Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 890s

894: Snow by Orhan Pamuk


894.3533: Pamuk, Orhan. Snow. Translated by Maureen Freely. New York: Vintage International, 2005. 426 pp. ISBN 0-375-70686-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 800: Literature
  • 890: Other literatures
  • 894: Literatures of Altaic, Uralic, Hyperborean, Dravidian languages; literatures of miscellaneous languages of south Asia
  • 894.3: Turkic literatures
  • 894.35: Turkish literature
  • 894.353: Turkish fiction
  • 894.3533: Authors born between 1850 and 1999

In Orhan Pamuk’s Snow, a man comes home. As always, the context is excruciatingly important. Ka, a Turkish poet, who has lived for a while in Germany, returns to his home country to investigate a series of young suicides in the town of Kars. It’s a small town, and religious tensions run high. Ka doesn’t write much poetry any more, but the folks in Kars, when not dodging political subterfuge or looking for angles, give him more credit than he deserves for his writing. In the town of Kars lives Ipek, a woman recently separated from her political candidate husband, a woman who reminds Ka of better days, a woman who he thinks can save him and his poetry. In the dead of winter, Ka soon learns, however, just how heavy and silent the snow can be.

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892: All Whom I Have Loved by Aharon Appelfeld


892.46: Appelfeld, Aharon. All Whom I Have Loved: A Novel. Translated by Aloma Halter. New York: Schocken, 2007. 246 pp. ISBN 978-0-8052-4177-8.

Dewey Construction:

  • 800: Literature
  • 890: Literatures of other specific languages and language families
  • 892: Afro-Asiatic or Semitic literatures
  • 892.4: Hebrew literature
  • 892.46: Hebrew literature from authors starting between 1947 to 1999.

[Note: Be warned that this is a review of a work of fiction, and as such, contains more than a few spoilers. If you wish to be truly surprised by this book, please do not read on.]

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891: A Treatise on Poetry by Czeslaw Milosz

891.8: Milosz, Czeslaw. A Treatise on Poetry. New York: Ecco Press, 2001. 125 pp. ISBN 0-06-018524-4.

The fact that literature from areas of the world not named Europe or the United States all get crushed into the 890s is both a shame and a blessing. It’s a shame because all “non-Western” literatures have a uniqueness and truth to offer. From Iranian literature to Japanese literature to Nigerian literature to Russian literature, we can get a wondrous and varied sense of being from those very much removed from ourselves and our cultures. It’s a blessing because Dewey section 891 is for East Indio-European and Celtic literatures, and if I didn’t have this interesting and slim volume of Polish poetry, I would have to read War and Peace to satisfy this section, and that scared the bejesus out of me.

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