Carlym's new list

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Carlym's new list

Sep 7, 2009, 9:33am

I didn't break my original list up into enough posts, so it's taking a long time to load the touchstones when I want to add a new book. I'm re-posting my list here, with one post for each of the 10 categories.

Edited: Jun 29, 2020, 12:51pm

000s: 25 read

001--Knowledge: Cryptozoology A-Z
002--The Book: Used and Rare
003--Systems: Chaos
004--Data processing & computer science: Where Wizards Stay Up Late
007-009: Unassigned

010--Bibliographies: On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography
011--Bibliographies & catalogs: Check These Out
016--Bibliographies of works from specific subjects: Cinematherapy
018--Catalogs arranged by author, date, etc.: Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist
019--Dictionary catalogs: Power, Politics, and Print

020--Library and information sciences: Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library
021--Relationships of libraries, archives, and information centers: The Library Book Cart Precision Drill Team
022--Administration of the physical plant: The Book on the Bookshelf
024--No longer used--formerly Regulations for Readers
025--Library operations: The Island of Lost Maps
026--Libraries, archives, information centers devoted to specific subjects: The Vanished Library
027--General libraries: Libraries in the Ancient World
029--No longer used--formerly Literary Methods

030--General encyclopedic works: Who's the Blonde that Married What's-His-Name?
031--General encyclopedic works-American: An Underground Education
033--General encyclopedic works in other Germanic Languages: The World in a Box

040--No longer used--formely Collected Essays by Language

050--General serials and their indexes:
051--General serials and their indexes-American: The World Through a Monocle

060--General organization and museology:

070--News media, journalism, publishing: Let Me Finish
071--Newspapers in North America: Prelude to Independence: The Newspaper War on Britain 1764-1776
073--Newspapers in Central Europe; in Germany: The Captive Press in the Third Reich

080--General collections:
081--General Collections American: Dancing Naked in the Mind Field
082--Collections in English: Distory
089--General Collections in Other Languages: Best-Loved Chinese Proverbs

090--Manuscripts and rare books:

Edited: Jul 13, 2020, 11:36am

100s: 23 read

100--Philosophy & psychology:
102--Miscellany of philosophy: Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar
104--No longer used--formerly Essays

112--No longer used--formerly Methodology

120--Epistemology, causation & humankind:
123--Determinism & indeterminism: Chance: A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market, and Just About Everything Else
125--No longer used--formerly Infinity
126--The Self: Consciousness Explained
129--Origin & destiny of individual souls: Spook

130--Paranormal phenomena:
131--Parapsychological and occult methods for achieving well-being,happiness, success: Clearing Clutter
132--No longer used: formerly Mental derangements
133--Specific topics in parapsychology & occultism: In the Devil's Snare
134--No longer used: formerly Mesmerism and Clairvoyance
136--No longer used: formerly Mental characteristics

140--Specific philosophical schools:

150--Psychology: Civilization and its Discontents
No longer used--formerly Intellect
153--Mental processes and intelligence: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
155--Differential and developmental psychology: How a Child Thinks
157--No longer used--formerly Emotions
158--Applied psychology: The Power of Positive Confrontation
159--No longer used--Will

160--Logic: Crimes Against Logic
163-164: Not assigned or no longer used
168--Argument & Persuasion: A Rulebook for Arguments

170--Ethics: On the Genealogy of Morality
179--Other ethical norms: The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

180--Ancient, medieval, Oriental philosophy:
181--Oriental philosophy: The Analects of Confucius
182--Pre-Socratic Greek Philosophies: A Presocratics Reader
184--Platonic philosophy: Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito
187--Epicurean philosophy: Travels with Epicurus
188--Stoic philosophy: The Handbook (The Encheiridion)

190--Modern Western philosophy
192--Philosophy of the British Isles: Berkeley
193--Philosophy of Germany and Austria: Nietzsche in 90 Minutes
198--Philosophy of Scandinavia and Finland: Kierkegaard in 90 Minutes
199--Philosophy of other geographic areas: Spinoza in 90 Minutes

Edited: May 2, 2020, 9:53pm

200s: 30 read

200--Religion: Krishna's Dialogue on the Soul
202--Doctrines: Fallen Angels

210--Natural theology:
215--Science and religion: Rocks of Ages
216--no longer used--formerly Evil
217--no longer used--formerly Prayer
219--no longer used--formerly Analogies

220--Bible: The Bible Tells Me So
221--Old Testament: Moses and Monotheism
227--Epistles: Interpretation Bible Studies: First Corinthians

230--Christian theology: Honest to God
232--Jesus Christ and His Family: An Irreverent Curiosity
233--Humankind: The Measure of a Man
236--Eschatology: The Great Divorce
237--no longer used--formerly Future state
238--Creeds & catechisms: Luther's Small Catechism with Explanation

240--Christian moral & devotional theology:
241--Moral theology: Losing Moses on the Freeway
244-no longer used--formerly Religious fiction
245--no longer used--formerly Hymnology
248--Christian experience, practice, and life: Finding God When You Need Him Most

250--Christian orders & local church: Megachurches & America's Cities
253--Pastoral Office and Work: There's a Woman in the Pulpit
254--Parish Administration: A Guide for the Church Usher
255--Religious congregations and orders: If Nuns Ruled the World
256--No longer used--formerly Religious societies
257--No longer used--formerly Parochial schools, libraries, etc.
258--No longer used--formerly Parochial medicine

260--Christian social theology:
261--Social theology: God's Politics
263--Days, Times, Places of Religious Observances: Travels with My Donkey
264--Public Worship: 25 Most Treasured Gospel Hymn Stories

270--Christian church theology: The Christians and the Fall of Rome
271--Religious orders in church history: Virgins of Venice
273--Heresies in church history: The Cheese and the Worms
277--Christian church in North America: Searching for God Knows What

280--Christian denominations & sects:
281--Early church & Eastern churches: We Came, We Saw, We Converted
283--Anglican churches: An Altar in the World
287--Methodist & related churches: Methodism
288-No longer used--formerly Unitarian
289: Other denominations and sects: Under the Banner of Heaven

290--Other & comparative religions:
296--Judaism: Thirteen and a Day
298--No longer used--formerly Mormonism
299--Other religions: Tao Te Ching

Edited: Mar 30, 2019, 6:56pm

300s: 46 read

300--Social sciences:
301--Sociology & Anthropology: Social Darwinism in American Thought
302--Social interaction: Confident Conversation
303--Social Processes: Resisting Reagan
305--Social groups: The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men
306--Cultures and Institutions: Casino Moscow
307--Communities: Ghosts of Berlin
308--No longer used--formerly Polygraphy
309--No longer used--formerly History of sociology

310--General statistics:
311--No longer used--formerly Theory and methods: How to Lie with Statistics
312--No longer used--formerly Population
313--No longer used--formerly Special topics

314--General Statistics of Europe: On an Average Day in the Soviet Union

320--Political science: The Prince
321--Systems of governments and states: The Failure of Presidential Democracy
322--Relation of state to organized groups: Them: Adventures with Extremists
324--The political process: The Making of the President 1960
327--International Relations: The Rise to Globalism
329--Political science/not assigned or no longer used: Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail

330--Economics: Small is Beautiful
331--Labor economics: The Union of Their Dreams
332--Financial economics: The Predator's Ball
335--Socialism & related systems: A Fine Old Conflict
338--Production: Candyfreak

340--Law: The Nature of the Judicial Process
341--International Law: Law of the Sea
342--Constitutional & administrative law: The English Constitution
345--Criminal law: On Crimes and Punishments
347--Civil Procedure and the Courts: An Introduction to the Law of Evidence

350--Public administration:
353--Public administration of U.S. federal & state governments: The Modern American Presidency
355--Military Science: La Place de la Concorde Suisse

360--Social services; association:
362--Social welfare problems & services: The Genius Factory
363--Other social problems & services: Fingerprints
364--Criminology: All the President's Men
365--Penal and Related Institutions: Orange is the New Black
369--Miscellaneous kinds of associations: The Brownie Girl Scout Handbook

