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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 150-159: Paging Dr. Freud…

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 150 Psychology
  • 151 No longer used—formerly Intellect
  • 152 Perception, movement, emotions, and drives
  • 153 Mental processes and intelligence
  • 154 Subconscious and altered states
  • 155 Differential and developmental psychology
  • 156 Comparative psychology
  • 157 No longer used—formerly Emotions
  • 158 Applied psychology
  • 159 No longer used—formerly Will

What’s that saying? Psychology is the study of a tree whereas sociology is the study of the forest? Well, consider it Arbor Day on Teach Me How To Dewey. My library had a robust 150s selection compared to the 140s, which perhaps isn’t surprising given the broad nature and scope of psychology. The human brain is a deep well of possibility, capable of so much (language, intelligent design) and yet so little (YouTube comment sections). Of course Freud and Jung and Co. pop up here, but also pop psychology and books than aren’t quite as obsessed with sex as Sigmund.

It’s interesting to see how formerly used Dewey sections, like 157 and 159, have or have not been integrated within modern arrangements. Emotions has moved from 157 to 152, yet Will has disappeared, at least from the 150s. Perhaps a more robust study of Dewey would reveal these nuances?

TheDew3:

The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
By M. Scott Peck
Dewey: 158.1
Random Sentence: “Life is difficult.”

Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children
By Michael Newton
Dewey: 155.4567
Random Sentence: “They ran on all fours, bowed head-down in the dust.”

The Plenitude: Creativity, Innovation, and Making Stuff
By Rich Gold
Dewey: 153.35
Random Sentence: “And before Barney it was a well-known Kahuna that only boys like dinosaurs.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 130-139: Calling Questlove

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 130 Parapsychology and occultism
  • 131 Parapsychological and occult methods
  • 132 No longer used—formerly Mental derangements
  • 133 Specific topics in parapsychology and occultism
  • 134 No longer used—formerly Mesmerism and Clairvoyance
  • 135 Dreams and mysteries
  • 136 No longer used—formerly Mental characteristics
  • 137 Divinatory graphology
  • 138 Physiognomy
  • 139 Phrenology

So many strange words in this section–where to start? I have no idea what Physiognomy (138) means and I’m not even going to look it up. I’m going to pretend that it is the study of a human’s physiological reaction to gnomes. Academic librarians, could you point me to some good physiognomy journals? Publications lacking pictures of gnomes will not be considered. We also have Phrenology, which I’m assuming is the study of The Roots. (Contrary evidence of this assertion also will not be considered.)

Meanwhile, we’ve got a fascinating collection of topics in this ten-spot, including Mental derangements, Mesmerism, and Divinatory graphology, which is the practice of seeking knowledge of the future (divinatory) through handwriting analysis (graphology). Ummmm… OK. I should come out as a skeptic of this kind of stuff: not of the paranormal per se, because I do believe in the spiritual, but of the general wisdom of messing around with all the “dark matter” out there. I’m happy to debate and learn more about it, but don’t invite me to your seance because I’m too busy Deweying.

On second thought, summoning the spirit of Melvil Dewey for a Q&A on this blog would be quite the scoop.

The Dew3:

Cosmic Karma: Understanding Your Contract With the Universe
By Marguerite Manning
Dewey: 133.5
Random Sentence: “In this Pluto house, intellectual freedom is power.”

So You Want To Be Psychic?
By Billy Roberts
Dewey: 133.8
Random Sentence: “Allow the space surrounding you to become slowly flooded with vibrant light, coloured with pink.”

You Can Read A Face Like A Book: How Reading Faces Helps You Succeed in Business and Relationships
By Naomi Tickle
Dewey: 138
Random Sentence: “Individuals with large ear lobes are naturally inclined to support others in their personal growth.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 120-129: Deweyterminism

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 120 Epistemology, causation, and humankind
  • 121 Epistemology
  • 122 Causation
  • 123 Determinism and indeterminism
  • 124 Teleology
  • 125 No longer used—formerly Infinity
  • 126 The self
  • 127 The unconscious and the subconscious
  • 128 Humankind
  • 129 Origin and destiny of individual souls

Can we discuss 125 for a second? “Formerly Infinity”? That 1) should be a high school garage band or Tumblr immediately, and 2) is, when you think about it for a second, an insane mind-melt. Something used to be infinite but now is not?

