Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 680s

687: Jeans by James Sullivan


687.1: Sullivan, James. Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon. New York: Gotham Books, 2006. 265 pp. ISBN 1-592-40214-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 680: Manufacture of products for specific uses
  • 687: Clothing and accessories
  • 687.1: Specific kinds of garments

Despite how advertisers keep treating as a new and exciting clothing, jeans, and the denim they are made from, have been around for hundreds of years. Blue jeans are named after their place of first import, Genoa, Italy, and denim comes from the material serge de Nimes, a cotton blend from Nimes, France. Materials for jeans arrived in the America almost right after the Pilgrims did. Denim jeans have been part of the social and manufacturing landscape for so long that they seem almost ineffable. James Sullivan’s Jeans, however, goes a little deeper into the history of jeans to find a chronicle of rebellion and globalization.

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684: Measure Twice, Cut Once by Norm Abram


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.

688: LEGO by Jonathan Bender


688.725: Bender, Jonathan. LEGO: A Love Story. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. 262 pp. ISBN 978-0-470-40702-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 680: Manufacture of products for specific use
  • 688: Other final products and packaging technology
  • 688.7: Recreational equipment
  • 688.72: Toys
  • 688.725: Educational toys

Like most kids in the US, I had LEGO bricks. I would spend whole weekends designing elaborate houses and scenes, just to tear it down and start again. Jonathan Bender’s LEGO: A Love Story captures the same energy and glee that children first have when playing with LEGO. His re-introduction to the world of toy brickwork follows the same pattern of most current-day AFOLs (adult fans of LEGO), with the discovery of a long-forgotten bin of bricks. You can’t help but play with them once found. Most adults who build with LEGO bricks have a period when they’ve put them away but never got rid of them. Now, with wholesalers of individual pieces, collector’s sets, and conventions devoted to LEGO products, the company has made an interesting resurgence.

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686: Gutenberg by John Man

686.1092: Man, John. Gutenberg: How One Man Remade the World with Words. New York: MJF Books, 2002. 292 pp. ISBN 1-56731-743-X.

There are certain cataloguers that would place this book in the 020s, as it could be considered a book on books, but this book is more a biography of a historical person who invented the technology possible to mass-produce books on a scale never seen before. And, Dewey being Dewey, there is a special section for technology related to printing: 686.

Johannes Gutenberg’s life is just tangible enough to warrant a full-length biography, and just sketchy enough to beget a whole society of people who scour archives around Europe trying to find anything they can about him. If it weren’t for his many business dealings (and debts), we wouldn’t have half the information we do now. Born in 1398 to an upper-class merchant family, he grew up around the minting and goldsmithing trades. He is assumed to have studies at the University of Erfurt around 1418. And then he disappears.

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