370--Education: The Abolition of Man
371--Schools and their activities: Lady's Choice: Ethel Waxham's Journals and Letters
372--Primary education: Educating Esme
376--No longer used--formerly Education of women
377--No longer used--formerly Ethical education

378--Higher education: My Freshman Year

380--Commerce, communications, transport: 21 Dog Years
381--Internal commerce (domestic trade): An Alphabetical Life
384--Communications; telecommuncations: A Thread Across the Ocean
385--Railroad Transportation: Train
387--Water, air, space transportation: The Outlaw Sea

390--Customs, etiquette, folklore:: The Crofter and the Laird
391--Costume and Personal Appearance: The History of Underclothes
393--Death customs: Texas Graveyards
394--General customs: The Coronation Ceremony of the Kings and Queens of England and the Crown Jewels
395--Etiquette (Manners): Galateo: A Renaissance Treatise on Manners
396--No longer used--formerly Women's position and treatment
397--no longer used--formerly Outcast studies

398--Folklore: The Night Battles

Edited: Jul 6, 2020, 9:16am

400s: 21 read

400--Language: The Language Instinct

417--Dialectology and historical linguistics: Bastard Tongues by Derek Bickerton
418--Standard usage: I'm Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears by Jag Bhalla

420--English & Old English: The Mother Tongue
422--English etymology: Anonyponymous
423--English dictionaries: The Professor and the Madman
427--Historical & geographical variations, modern nongeographic variations of English: Herefordshire Speech
428--Standard English usage: Eats, Shoots and Leaves

430--Germanic languages; German:
438--Standard German usage: Handbuch zur Deutschen Grammatik

440--Romance languages; French:
441--Writing systems, phonology, phonetics of standard French: A French Alphabet of 1814
443--French dictionaries: False Friends
448--Standard French usage: Blitz French

450--Italian, Romanian, Rhaeto-Romanic:
450--Italian, Dalmatian, Romanian, Rhaetian, Sardinian, Corsican: La Bella Lingua
458--Standard Italian usage: Italian Phrase Book TM 30-603 (Restricted)

460--Spanish & Portuguese languages:
465--Grammar of Standard Spanish: Madre: Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun
467--Historical & geographic variations, modern nongeographic versons of Spanish: Pardon My Spanglish

470--Italic; Latin:
472--Etymology of Classical Latin: Cave Canem
478--Classical Latin Usage: Living with a Dead Language

480--Hellenic languages; Classical Greek:
487--Preclassical and post Classical Greek: The Riddle of the Labyrinth

490--Other languages:
493--Non-Semitic Afro-Asiatic Languages: Understanding Hieroglyphs: A Complete Introductory Guide
495--Languages of East and Southeast Asia: Idiom a Day: Volume 2

Edited: Aug 19, 2018, 11:38am

500s: 34 read

500--Natural sciences and mathematics: Birds, Beasts and Relatives
508--Natural history: Island in the Plains
509--History, geographic treatment, biography: The Republican War on Science

510--Mathematics: Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz
519--Probabilities & applied mathematics: The Drunkard's Walk

520--Astronomy and allied sciences: The Cosmic Verses
521--Celestial mechanics: Gravity: Classic and Modern Views
523--Specific celestial bodies and phenomena: Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe
526--Mathematical geometry: Circumference

530--Physics: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
539--Modern Physics: The New World of Mr. Tompkins

540--Chemistry and Allied Sciences:
541--Physical & theoretical chemistry: The Periodic Kingdom
546--Inorganic chemistry: The 13th Element
547--Organic chemistry: The Double Helix

550--Earth Sciences: The Map that Changed the World
551--Geology, hydrology, meteorology: The Mountains of St. Francis
553--Economic Geology: The Mines of Neptune
554--Earth sciences of Europe: Geology (Discover Dorset)
556--Earth sciences of Africa: Fieldwork: A Geologist's Memoir of the Kalahari
557--Earth sciences of North America: The White River Badlands
558--Earth sciences of South America: Devil in the Mountain

560--Paleontology; Paleozoology: Practical Paleontologist
567--Fossil cold-blooded vertebrates: Lone Star Dinosaurs

570--Life sciences: The Medusa and the Snail
576--Genetics & evolution: The Origin of Species
577--Ecology: Tales from the Underground
578--Natural history of organisms: The Deep Sea

581--Specific topics in natural history of plants: The Drunken Botanist
585--Gymnospermae (Pinophyta): The Wild Trees
587--Pteridophyta (Vascular cryptogams): Oaxaca Journal

590--Zoological sciences:
591--Zoology: Animals in Translation
592--Invertebrates: The Earth Moved
597--Cold-blooded vertebrates, fishes: A Fish Caught in Time
598--Aves (birds): The Big Year
599--Mammalia: The Red Queen

Edited: Jan 17, 2021, 5:32pm

600s: 38 read

600--Technology (Applied Sciences):
604 Technical drawing, hazardous materials technology; groups of people: Incredible Women Inventors
609--Historical, geographic, persons treatment: The Almanac of Fascinating Beginnings

610--Medical sciences; Medicine:
612--Human physiology: Monkeyluv
613--Promotion of health: The Food Bible
614--Incidence & prevention of disease: The Hot Zone
615--Pharmacology & therapeutics: The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell
616--Diseases: The Myth of Sanity
618--Gynaecology & other medical specialties: The Doctors' Plague

620--Engineering & allied operations: : Remaking the World
621--Applied physics: Watt's Perfect Engine
622--Mining and related operations: Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs
623--Military & nautical engineering: Castle
624--Civil engineering: Underground
629--Other branches of engineering: West with the Night

630--Agriculture: Farm City
634--Orchards, fruits, forestry: Epitaph for a Peach
635--Garden crops (Horticulture): The Orchid Thief
636--Animal husbandry: The Lord God Made Them All
637--Processing dairy and related products: The Whole Fromage
638--Insect Culture: Letters from the Hive
639--Hunting, fishing, conservation: The Hungry Ocean

640--Home economics & family living: The Campaign for Domestic Happiness
641--Food and drink: The Perfectionist
643--Household & household equipment: The You-don't-need-a-man-to-fix-it Book
645--Household furnishings: English Windsor Chairs
646--Sewing, clothing, and personal living: The Lucky Shopping Manual
647--Management of Public Households: One Pair of Hands
648--Housekeeping: Other People's Dirt
649--Child rearing; home care of people with disabilities and illnesses: Child, Please

650--Management & auxiliary services:: The Joy of Work
651--Office services Talking from 9 to 5
659--Advertising & public relations: Deadly Spin

660--Chemical engineering: Shrinking the Cat
663--Beverage Technology: A Very Good Year
669--Metallurgy: The Arsenic Century

670--Manufacturing: Hew, Screw, and Glue

680--Manufacture for specific uses:
683--Hardware & household appliances: Warman's Kitschy Kitchen Collectibles
686--Printing & related activities: The Gutenberg Revolution
687--Clothing: Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon


Edited: May 3, 2020, 5:13pm

700s: 30 read

700--The arts: Lives of the Muses
702--Miscellany of fine and decorative arts: Miss Piggy's Treasury of Art Masterpieces from the Kermitage Collection
704--Special topics in fine and decorative arts: The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art
709--Historical, areas, persons treatment: The Englishness of English Art

710--Civic and landscape art:

720--Architecture: No Way to Build a Ballpark
726--Buildings for religious purposes: San Lorenzo: Guide to the Laurentian Complex

730--Plastic arts; Sculpture: Clues to American Sculpture
738--Ceramic arts: Clarice Cliff: The Bizarre Affair
739--Art metalwork: The Crown Jewels

740--Drawing & decorative arts:
741--Drawing & drawings: The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes
745--Decorative arts: The Book of Kells
746--Textile arts: Secrets of Stylists
747--Interior Decoration: Decorating Junkmarket Style

750--Painting & paintings: Looking at Pictures
751--Techniques, equipment, forms: Medieval Wall Paintings
759--Geographical, historical, areas, persons treatment: Giotto: The "Legend of Saint Francis" in the Assisi Basilica