I was also intrigued by teleology, which is the study of evidences of design in nature. In fact, all of these topics are terrifically vast fields of knowledge through which we can frolic and smell the books. (Though if you start poking around the subconscious, get ready to find some crazy stuff.) If you’re looking for some light beach reading, now you know where to start.

The Dew3:

Life is a Miracle: An Essay on Modern Superstition
By Wendell Berry
Dewey: 121
Random Sentence: “If local adaptation is important, as I believe it unquestionably is, then we must undertake, in both science and art, the effort of familiarity.”

Love: Plato, the Bible, and Freud
By Douglas Morgan
Dewey: 128
Random Sentence: “Love is, among many other things, a fact.”

The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons From the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness
By Mark Rowlands
Dewey: 128
Random Sentence: “The truth is, I suppose, that I’ve always been a natural misanthrope.”

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Books Libraries Science Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 110-119: Let’s get metaphysical

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 110 Metaphysics
  • 111 Ontology
  • 112 No longer used—formerly Methodology
  • 113 Cosmology (Philosophy of nature)
  • 114 Space
  • 115 Time
  • 116 Change
  • 117 Structure
  • 118 Force and energy
  • 119 Number and quantity

Time to get college-dorm-at-2am up in here. I mean, just look at the subtopics in this 10-spot: change, space, time (though unfortunately nothing on the space-time continuum), energy… Each of these concepts are their own unfathomable galaxies within the blown-mind universe. Sometimes it seems these kinds of heady topics can only be discussed after a few pints at the pub. Does anyone outside of academia actually sit down and read books about this stuff? For a non-STEM person like me, books like The Infinite Book below are great because they are meant to make the dense quandaries of high-level science more accessible for English majors like me. But perhaps I need to challenge myself.

Or I’ll just read another novel.

The Dew3:

The Phenomenon of Man
By Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Dewey: 113
Random Sentence: “The paradox of man resolves itself by passing beyond measure.”

The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless
By John D. Barrow
Dewey: 111.6
Random Sentence: “Pythagoras believed infinity was the destroyer in the Universe, the malevolent annihilator of worlds.”

Grammars of Creation
By George Steiner
Dewey: 116
Random Sentence: “It can be cancelled and reduced to trackless silence.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 100-109: Don’t know much philosophy

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 100 Philosophy and psychology
  • 101 Theory of philosophy
  • 102 Miscellany of philosophy
  • 103 Dictionaries and encyclopedias of philosophy
  • 104 No longer used—formerly Essays
  • 105 Serial publications of philosophy
  • 106 Organizations and management of philosophy
  • 107 Education, research, and related topics of philosophy
  • 108 Kinds of persons in philosophy
  • 109 Historical treatment of philosophy

Ahhhhhh… Sam Cooke. Melodically justifying ignorance since 1960. But those of us who don’t know much about philosophy are in luck: Dewey’s got us covered. Having conquered the first 100 Dewey points, we now enter the mind-melting glass case of cognition dedicated to Philosophy and Psychology. This first 10-spot focuses on philosophy, its theories and important historical figures. If you’re like me, you’re now having flashbacks to that Philosophy 101 course you took freshman year that was very stimulating but also made your brain hurt after every session and where you learned how to extend two pages’ worth of substantive arguments into 10 pages of grade-A high-falutin’ BS. (Or was that just me?)

Anyway, I really am fascinated by philosophy, even if I’m not cut out to study it hardcore. (I’m also noticing that it’s a super annoying word to type, at least for hunt-and-pecker like me. For the last time, hands, it’s not philospohy!) A lot of the books in my library were dedicated to making philosophy accessible to laypeople, which is good because it’s often not. Still, it is everywhere, even when it’s not evident. Just ask the Philosoraptor.

The Dew3:

Plato and A Platypus Walk Into A Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes
By Thomas Cathcart
Dewey: 102 CAT
Random Sentence: “Curiously, Camus looked a lot like Humphrey Bogart.”

