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.”


My Favorite Albums Of 2011

Happy List-Making Month everybody! It’s my favorite of the year. To celebrate, I present my list of albums that I love from 2011. There was a lot of good stuff, but these top few were the ones that kept me coming back.

The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker, Matt Stone & Bobby Lopez
Admittedly, I don’t listen to that many Broadway show soundtracks, so it’s tough to judge this one against others. But hot damn, this one’s brilliant. Not for the faint of heart, it’s extremely crude, searingly smart and funny, but ultimately a redemptive and joyful story about religion, God, friendship, and Star Wars. Listen to: “Two By Two”

American Goldwing by Blitzen Trapper
Like Broadway musical soundtracks, I don’t listen to very much Southern rock, but Blitzen Trapper may soon change that. This album, as with last year’s Destroyer of the Void, is rife with great summer car jams both upbeat and more plaintive. It’s part Lynyrd Skynyrd, part Dylan with a little John Prine thrown in. Listen to: “Might Find It Cheap”

Bon Iver by Bon Iver
Following his smash hit For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver could have doubled down on the haunting and minimalist style on his self-titled follow-up. Luckily he didn’t. Instead, he built upon the For Emma foundation with a “wall of sound” effect, complete with Kenny G-esque sax and 80s pop synthesizer on top of his multilayered falsetto. Can’t say I’m a fan of his collaboration with Kanye, but I am a fan of this. Listen to: “Beth / Rest”

Turtleneck & Chain by The Lonely Island
I don’t know how they do it. These songs… First of all, they’re just well-made songs. But they’re more than that because they’re hilarious. The production value coupled with this trio’s self-effacing and twisted sense of humor elevates this album from a mere collection of parody songs a la Weird Al to a new kind of Internet-age music comedy. I listened to this and the Book Of Mormon soundtrack this summer almost exclusively. Listen to: “Jack Sparrow”

undun by The Roots
When I read that Questlove said they based this concept album partially on Avon Barksdale from The Wire, I was sold. Good thing it lived up to that expectation because I thoroughly enjoyed undun‘s fresh musical style and lyrical flow. It’s more somber than I expected, but I fully expect it to be on repeat for awhile. Listen to: “Kool On”

A Treasury of Civil War Songs by Tom Glazer
Do me a kindness and forgive my nerdiness on this one. This collection of two dozen Civil War songs by Tom Glazer brings history alive by resurrecting songs famous and obscure from the era and setting them to a simple guitar/voice arrangement with the occasional banjo thrown in. Just imagine yourself strolling through Manassas or Gettysburg or Boston during the war and hearing these songs played. Listen to: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”

Other albums I loved from this year:

Bright Morning Stars by The Wailin’ Jennys
My Head Is An Animal by Of Monster and Men
Middle Brother by Middle Brother
Smart Flesh by The Low Anthem
Locked by Land by Jinja Safari
The Head and the Heart by The Head and the Heart
The Great Book of John by The Great Book of John
The Harrow & The Harvest by Gillian Welch
Nothing is Wrong by Dawes