanted to be a mathematician. I was even decently proficient at it. Integrals, differentials, infinite sets—these were all a lot of fun for me. So, for me, Alston Householder’s Principle of Numerical Analysis was a trip down memory lane. Here, he discusses the use and derivation of calculation errors, linear and nonlinear equations, matrix and vector mathematics, and yes, integrals and differentials.

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512: A History of Pi by Petr Beckmann

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512.924: Beckmann, Petr. A History of Pi. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1990. 189 pp. ISBN 0-8802-9418-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 510: Mathematics
  • 512: Algebra
  • 512.9: Foundations of algebra
  • 512.92: Algebraic operations
  • 512.924: Approximation, ratio, and proportion

Pi is an amazing, irrational, and indispensable tool in the mathematical and scientific world. Nature loves a curve, and it takes pi to measure them. At its core, pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius. It is a strange quirk of the universe that it takes a little more than three radii to completely measure the circumference. And it’s the “little more” part that has been vexing mathematicians for the last ten thousand years. Petr Beckmann’s A History of Pi (originally written in 1971) is a unique look at the social, scientific, and mathematical history of this strange constant.

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997: The Falklands War 1982 by Duncan Anderson

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997.11024: Anderson, Duncan. The Falklands War 1982. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2002. 92 pp. ISBN 1-84176-422-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 990: History of the Pacific Ocean Island, other parts of the world, and extraterrestrial worlds
  • 997: History of Atlantic Ocean islands
  • 997.1: Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and Bouvet Island
  • 997.11: Falkland Islands
  • 997.1102: British period, 1832 to present
  • 997.11024: Falkland Islands War, 1982

In the spring of 1982, Argentine military leaders decided to invade the South Georgia and Falkland Islands, which had been under British control for 150 years, and reclaim their former territory. Not wishing to seem too hesitant, British Prime Minister Thatcher immediately sent a retaliatory naval and ground force to re-occupy the Falklands. After 74 days of fighting, the British emerged victorious and British troops held a celebratory march through London for the first time since the Second World War. Duncan Anderson’s The Falklands War 1982 is a whirlwind tour through the background, battles, and history of the quick entanglement.

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