The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh! of Homer
Edited by William Irwin et al.
Dewey: 100 SIM
Random Sentence: “Can Nietzche’s rejection of traditional morality justify Bart’s bad behavior?”

Astonish Yourself! 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life
By Roger Pol-Droit
Dewey: 100 DRO
Random Sentence: “Do not step out of that shower jet’s narrow circle.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 090-099: Kell yeah!

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 090 Manuscripts & rare books
  • 091 Manuscripts
  • 092 Block books
  • 093 Incunabula
  • 094 Printed books
  • 095 Books notable for bindings
  • 096 Books notable for illustrations
  • 097 Books notable for ownership or origin
  • 098 Prohibited works, forgeries & hoaxes
  • 099 Books notable for format

We made it to the end of our first 100 of Dewey! #WeDeweyedIt! And if it wasn’t totally evident by now that the Dewey Decimal Classification is about books, allow it to remind you one more time with this 10-spot dedicated to the things of books themselves: manuscripts, incunabula, and the kind of rare books only super-booksellers dare deal with. My closest encounter with this material happened in a Preservation & Conservation class in library school, wherein we learned about the history of paper, bookbinding, and conservation techniques, and also got to make a few books from scratch (one of which I won in a lottery at the end of the course – still a life highlight). To cap the course we had to write a research paper on any topic course-related; I chose to write a brief history of incunabula (early books) and titled the paper Dream of the 1490s: Gutenberg and the Birth of the Printed Book, a title fans of Portlandia and books will be able to appreciate.

With the exception of the lacuna of despair that was the 040s, this section (in my library at least) has had the slimmest of pickings. The highlight would probably be the legendary Book of Kells (about which a delightful movie was made). Anyone else find something cool in the 090s?

The Dew2:

The Book of Kells
By Bernard Meehan
Dewey: 096.1 MEE
Random Sentence: “According to Pliny, the chief characteristic of the panther was that its sweet breath attracted and stunned other animals.”

Literary Hoaxes: An Eye-Opening History of Famous Frauds
By Melissa Katsoulis
Dewey: 098.3 KAT
Random Sentence: “Abraham Lincoln is famous for many things, but being a great and passionate lover is not one of them.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 080-089: Paging Carrot Top

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 080 General collections
  • 081 Collections in American English
  • 082 Collections in English
  • 083 Collections in other Germanic languages
  • 084 Collections in French, Occitan & Catalan
  • 085 Collections in Italian, Romanian & related languages
  • 086 Collections in Spanish & Portuguese
  • 087 Collections in Slavic languages
  • 088 Collections in Scandinavian languages
  • 089 Collections in other languages

In case you don’t remember (or have tried to forget) (a) payphones, (b) the “comedian” Carrot Top, or (3) the AT&T “Collect” commercials featuring Carrot Top and payphones, let me enlighten you. (Warning: this video might give you unwanted flashbacks to Carrot Top and the early 2000s.) For some tragicomedic reason that’s the first thing I thought of when coming upon this section of Dewey, dedicated to “collections” in all their vague, aggregated glory. But true to their nature, this collection of collections brings together a diverse array of topics into one accessible place. Most of these books I’d still consider bathroom reading rather than weighty nightstand material, though I guess that will depend on how things are going in the bathroom.

The Dew3:

My Bad: The Apology Anthology
Edited By Paul Slanksy
Dewey: 081 MY
Random Sentence: “I did take some lives and I’m very sorry for that.” -David Berkowitz

‘Found’: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items From Around the World
By Davy Rothbart
Dewey: 081 FOU
Random Sentence: “DID YOU JUST SEE THE BACKSTREET BOYS?”

Best-Loved Chinese Proverbs
By Theodora Lau
Dewey: 089.951 LAU
Random Sentence: Don’t try to scoop the moon from the bottom of the sea.”

