Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 700s

750: The Louvre


750: Laclotte, Michel and Jean-Pierre Cuzin. The Louvre: Paintings. Paris, France: Editions Scala, 2000. 284 pp. ISBN 2-86656-236-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 750: Painting and paintings

On August 10, 1793, a wondrous building was made open to the public. Exactly one year before, Louis XVI was imprisoned and the monarchy felled. The National Assembly urged that the works of art hoarded by Louis and previous kings be collected and displayed so that they could preserve the national memory. At it’s opening, The Louvre showcased 537 paintings and 184 other objects of art. From there started an interesting and sometimes sordid history. Michel Laclotte and Jean-Pierre Cuzin’s The Louvre gives a history of each of the museum’s major collection, but more importantly, displays a wide variety of the museum’s pieces in glorious color plates.

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728: The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka


728.37: Susanka, Sarah. The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live. Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 2001. 194 pp. ISBN 1-56158-611-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 720: Architecture
  • 728: Residential and related buildings
  • 3: Specific kinds of conventional housing
  • 37: Separate houses

For a while there, people wanted large houses—big kitchens, big vaults, big bedrooms. But now, with a greater social awareness and rapid population comes the thought that there might be a limit to how much living space a person actually needs. Sarah Susanka’s The Not So Big House takes a look at how living spaces can be modified or built to accommodate a whole range of needs without becoming sprawling ranch houses.

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771: Vermeer’s Camera by Philip Steadman


771: Steadman, Philip. Vermeer’s Camera: Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001. 165 pp. ISBN 0-19-215967-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 770: Photography, photographs, and computer art
  • 771: Techniques, procedures, apparatus, equipment, and materials

There have been many times I’ve looked at a piece of art and wondered how they created it. From Escher’s mind-blowing drawings to Calder’s amazingly delicate mobiles, how artists engineer their art is almost as interesting as the art itself. In Vermeer’s Camera, Philip Steadman painstakingly details the use of the camera obscura in Vermeer’s paintings. His investigations not only gives us a peek at the artist’s technique and practical knowledge, but also illuminate the very intriguing intersection of science and art.

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790: Mongo by Ted Botha


790.132: Botha, Ted. Mongo: Adventures in Trash. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004. 242 pp. ISBN 1-58234-567-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 790: Recreational and performing arts
  • 790.1: General kinds of recreational activities
  • 790.13: Activities generally engaged in by individuals
  • 790.132: Collecting

If you’ve ever seen an object on the side of the road or fished something from a dumpster or a trash pile, then you’ve engaged in mongo. In the traditional sense, mongo is any object that been discarded but now retrieved. Mongo can either be for profit or pleasure (or sometimes both). Mongo culture comes with many different subdivisions: people mongo for food, books, furniture, car parts, antiques, or just for decoration. For some, mongo is their only way of surviving, and for others, it’s a side project. Ted Botha’s Mongo is look into this often-invisible subculture.

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769: The Error World by Simon Garfield


769.56092: Garfield, Simon. The Error World: An Affair with Stamps. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 245 pp. ISBN 978-0-15-101396-8.


Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Arts and Recreation
  • 760: Printmaking and prints
  • 769: Prints
  • 769.5: Forms of prints
  • 769.56: Postage stamps and related devices
  • +092: Biography

We are all of us collectors. Be it books, baseballs cards, or Barbie dolls, what we gather into our lives defines us in some way. Simon Garfield’s life seems to be one of not only collecting, but of crisis and loss. From his first experience with stamp collecting, he was hooked, but his pseudo-obsession with philately would cost him more than money. In his The Error World, he looks at the history of both stamp-making and stamp collecting as well as the trajectory of his own life in relation to his hobby.

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733: The Elgin Affair by Theodore Vrettos


733.309385: Vrettos, Theodore. The Elgin Affair: The True Story of the Greatest Theft in History. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2011. 212 pp. ISBN 1-6114-5315-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 730: Plastic arts and sculpture
  • 733: Greek, Roman, and Etruscan sculpture
  • 733.3: Greek (Hellenic) sculpture
  • +09385: Ancient Attica to 323 CE

From 1801 to 1812, the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, acquired some of the greatest sculptures in the Western world. His agents loaded priceless pieces of art onto barges and boats so that he could sell them to the British Museum for safekeeping. By 1812, he had removed 17 statues, 15 metope panels, 247 feet of frieze, and several other pieces of the Parthenon from Greece. Needless to say, this was all highly suspect and entirely illegal. Theodore Vrettos’s The Elgin Affair chronicles the history of the displacement and how the selfishness of a single 19th century official can lead to strained relations two hundred years later.

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715: Landscape Plants by Ferrell Bridwell


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.