760--Graphic arts; Printmaking & prints: : Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls
761--Relief processes (Block printing): Lotta Prints
769--Prints: An Essay on Typography

770--Photography & photographs:
778--Fields & kinds of photography: Digital Photography Visual Quick Steps

781--General principles and musical forms: Science and Music
782--Vocal music: Playing Right Field
786--Keyboard & other instruments: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank

790--Recreational & performing arts:
791--Public Performances: Most Talkative
792--Stage presentations: The Greedy Bastard Diary
793--Indoor games & amusements: Word Freak
795--Games of chance: Positively Fifth Street
796--Athletic & outdoor sports and games: Ball Four
797--Aquatic and air sports: Cork Boat
798--Equestrian sports and animal racing: Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman

Edited: Aug 18, 2020, 10:05am

800s: 39 read

800--Literature & rhetoric:
800--Literature and rhetoric: The Illustrated Timeline of Western Literature
801--Philosophy & theory: How to Read and Why
803--Dictionaries, encyclopedias, concordances: Thrice Told Tales
808--Rhetoric & collections of literature: Bird by Bird
809--History, description, critical appraisal of more than two literatures:

810--American literature in English: Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend
811--American poetry: Billy Sunday and Other Poems
812--American drama in English: Death of a Salesman
813--American fiction: Summerland
814--American essays: If You Can't Say Something Nice
815--American speeches: Have Faith in Massachusetts
816--Letters: Letters from a Nut
817--Satire & humor: The Most of S.J. Perelman
818--American miscellaneous writings: Stitches: A Memoir
819--No longer used

820--English & Old English literatures:
821--English poetry: The Canterbury Tales
822--English drama: Julius Caesar
823--English fiction: A Room with a View
824--English essays: The Chateau de Resenlieu
827--English satire & humor: Stiff Upper Lip
828--English miscellaneous writings: The English Gentleman
829--Old English (Anglo-Saxon): Beowulf

830--Literatures of Germanic languages:
831--German poetry: Letters to a Young Poet
833--German fiction: The Trial
839--Other Germanic literatures: Out Stealing Horses

840--Literatures of the Romantic Languages: Candide
842--French drama: En Attendant Godot
843--French fiction: The Stranger

850--Italian, Romanian, Rhaeto-Romanic:
853--Italian fiction: The Shape of Water

860--Spanish & Portuguese literatures:
863--Spanish fiction: Don Quixote

870--Italic literatures; Latin:
873--Latin epic poetry & fiction: The Aeneid
874--Latin lyric poetry: The Poems of Catullus

880--Hellenic literatures; Classical Greek: Oedipus
882--Classical Greek drama: The Oresteia
883--Classical Greek epic poetry & fiction: The Odyssey
884--Classical Greek lyric poetry: Sappho: A New Translation
888--Classical Greek miscellaneous writings: Protagoras and Meno

890--Literatures of other languages:
891--East Indo-European & Celtic: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
894--Ural-Altaic, Paleosiberian, Dravidian: To Err is Divine
895--Literatures of East and Southeast Asia: Sputnik Sweetheart

Edited: Aug 2, 2020, 2:59pm

900s: 44 read

900--Geography & history:

910--Geography & travel: Ripe for the Picking
911--Historical geography: Hard Road West
914--Geography & travel/Europe: Down and Out in Paris and London
915--Geography & travel/Asia: Lost on Planet China
916--Geography & travel/Africa: Sahara Unveiled
917--Geography & travel/North America: Road Fever
918--Geography & travel/South America: In Patagonia
919--Geography & travel/Other areas: Getting Stoned with Savages

920--Biography, genealogy, insignia: Eminent Victorians
923--Biography/not assigned or no longer used: Women of the Four Winds

930--History of ancient world
932--Egypt: Unwrapping a Mummy
936--Europe north & west of Italy: The Agricola and the Germania
937: Italy and adjacent territories: The Etruscans: Art, Architecture, and History
938: Greece to 323: The Parthenon

940--General history of Europe: Denying the Holocaust
941--British Isles: Queen Victoria: Born to Succeed
942--England & Wales: The Wives of Henry VIII
943--Central Europe, Germany: Frederick the Great by Nancy Mitford
944--France & Monaco: Paris to the Moon
945--Italian peninsula & adjacent islands: Mad Blood Stirring
946--Iberian Peninsula & adjacent islands: Driving Over Lemons
947--Eastern Europe; Soviet Union: Soviet Politics 1917-1991
948--Northern Europe; Scandinavia: Vikings!
949--Other parts of Europe: The Balkan Express

950--General history of Asia; Far East:: Video Night in Kathmandu
951--China and adjacent areas: Tibet, Tibet by Patrick French
955--Iran: Persepolis
958--Central Asia: The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland
959--Southeast Asia: The Trouser People

960--General history of Africa: The Shadow of the Sun
963--Ethiopia: The Emperor
968--Southern Africa: Scribbling the Cat

970--General history of North America: A Voyage Long and Strange
972--Middle America; Mexico: Where is Nicaragua?
973--United States: The Spanish-American War and President McKinley
974--Northeastern United States: The Devil in Massachusetts
975--Southeastern United States: The Grand Idea
976--South central United States: City on Fire
977--North central United States: Rising Tide
978--Western United States: Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps
979--Great Basin & Pacific Slope: The Woman Warrior

980--General history of South America:
982--Argentina: On a Hoof and a Prayer
985--Peru: Cradle of Gold

990--General history of other areas:
993--General history of other areas, New Zealand: Kiwis Might Fly
994--General history of other areas, Australia: In Tasmania
996--Other parts of the Pacific; Polynesia: Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii

Sep 7, 2009, 10:19am

The new book is 801--Philosophy & Theory: How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom. The book is divided into sections for short stories, poetry, drama, and novels, and in each section Bloom examines several of his favorite works or authors. It took me a while to read this, in part because it was easy to read this in sections without needing to go back and re-read the last part I read. It's dense and pretentious, but really very good. Bloom loves these books and authors and wants the reader to love them, too. I've been re-reading the Sonnets since I read the poetry section, and the book has inspired me to seek out a couple of the other books he describes that I haven't read yet.

Sep 7, 2009, 10:53pm

I like the new set up, it's easier to read. :)

Edited: Sep 8, 2009, 11:00pm

I like it, too--it seems tidier!

769--Prints: An Essay on Typography by Eric Gill. This is an odd little book. It was written in the 1930s, and it's partly about typography and the author's views on what kind of lettering, spacing, etc. is desirable, and partly about the conflict between craft and industrial production.

144/1000; 66/100 (Two-thirds of the way through!)

Sep 9, 2009, 12:33pm

66/100 (Two-thirds of the way through!)

Congratulations, that's a great milestone! (And actually once you take out the "not assigned or no longer used" categories, it's only 99 (and 908 instead of 1000).)

Sep 9, 2009, 9:27pm

> 14, 15

2/3 of the second level categories is very impressive! Congrats.

Sep 12, 2009, 11:31pm

Thanks! I'm having fun :)

567--Fossil Cold-Blooded Vertebrates: Lone Star Dinosaurs by Louis Jacobs. My review:

I thought this book was fine but not fantastic. The author clearly loves the subject and wants the reader to be interested as well, and that goes a long way, but it also seemed like he wasn't accustomed to writing for a lay audience. The first couple of chapters tell the history of paleontology in Texas and provide enough background about geology, evolution, etc. that someone who doesn't know much about this at all could still understand the book. The rest of the chapters give a chronological account of dinosaurs in Texas. I liked that the author explained how fossils of particular species could give clues to the way the dinosaurs lived and not just how they looked. On the whole, though, I thought these chapters were a bit jumbled--talking about one formation, then another, then making a comment about the same area in a different period, and then repeating information from earlier in the book (which is not long). The book has beautiful illustrations, but I wished it also had photographs of some of the fossils themselves.

145/908; 66/99 (Thanks, Lorax, for the accurate number of categories, although I may have counted a couple in no-longer-used categories. I'll have to check and adjust at some point, although I'm so far from 908 that it doesn't matter too much right now.)