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Books Teach Me How to Dewey Writing

DDC 070-079: Carryin’ the banner

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 070 Journalism, and newspapers
  • 071 Newspapers in North America
  • 072 Newspapers in British Isles; in England
  • 073 Newspapers in central Europe; in Germany
  • 074 Newspapers in France & Monaco
  • 075 Newspapers in Italy & adjacent islands
  • 076 Newspapers in Iberian Peninsula & adjacent islands
  • 077 Newspapers in eastern Europe; in Russia
  • 078 Newspapers in Scandinavia
  • 079 Newspapers in other geographic areas

Extra! Extra! Get your papes heeya, Jack Kelly. We continue along the general theme of writing, books, and cultural institutions with The Newspaper in all its storied, soon-to-be-antiquated glory. While I was disappointed not to find a comprehensive history of that classic 1992 Disney musical/bad-accent-party Newsies, I found a lot of books on journalism or by journalists, along with (diving back into meta-ness) a lot on writing and publishing and the challenges therein, which actually seem to be good resources for aspiring authors. Once again, the books in my library were limited almost exclusively to two digits (070 and 071); apparently Scandinavian newspapers don’t fit within the the collection purview of a Midwestern public library.

As a writer myself, I struggle with how much writing about writing I should read. On the one hand it’s helpful to learn how other seemingly successful writers struggle through the quotidian difficulties of the writing life. On the other hand, it’s easy to get bogged down in reading about writing and not actually get your own writing done. It’s the same thing with the modern trends of “lifehacking” and productivity: so many new apps and web tools make promises of increased productivity and streamlined life, but when I focus so much on the tools themselves I get fixated on the tool instead of the product it’s supposed to help create.

Or maybe I’m overthinking it.

The Dew3:

What Kind of Loser Indie Publishers? And How Can I Be One, Too?
By Pamela Fagan
Dewey: 070.593 HUT
Random Sentence: “Did you just throw up a little in your mouth?”

Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life
By Michael Greenberg
Dewey: 070.92 GRE
Random Sentence: “Purged of empathy, I joined in the protective cynicism of the courthouse employees.”

Red Blood & Black Ink: Journalism in the Old West
By David Dary
Dewey: 071 DAR
Random Sentence: “That’s just the way with juries – they think it no more wrong to shoot an editor than a Jack-rabbit.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 060-069: Museum’s Rules

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 060 General organizations & museology
  • 061 Organizations in North America
  • 062 Organizations in British Isles; in England
  • 063 Organizations in central Europe; in Germany
  • 064 Organizations in France & Monaco
  • 065 Organizations in Italy & adjacent islands
  • 066 Organizations in Iberian Peninsula & adjacent islands
  • 067 Organizations in eastern Europe; in Russia
  • 068 Organizations in other geographic areas
  • 069 Museum science

It’s becoming evident that the first 100 of Dewey is tailored for folks who already love the library and its humanities brethren. Like the “first fruits” of library science, the best stuff (at least according to people like me who geek out about books, libraries, museums, and other districts of Nerddom) comes first, before every other discipline, as an intellectual offering to St. Dewey.

Museums aren’t the only subject of the 060s, but they are the most interesting since books about Iberian organizations apparently don’t circ well. (There were a lot of books on the so-called Robert’s Rules, a reference authority for parliamentary and meeting procedures, but forgive me for not raving about the riveting world of legislative order.)

Does your library have any other interesting books in the 060s? I’ve already admitted by bias toward museums and the like, but is there anything here for non-history geeks? If not, take heart that once we get out of the 100s we won’t find hardcore history until Dewey’s end. Until then:

The Dew3:

The Stranger and the Statesman: James Smithson, John Quincy Adams, and the Making of America’s Greatest Museum, The Smithsonian
By Nina Burleigh
Dewey: 069.09753 BUR
Random Sentence: “Perhaps Adams’s preference for looking at the skies was motivated by his hopelessness at what he witnessed on the earth.”

Cabinets of Curiosities
By Peter Mauriès
Dewey: 069 MAU
Random Sentence: “From the monsters of folklore and mythology to the freaks of real life was no very long step.”

The Secret Museum
By Molly Oldfield
Dewey: 069.5 OLD
Random Sentence: “It might seem a bit of a weird thing for him to have done, that is, if you’ve read his novels but don’t know much about butterfly mating.”