Edited: Sep 18, 2009, 12:17am

500--Natural sciences and mathematics: Birds, Beasts and Relatives by Gerald Durrell. I had a different book planned for 500, but I realized when I finished this that it was also a 500. I thought this was fantastic--I'll definitely read Durrell's other books.

146/908; 66/99

Edited: Sep 25, 2009, 12:07pm

227--Epistles: Interpretation Bible Studies: First Corinthians.

448--Standard French usage: Blitz French: A Handbook of Action French for the Fighting Forces.
Handy phrases I learned: Nous attaquerons au petit jour! (We shall attack at dawn.) Avez-vous quelques batons de dynamite? (Have you a few sticks of dynamite?) Notre honneur est en jeu. (Our honor is at stake.)

148/908; 68/99

Nov 2, 2009, 7:18pm

917--Geography & travel/North America: Road Fever. It's funny that this is in the North America category. It's about two men driving from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay, and the majority of the action takes place in South America.

149/908; 68/99

Nov 8, 2009, 4:22pm

129--Origin & destiny of individual souls: Spook by Mary Roach. I found this extremely entertaining. Roach researched all sorts of experiments into attempts to contact dead people--supposed reincarnated people, mediums, attempts to weigh souls departing from the dead, etc. She tries out some of the methods herself and even goes to "medium school," but of course, none of the methods work. I do think this should be classified as something in the 130s, paranormal phenomena, rather than 129. My only problem with the book is that, at the beginning, Roach presents it as some sort of evaluation of whether people have souls, when really it is a tour of parapsychology methods and experiments that most people--including those who believe in the afterlife--would dismiss as ridiculous.

150/908; 68/99

Nov 8, 2009, 4:56pm

I really like Mary Roach. She did a fascinating lecture at Ted Talks this year. Though it was apparently based on her other book "Bonk".

Nov 8, 2009, 6:46pm

I definitely want to read her other books now. Although I don't think 129 is the best category for this book, I'm glad that something so entertaining was available for that category.

Nov 10, 2009, 10:54pm

422--English etymology: Anonyponymous. An ER book and a challenge book!

151/908; 68/99

Edited: Nov 17, 2009, 12:00am

241--Moral theology: Losing Moses on the Freeway by Chris Hedges. Interesting. Each chapter is devoted to one of the Ten Commandments, and Hedges talks about what those commandments look like in modern life. The first couple of chapters seemed unnecessarily bitter and disgruntled, and, in a way, hypocritical; self-righteous rejection of tradition and institutions can be as much of an idol as anything else. After those chapters, though, Hedges settled down a bit. He certainly has thought-provoking ideas about the commandments and what it does to a person to break them.

152/908; 68/99

Dec 21, 2009, 11:21pm

523--Specific celestial bodies and phenomena: Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe by Charles Seife.

I didn't appreciate the anti-Christianity stuff at the beginning, and I thought some of the chapters closer to the end would have been better if written by a scientist, not a journalist. The middle part was much better. My problem with the anti-Christianity part is that Seife mocks Christian leaders in the 1600s for not believing Galileo. Now, it's certain that Galileo was right, in part because we have better observational tools. But many current theories about the universe--including those discussed by Seife--are uncertain and still being worked out by cosmologists. To me, those theories are analogous to Galileo's work in the 1600s. The fact that some people didn't immediately recognize that he was correct does not make those people completely ridiculous, and it does not justify denigrating an entire religion. (And this section was superfluous.)

153/908; 68/99

Dec 27, 2009, 9:58pm

331--Labor economics: The Union of Their Dreams. This is an ER book, and here is my review:

This is a very readable history of the United Farm Workers union--a true organizational history and not a more general history of farmworkers or the labor movement. Through the perspectives of a handful of union workers, Pawel tells the story of the early, unexpected success of the movement, which was due in large part to Cesar Chavez's ability to inspire volunteers. Once the union got off the ground, though, Chavez was unable to consolidate that success. He lacked organizational skills and was unwilling to relinquish any power to those who could have done a better job, and the result was that the union fell apart.
I did not know much at all about this subject before reading this book, but I thought the story was very interesting both as an analysis of organizational failures in a political movement and as a history of one segment of the labor movement. Although the end of the story is depressing--the complete failure to protect the farmworkers after such a promising start--the stories of the individuals who worked with the movement are more uplifting. Some of them were farmworkers who learned how to organize and how to speak on behalf of the other workers. Others were college students, ministers, etc. who wanted an opportunity to make a difference.

154/908; 68/99

Jan 2, 2010, 9:07am

342--Constitutional & administrative law: The English Constitution by Walter Bagehot. This is really an excellent book for anyone who is interested in different forms of government. Bagehot is wholeheartedly in favor of the English parliamentary system. He admits it's not perfect, but he thinks it's better than anything else out there. He examines each institution (House of Commons, monarch, etc.) and explains why he thinks that institution plays an important role in the system. While the book has some dry sections, it is very well-written overall, and occasionally pretty funny. Some choice tidbits:

"As it is, Mr Mill was returned by the electors of Westminster; and they have never, since they had members, done themselves so great an honour. But what did the electors of Westminster know of Mr Mill? . . . They meant to do homage to mental ability, but it was the worship of an unknown God -- if ever there was such a thing in this world."

"When you establish a predominant Parliament, you give over rule of the country to a despot who has unlimited time -- who has unlimited vanity -- who has, or believes he has, unlimited comprehension, whose pleasure is in action, whose life is work. There is no limit to the curiosity of Parliament."

"But there is a still worse case, a case which the life of George III--which is a sort of museum of the defects of a constitutional king--suggests at once."

"Now a competent legislature is very rare."

"Great communities have scarcely ever--never save for transient moments--been ruled by their highest thought. And if we can get them ruled by a decent capable thought, we may be well enough contented with our work."

Edited: Jan 3, 2010, 2:13pm

082--Collections in English: Distory: A Treasury of Historical Insults. The author collected insults to various historical figures--U.S. presidents, British royalty and prime ministers, and assorted other groups. Some of these are witty and funny; others are not that clever.

156/908; 68/99

Jan 3, 2010, 4:59pm

I've been looking for a book like this, though it probably suffers from putting the insults out of context.

Edited: Jan 10, 2010, 3:29pm

874--Latin lyric poetry: The Poems of Catullus, translated by Peter Green. Many of the poems in this book are short poems about who is doing whom, who has VD, etc. While some of them are funny, it was bit like reading a gossip column about people I don't know. It was interesting to see a completely different style and tone of poetry from this time period. There are also a couple of short epic poems thrown in, which seemed to come out of nowhere and be in a completely different style. A small sampling of these poems would have been enough for me; I probably would not have finished the book if it didn't count for this challenge.

ETA: The author of Distory should have checked out Catullus's work for some good historical insults.

157/908; 68/99

Jan 20, 2010, 3:42pm

27. This book looks fascinating!

Edited: Jan 28, 2010, 10:23pm

816--Letters: Letters from a Nut by Ted L. Nancy (or perhaps Jerry Seinfeld).

158/908; 68/99

Edited: Feb 21, 2010, 10:24pm

202--Doctrines: Fallen Angels by Harold Bloom. (Touchstone isn't working here, but it is fine in the list above.)

This is really more of a long essay on Bloom's thoughts about fallen angels. He thinks all people are fallen angels. Despite the topic, it's not a very religious book; he draws on Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Shakespeare, and Milton in about equal measure and with equal authority placed on each. The illustrations are colorful and pretty.

159/908; 69/99

Mar 14, 2010, 10:41pm

639--Hunting, fishing, agriculture: The Hungry Ocean by Linda Greenlaw. I've read FOUR books in the Agriculture sub-category (or whatever the tens are called). That seems funny for a city girl like me. This is not a great work of literature, but it is an entertaining and interesting look at commercial fishing.

160/908; 68/99

Edited: Apr 22, 2010, 1:48pm

815--Speeches: Have Faith in Massachusetts by Calvin Coolidge. This is a collection of Coolidge's pre-presidency speeches. I picked it up a while ago at some used book sale in part because I don't really know anything about Coolidge. Some of the speeches were boring, but some were pretty good, and it was interesting to see what issues in the 1910s are still issues today.

I just have one left in the 810s-American literature!

161/908; 69/99

Apr 18, 2010, 6:13pm

I've run across random trivia about Coolidge that always made him seem like a pretty neat guy. The last one was in Distory (which you read too) where he said, "I always figured the American public wanted a solemn ass for president so I went along with them." The other thing was that he brought his pet raccoon to the white house.

I think he's the only president about who I know so little, but desperately want to like.

Apr 22, 2010, 1:47pm

I love the raccoon bit!

I had the impression from the speeches that he was a decent guy who was genuinely committed to public service. Of course, it's hard to know from speeches what's true and what's rhetoric.

Apr 23, 2010, 2:54am

That is true, I ran across a Russell quote recently on the subject:

“To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy.”

Its sad how true it is. I appreciate good speeches, and there don't seem to be many politicians that are genuinely good at it, but it's frustrating that there is usually such a difference between their words and their actions.

It does make me more appreciative of the few really good politicians though. I saw a recent piece on the mayor of New Jersey that has managed to, with his community's support, have the first murder free month in New Jersey since 1966. That impressed me.

Apr 27, 2010, 10:43pm

238--Creeds & catechisms: Luther's Small Catechism with Explanation. I have been reading this off and on for a while. It contains Luther's catechism--the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, a form of confession, and a form for communion, followed by an explanation of each of those. The explanation is in an odd outline format that breaks down the various parts of the catechism by phrases/parts, provides a short "explanation," and then gives Bible verses that relate to each part. The explanation is more of a reference than anything. I can see where this would be helpful for a pastor or teacher, but it's not that readable.

Apr 27, 2010, 10:58pm

I've got John Edward's "Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God" on my TBR list and I imagine I'll probably feel the same way about it. Historically significant, but not exactly a page turner.

Apr 27, 2010, 11:15pm

I remember reading that in high school English. As I recall, it has some good imagery, so it may be interesting to you. The catechism's main parts are ones I already know because they are part of the Methodist liturgy as well, and, unfortunately, the explanation wasn't what I had hoped. I guess it's a good overview of Protestant theology, but it's just not meant for reading straight through.

Apr 27, 2010, 11:20pm

Ah, I see what you mean. I'll keep my fingers crossed about John Edwards.

Edited: Apr 28, 2010, 10:54am

> 41 Jonathan Edwards, not the politician from my home state I assume, as I suspect he might combust. ;)

Apr 28, 2010, 10:58am

Ha ha ha. Yes. Jonathan, not John.

I recall something about a spider being dropped into a fire in one part of the sermon.

Apr 28, 2010, 3:49pm

I just call him John out of familiarity. He was, coincidentally, Aaron Burr's grandfather.

May 15, 2010, 2:54pm

547--Organic Chemistry: The Double Helix by James D. Watson. For the first few chapters, I wanted to find Watson and beat him over the head with the book because of his revoltingly sexist comments about Rosalind Franklin (essentially that, although she was smart and a good scientist, she was not pretty enough, too bitchy, and too interested in being treated as an equal). Once he stopped complaining about her so much, I enjoyed the book more. It was interesting to get a picture of how scientists work and discover new things. I did have the impression that Watson got lucky in his discovery of how DNA is put together--it wasn't so much his scientific knowledge or skill but his recognition of how others' work fit together.

LT shows this as 576--Genetics & Evolution, but the Library of Congress has it classified as 547, which I think is a better fit. The book is about the chemical structure of DNA, not what DNA does.

163/908; 70/99

May 15, 2010, 6:01pm

I doubt I would have been able to get past the sexist comments. I put down a book on a Joaquin Murrieta (who I was really interested in) because I couldn't stand the tone with which the author referred to Hispanics.

May 15, 2010, 6:29pm

There is an epilogue for the 1968 edition (which I have) in which he kind of recants and says he didn't understand until later how hard it was for Franklin to be accepted by the other scientists and that she did great work, etc. I couldn't tell how sincere that was, but at least it was some effort. I also thought that he complained so much about her that he must have been jealous of the work she did--things he could not do and that he needed to arrive at his own conclusions.

May 15, 2010, 7:02pm

I'm just glad I didn't live back then. I'd hate to have to deal with that.

May 15, 2010, 7:16pm

Me too! Love the cartoon--that sums it up well.

May 19, 2010, 1:59pm

102--Miscellany of philosophy: Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein. This book has gotten some negative reviews, I think a bit unfairly. It's a broad overview of philosophy that uses jokes (mainly bad jokes) to illustrate key concepts. I thought it was highly entertaining, and most of the jokes really did illustrate the authors' points. The negative reviews focus on the lack of depth in the treatment of philosophical ideas, but I don't understand how anyone could think this was a serious, scholarly book. If you are a philosophy scholar and hate bad jokes, don't read this. If you want some entertainment with a bit of education, this hits the mark.

164/908; 71/99

Edited: May 20, 2010, 9:01pm

782--Vocal music: Playing Right Field: A Jew Grows in Greenwich by George Tabb. This really has nothing to do with vocal music (except for Tabb's appearance in a high school production of Oklahoma), but since he became a musician, it apparently got put in a music category. Tabb tells the story of his childhood, which is full of racism and abuse. He seems almost unbelievably clueless, and he suffers through years of hvaing other children call him names and beat him up because he's one of the few Jewish kids in Greenwich. His father is also physically and emotionally abusive. It's no wonder he became a punk musician.

165/908; 71/99

May 20, 2010, 9:25pm

The book doesn't have any reviews yet so you might want to put your thoughts down over there too.

May 21, 2010, 11:58am

Done. (Not that I had too many thoughts to put down.)

Edited: May 23, 2010, 9:38am

168--Arguments & Persuasion: A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston. This is a short guide to logical writing. I read it partly for this challenge and partly out of professional interest. I didn't learn anything new, but it was a good review of basic concepts of logic, how to avoid fallacies, and things to remember in putting together a strong, clear argument. I would highly recommend this for college and law students.

166/908; 72/99

May 22, 2010, 1:09pm

I might check that out. I've been wanting to read up on logical fallacies.

May 22, 2010, 11:42pm

Perhaps law wasn't the right path. Data entry seems so much more rewarding right now.

May 23, 2010, 9:37am

I know, right? It's so much fun to sort books and put them on lists!

May 30, 2010, 11:59am

615--Pharmacology & therapeutics: The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley. Huxley's theory is that the mind takes in all sorts of incredible experiences but that it then filters those (through what he calls the "reducing valve") into what we're conscious of. In the first part of the book, The Doors of Perception, he experiments with peyote. He has a psychiatrist present and records everything he says, so the account of his actions and experiences is presumably reliable. This part of the book was highly entertaining. He is fascinated by details like chair legs, and he sees cosmic significance in them. He also advocates allowing the use of peyote over alcohol and tobacco because he thinks it has fewer downsides (and because he thinks people will always seek some kind of drug-induced escape from their lives). In the second part of the book, Heaven and Hell, he talks about "transporting" artwork--stained glass, jewels, and certain kinds of paintings. He thinks that the colors and ways of representing landscapes are similar to what people experience when they have visions of an "other world" or heaven, and we like these because they give us a glimpse of that world. He also argues that while for most visionaries the visions are blissful, for some, like schizophrenics, visions of this other world are terrifying and hellish. At the end, he includes a couple of short sections on the various ways to have visions--carbon dioxide, strobe lights, fasting, etc. I thought his comments on fasting were really interesting. He speculates that people in earlier times had more religious visions because they were malnourished and engaged in more religious fasting, and the lack of vitamins affects brain chemistry enough that the "reducing valve" is opened to allow for visionary experiences. I read the more scientific sections with skepticism because I'm not sure Huxley is a reliable source, but the book is nonetheless interesting and often entertaining.

167/908; 72/99

Jun 15, 2010, 2:04pm

972--General history of North America; Middle America; Mexico: Where is Nicaragua? by Peter Davis. Davis, a journalist, traveled to Nicaragua around 1983-1984 and again in 1986, and he talked to all sorts of people--Daniel Ortega, Bishop Obando, the American ambassador, and a multitude of NIcaraguan citizens on all sides of the conflict. He traveled to different parts of the country, including the Honduran border, to see the revolution and counter-revolution up close. The result is a pretty even-handed look at the reality of the conflict between the Sandinistas and the U.S.-supported Contras. Although the book is obviously dated now, I thought it provided a good picture of what was going on at the height of the controversy over U.S. involvement. Davis's style is very journalistic and tends to be a bit dry. He could have been a little more lively. Also, in the first half of the book, I felt like the chapters jumped around too much between different times and topics.

168/908; 72/99

Jun 19, 2010, 1:06pm

910--Geography & Travel: Travels in an Old Tongue by Pamela Petro. Petro is a writer or journalist or something (it's not entirely clear) who has taken a language program in Wales and then decides to travel around the world to meet Welsh people and Welsh speakers in other countries. The book got off to a slow start for me, in large part because Petro doesn't really introduce herself. Then I enjoyed it for 100 pages or so, but then it really started to get annoying. It's over 300 pages long, which is too long for what Petro has to say. She and her friend go to plenty of places, but nothing terribly interesting happens. They always seem tired, cranky, and short of money, and it seemed to me that they didn't plan well and were entirely too dependent on the kindness of strangers for lodging and other necesseties (although these people are not always treated kindly in the book). Petro isn't the greatest writer, either; she used way too many inapt and unnecessary metaphors and similes, and sometimes she jumped around among topics in unpredictable and confusing ways. I really enjoy travel literature on the whole but did not enjoy this one.

169/908; 72/99

Jun 19, 2010, 2:30pm

I probably would have given up on that one.

Jun 19, 2010, 6:25pm

I thought about it, but I had already spent a chunk of time reading it, and it counted for this and the LOC challenge.

Jun 29, 2010, 8:33pm

521--Celestial mechanics: Gravity: Classic and Modern Views by George Gamow. This is an explanation of the theories of gravity as they evolved from Galilei to Einstein (plus a little on gravity questions that were unsolved as of 1962, when the book was published). It's part of the "Science Study Series," and I think it would be a good companion to a calculus or physics course. Gamow explains the more basic calculus behind the various theories and equations, and he covers the main points about gravity in fairly short order. He does a good job of explaining the general concepts even without the math, which I appreciated because I realized that it's just been too long since my high school calculus class for me to be able to do much with the equations.

170/908; 72/99

Jun 30, 2010, 11:53am


Congratulations on that one -- there's not much to choose from in 521.

Jun 30, 2010, 12:36pm

Thanks. I have a book for 529 (Faster) but none ready for the other 520s. I'm going to read a 580 soon so that I will have read one book in each of the 500's sections.

Edited: Jul 3, 2010, 8:35pm

894--Ural-Altaic, Paleosiberian, Dravidian: To Err is Divine by Agota Bozai. Bozai is a Hungarian author, and the book is set in post-communist Hungary. The main character, Anna Levay, is a long-widowed high-school teacher who leads a relatively solitary and ascetic life. One day, a halo appears over her head. She can't touch it, but she can feel it press against her head when she lays down. She is worried about whether others can see it, but she soon realizes that only children and a few other innocents can see the halo. But animals are suddenly attracted to her, and she has healing powers. A politically-powerful doctor she knows soon discovers her healing powers, although she won't tell him about the halo. He and others exploit her powers for money. Bozai satirizes the post-communist political and economic system in Hungary, especially the political corruption and double-talk that would seem at home in a novel set in the communist period. But she also explores what would happen if a normal, non-religious person in modern times suddenly had the power to work miracles. Anna is a wonderful character; sympathetic, smart, and clever, but with humanizing failings. I highly recommend this book. (All of the plot described here is explained on the book jacket--no spoilers.)

171/908; 72/99

Edited: Jul 9, 2010, 8:18am

650--Management & auxiliary services: The Joy of Work by Scott Adams. I think Dilbert is one of the funniest and most clever modern comics. The first 2/3 or so of the book is a lot like the Dilbert cartoons in text form, and the material just isn't as funny that way. This section is essentially about how to do as little work as possible at the office without geting fired. The suggestions are silly and sometimes funny, and certainly not meant to be taken seriously--Adams is mocking typical office attitudes and procedures. The last section of the book is different. Adams talks about humor and how it works; he dissects jokes and talks about why some jokes work and others don't. I actually thought this was pretty interesting, but it didn't seem to fit with the first part of the book.

172/908; 73/99

Jul 9, 2010, 1:26pm

Kudos on breaking the seal one of dewey's more difficult divisions.

Jul 9, 2010, 3:05pm

Thanks. I liked reading a Dilbert book for this category!

Jul 11, 2010, 12:32pm

587--Pteridophyta (Vascular cryptogams): Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks. Sacks, the neurologist, loves ferns. This book tells the story of a trip he made to Oaxaca, Mexico with a group of fellow fern-lovers and botanists. A tremendously diverse group of ferns grow in the Oaxaca area; some are the common moisture-loving ferns that grow in rain forest areas, and others are adapted to desert conditions. Sacks talks about some of the unique characteristics of ferns, but the book is really about the passion that the others on the trip have for ferns and about how the native flora of an area affect the culture. While his travelling companions are focused mainly on the ferns (and some on birds as well), Sacks talks about all sorts of plants and how they are used today in Oaxaca and how they were used by other Mesoamerican cultures--agave, other cacti, cacao, maize, etc.

Sacks is a good writer, and I found him generally likeable (something I think is important when reading travel literature). Occasionally he gets a little too dreamy for my taste. He does a good job of putting the landscape and the flora in context and providing background history of the area.

Although this is categorized as Pteridophyta (ferns), it's not really about ferns; it's about the people. I learned a bit about ferns, but if you want a real fern book, this isn't it. I was happy with that because the cultural/economic significance of plants is generally more interesting to me than plant biology.

173/908; 74/99; and I've now read one in each division of the 500s!

Jul 12, 2010, 9:17am

Congrats on the milestone (and on have nearly 3/4 of the divisions in general!)

Jul 13, 2010, 2:38pm

Congratulations on the milestone! That one has eluded me so far, as I am too easily distracted by everything else to stick to a single class that long.

Jul 13, 2010, 2:41pm

It will be a long while before I'm there either.

Aug 21, 2010, 7:29pm

994--General history of other areas, Australia: In Tasmania by Nicholas Shakespeare. The author went to Tasmania for a vacation with his wife, fell in love with it, and stayed. He then discovered that he is related to one of the "founding fathers" of Tasmania, Anthony Fenn Kemp. The book is mainly a history of Tasmania, but told through the author's discovery of his relations and their escapades. It's an OK book--I certainly learned a lot about Tasmania and was relatively entertained--but it could have been better organized.

174/908; 75/99

Edited: Aug 28, 2010, 12:05am

620--Engineering & allied operations: Remaking the World by Henry Petroski. This is a compilation of essays about engineering. Most of them are about specific engineers or specific projects (like the engineer (!?) who wrote Robert's Rules of Order, or the Hoover Dam). I liked those; they were just the right length and full of interesting tidbits. Petroski does an excellent job of putting the engineering innovations in historical and social context. A couple of them are about engineering more generally, such as the use of computers in engineering and Petroski's complaints about how more engineers should be considered for Nobel prizes. Those were more curmudgeonly and probably interesting mainly to engineers (i.e., not me.)

(The touchstone loads in my list, but I can't get the other options to load here. It's not the Samuel Huntington book.)

175/908; 75/99

Sep 30, 2010, 11:43pm

541--Physical & theoretical chemistry: The Periodic Kingdom by P.W. Atkins. This is about the periodic table and the relationships among elements that are reflected in the arrangment of the table. Atkins likens the periodic table to a kingdom. For the first half or so of the book, I thought he was too caught up in his metaphor, spending too much time explaining the geography of this kingdom and not enough time on the real topics. The second half of the book is much more interesting and explains basic chemistry concepts in a clear and interesting way. I bet Atkins is an excellent professor.

176/908; 75/99

Edited: Oct 25, 2010, 7:50pm

387--Water, air, space transportation: The Outlaw Sea by William Langewiesche. This is a nonfiction book about the serious and pervasive lack of order on the oceans and in the shipping industry. Langewiesche opens with a bit of history about the "flags of convenience" and the International Maritime Organization, but the bulk of the book is about specific instances of shipwrecks and piracy that, in his opinion, result (at least in part) from the lack of meaningful regulation and inspection of vessels. He cites examples of poorly-maintained, aging, insufficiently-manned shipping vessels that have run aground or broken apart, causing death and destruction; the wreck of the Estonia passenger ferry between Talinn and Stockholm; the pirating of ships in the Strait of Malacca; and the unregulated, environmentally disastrous shipbreaking operations in India and Bangladesh. Each example is treated in detail, and Langewiesche obviously did extensive first-hand research. He is an excellent writer, and despite the serious subject, this is a quick read.

This book is several years old, but as the recent spate of high-profile piracy incidents indicates, nothing much has changed. It is a real problem without much hope of a near-term solution.

177/908; 75/99

Edited: Nov 6, 2010, 12:02pm

363--Other social problems & services: Fingerprints: The Origins of Crime Detection and the Murder Case that Launched Forensic Science by Colin Beavan. This is a history of how fingerprints came to be used to solve crimes. Beavan describes the early uses of fingerprints to identify repeat offenders (who were trying to escape harsher sentences by giving false names) and the gradual acceptance of fingerprints as evidence that a particular person committed a crime. He puts this story in context, outlining the history of the use of evidence in criminal trials and explaining some of the competing modes of identification (such as body measurements). There is some explanation of the science of using fingerprints--identifying the characteristics of the print, matching them, etc., but this is a history book and not a science book, so the author only tells the reader enough about that for the story to make sense. It's an interesting story, and it's well-written.

178/908; 75/99

Oct 30, 2010, 9:14pm

sounds interesting.

Nov 6, 2010, 12:05pm

443--French dictionaries: False Friends: Bk.1: Faux Amis by Ellie Malet Spradbery. This is an ER book. I really wanted to like this book, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The description said it was a book about "faux amis," French words that sound like English cognates but that do not have the same meaning as the similar-sounding English words. I have been trying to maintain my French skills, and I thought this would be an interesting and useful book. In some ways it is: the first section lists some common "faux amis," along with the actual meaning in French, the sound-alike English word, and the actual French word for the sound-alike English word. It's an interesting list to read through, but it's just a list. I had expected more text, maybe some sentences using the French word to show why mis-translating would be disastrous, or something else to help me remember the right word. Then there are other lists, like lists of French words for various trees and flowers. These are not useful for me; I'm not going to memorize them and am also unlikely to need to know the French for, say, "poplar." While a large book of lists of words like that might be a useful reference tool, it's hard to see how a few miscellaneous lists in this slim volume would be referenced. Maybe this part would be useful for French teachers putting together themed lessons? The author has also included French expressions, something that I think is very helpful for language-learners. Again, though, I would have liked to see them put it to context to help me learn them and use them correctly. Overall, the author has some good content, but the book needs more substance.

A note on the classification: LT has this as 442, French etymology. When I first entered this book, I tagged it 443, which I think was the LT classification at that time. The OCLC classification checker thing says 442, but I think this is wrong. The book contains no etymylogical information, and it's set up like a dictionary. Also, other "false friends" books are classified in either the dictionary or usage categories, but not in the etymology category. So I'm counting this as 443, French dictionaries.

Nov 6, 2010, 3:15pm

Que l'un ne le fait pas sans aucun doute sur à ma liste de souhait de Noël. :)

Nov 6, 2010, 3:33pm

Bonjour! Et bonne anniversaire!

Nov 6, 2010, 10:14pm

Thank you. Birthday was yesterday too! How do you find so much time to read? You're plugging along at an amazing pace.

Nov 7, 2010, 8:42am

Isn't "bonne anniversaire" "happy birthday"? Maybe it means "happy anniversary" too. I actually have a card for you that I got months ago but of course haven't sent it.

Maybe this laziness about other things is why I have so much time to read :) I don't know how I've read so much this year. I've tried to watch less TV, and I think using this website makes me think about all the books I want to read, so I'm very motivated.

Nov 7, 2010, 1:43pm

393--Death customs: Texas Graveyards by Terry G. Jordan. This is a study of three types of old Texas cemeteries: the "southern" type (Anglo, African-American, and Native American), German, and Mexican. The author discusses the typical features of each kind and tries to establish the origins of those features. One of the points that I found most interesting was that the three cultures that make up the "southern" type had all adopted similar burial customs and that each culture had adopted some features from each of the others (i.e., no one culture completely dominated) despite having segregated cemeteries and not necessarily sharing the same religion. The book contains plenty of photographs showing the different types of grave markers, which I liked. Although the book is very much an academic study, it is well-written and easy to read.

180/908; 75/99

Nov 8, 2010, 8:45am

I applaud you. You're practically reading a book a day at this point.

Don't worry about the card. I'll collect it next time we see each other. :)

Nov 8, 2010, 12:55pm

My reading pace ebbs and flows. That French book was really short--40-something pages.

Nov 9, 2010, 8:41am

311--How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff. This is a short little book written in the 1950s about how statistics are often manipulated, either the numbers themselves or in the presentation. Most of the examples are from advertising, news, or political groups, and although the examples are dated, the methods of trickery haven't changed. The core message of the book is to pay attention to statistics and be skeptical, but the author also explains in more detail why and how certain kinds of statistics are easily manipulated. For anyone who has taken a class in statistics or has much math background, the mathematical explanations will not be new, but it's still a good reminder to pay attention and not to accept statistics uncritically in situtations where the presenter has a reason to manipulate them.

181/909; 76/99

Nov 9, 2010, 7:10pm

You got tired of waiting for the group read? :)

Nov 9, 2010, 7:33pm

Yeah :)

It's so short, though, I'm not sure it would be much of a group read.

Edited: Nov 21, 2010, 1:34am

123--Determinism & indeterminism: Chance: A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market, and Just About Everything Else by Amir Aczel. This is a short explanation of basic probability. I thought Aczel did a good job of explaining the concepts clearly and concisely and putting them in context.

182/909; 76/99

Nov 20, 2010, 7:17pm

That doesn't sound like it was properly categorized. Isn't 123 supposed to be about the sort of determinism that negates the notion of freewill?

It looks like half of the time it is more understandably put in 519 (Probabilities & applied mathematics).

Nov 21, 2010, 1:32am

I think it's a hard call, because part of the book is about coincidences, the myth that good things happen in threes, and other things like that, and what probability teaches us about the cause (or lack thereof) of those phenomena. That seems to fit into the determinism/indeterminism category. But a good chunk of the book is just about the math, so it would fit into 519 as well.

Nov 28, 2010, 2:09pm

519--Probabilities & applied mathematics: The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow. Mlodinow explains the historical development of theories of probability and also the ways in which probability and statistics can tell us when something is random or the result of skill (or some other non-random basis). Interesting and well-written.

183/909; 76/99

Dec 27, 2010, 11:17pm

659--Advertising & public relations: Deadly Spin by Wendell Potter. This purports to be a tell-all from a former CIGNA communications executive about the PR efforts health insurance companies have taken to defeat reform legislation and hurt consumers. The problem is that what Potter has to say isn't exactly secret: insurance companies hire PR companies to manage bad publicity, PR firms create fake grass-roots groups in favor of the insurance companies' policies and cultivate journalist who will file favorable stories, and for-profit insurance companies are most interested in their profits. No big surprises there. I thought there would be more about the specific efforts in relation to the recent health care legislation, but Potter glosses over that, probably because he left CIGNA in 2008 (a fact about which he is excessively self-congratulatory, given that he admits he started having doubts about the ethics of his work in the 1990s). The book feels mainly like filler--chapters on Potter's background, the history of health insurance, and PR efforts by other industries, like tobacco--but I guess I shouldn't have been surprised: PR people generally seem to confuse words and content.

I received this from the Early Reviewer program.

184/909; 76/99

Dec 28, 2010, 2:13pm

"PR people generally seem to confuse words and content."

lol. If it were just PR people that were guilty of this.

Dec 29, 2010, 9:09am

#98: Yeah, they're not the only ones!

915--Geography & travel/Asia: Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost. I really enjoyed this one. I read his other two about the South Pacific, and the second one was a bit disappointing, so I was glad that he redeemed himself with this third book. Troost is not a student of China or Chinese; he's just a Westerner who likes to travel, so the book is not a history or study of China, but a true travelogue that gives a great picture of first impressions of a place that is very different from the West. The book is funny and engaging. Troost tells the good and the bad about the places he visits, and while he is squeamish about certain things (some of the food, motorcycle rides, etc.), he jumps right in there and tries unfamiliar experiences. The book is different from his South Pacific books because he is only visiting China, not living there, but Troost has regained his humor and style from the first book.

185/909; 76/99

Jan 1, 2011, 8:02pm

289--Other denominations & sects: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer.

Same thoughts as posted on my 75 Books Challenge thread: This is the story of Ron and Dan Lafferty, two members of the Fundamentalist LDS church who murdered their sister-in-law and baby niece, supposedly because God told them to. Except for a lot of skipping around between the main story and an explanation of Mormon history, the book is definitely well-written and interesting. But, I do think the author started out with a very anti-religious viewpoint, which I think that affected his telling of the story of the Lafferty brothers' horrible crime in some ways. Krakauer continues to treat their crime as having a basis in religion--which in a way it did--but that doesn't account for certain facts that he mentions that to me indicate that they were knowingly using religion as an excuse to do whatever they wanted, such as their drug use in the months before the crime; their convenient ability to have a revelation telling them to do exactly the things they wanted to do; and their reluctance to share their "removal" revelation with the other members of their circle, with whom they normally shared all revelations (a big indication that they knew the murder was wrong).

186/909; 76/99

Jan 16, 2011, 1:33pm

700--The Arts: Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose.

Same review posted on my 75 Books Challenge thread: This is about 9 sets of modern artists and muses, beginning with Hester Thrale and Samuel Johnson and ending with Yoko Ono and John Lennon. Each relationship is different, but the common thread is that they are all dysfunctional. Many of them were romantic relationships in which one or both of the artist and muse were already married to someone else. Prose spends a lot of time trying to puzzle out whether Charles Dodgson was a pedophile and what exactly his relationship with Alice Liddell was about. The only slightly-normal relationship Prose examines is between Suzanne Farrell and George Balanchine. Although George wanted it to be sexual, Farrell refused; plus, they are they were, in a way, muses for each other but not competitors. I found all the stories to be tremendously interesting. Prose is a good writer, and she makes the relationships between the artists and muses come alive, despite the fact that they are so bizarre.

Jan 30, 2011, 11:43am

975--Southeastern United States: The Grand Idea by Joel Achenbach. This is part Washington biography and part political history of the Potomac River. In between the Revolutionary War and his presidency, Washington came up with the idea that the Potomac River should be developed into the major artery to the western United States. He had made many trips into the backcountry along the river, and he thought it would be navigable with some minimal improvements. In many ways, he was wrong; the efforts to manipulate the river into something suitable for year-round navigation stalled and were eventually overtaken by the B&O Railroad. That's the central story of the book, but Achenbach fills it in with details about Washington's trips, his fascination with geography and improving the land, his period of friendship with Jefferson, and other stories about the young republic. At times the narrative is overblown, but on the whole it's an interesting look at post-war Washington.

188/909; 76/99

Feb 15, 2011, 8:10am

264--Public worship: 25 Most Treasured Gospel Hymn Stories by Kenneth Osbeck. I picked this up at the library book sale last year. It's a short book with about a one-page story about the origins of each of the 25 selected hymns, plus a copy of each hymn. I love hymns, and the book includes several of my favorites, so I enjoyed it, but I had also hoped the stories would be more in-depth. This book probably would not appeal to non-Protestants; if you don't know the hymns, it seems like it would be boring.

189/909; 76/99

Edited: Feb 23, 2011, 8:37am

160--Logic: Crimes Against Logic by Jamie Whyte. Ugh. I wanted to like this but totally hated it. Whyte seems like a pompous jerk--the person who always wants to argue (or, rather, tell you why he's right) about everything in every situation. He's so convinced of his own rightness that he doesn't see the flaws in his own arguments.

One, some of his arguments are just dumb. The first chapters of the book explain why statements like "everyone is entitled to their own opinion" aren't good arguments--well, duh. People don't say that when they have good reasons; it's just a way of saying that they're done with the argument, and polite people leave it alone (not Whyte).

Two, he argues from premises that his opponents probably wouldn't agree with. For example, he makes an argument that Christianity is illogical because the Trinity doesn't make sense. The problem is that he starts with the unspoken premise that God (or whatever supernatural being is at issue in any of his religious arguments) is just a big human somewhere else who operates under the same physical rules we do. I don't think that's something religious people agree with. Arguments come out differently when you start with different premises.

Three, he deliberately misinterprets others' statements. In a section about why the UK government's definition of "poverty" is bad, he quotes one person as saying, "It is a simple and reliable statistic, which has played a huge part in propelling poverty high up the political agenda." Whyte then explains why the "which" clause doesn't validate the definition. Fine, but the speaker wasn't saying that the effect of the statistic validated it; the speaker was just offering a piece of information about the statistic.

Four, he makes overgeneralizations, like his statement that people who have good reasons for their beliefs will not "attempt to stifle discussion with good manners. Those who take religion, politics, and sex seriously do not adhere to the general prohibition on discussing these topics, and they don't take offense when they are shown to be wrong." Mmm-hmm, I'm sure that's universally true, Jamie. No one who takes those things seriously has ever politely pretended to agree with you to get away from you. You just go on believing that. You're entitled to your opinion, after all.

189/909; 76/99

Feb 23, 2011, 12:56pm

Wow. So you're not a fan. :)

Feb 24, 2011, 5:40pm

>104 carlym: "One, some of his arguments are just dumb. The first chapters of the book explain why statements like "everyone is entitled to their own opinion" aren't good arguments--well, duh. People don't say that when they have good reasons; it's just a way of saying that they're done with the argument, and polite people leave it alone (not Whyte)."

regarding politeness as a means of terminating discussion:

I've been pressured to conceal my thoughts by some of the people I love most when they find them unpleasant or threatening. Having seen propriety used as a means of suppressing open and honest discussion (about the sexual selection of peacocks of all things) makes me less inclined to view propriety as something worth protecting.

When you learn that just sharing your thoughts is offensive to a significant number of people you're pretty quick to learn that there isn't a thing is the would that won't offend somebody. Sure I don't go out of my way to do so, but I don't think there is much to admire in silencing yourself for someone else's comfort. I mean, just think of all the wonderful and meaningful discourse we would lose if people restricted themselves to what people were comfortable hearing?

Actually I played polite at the family Christmas party. I didn't say anything while people casually bashed Obama and I skirted comments about religion. It was exhausting and miserable. In the name of not spoiling the party for anyone else I let it be ruined for me.

Feb 24, 2011, 7:25pm

I do think people should be able to discuss and debate issues of politics, religion, etc. with family members and close friends without those people taking offense (unfortunately we can't pick our family members). I also agree that if people take offense just by someone else stating their opinion or beliefs, that's really the offendee's problem.

My main problem with this section of Whyte's book is that he felt the need to go on for several pages about how "I'm entitled to my opinion" isn't a good argument. I didn't think that needed explication.

What Whyte also seemed to be saying is that, if you're in an argument/debate with someone who, at some point, makes a statement like "everyone is entitled to their opinion," that you should just keep hammering away about why that person is wrong. I disagree with that because (1) someone who says that is probably not going to change their opinion, no matter how irrational it is, so further discussion is pointless; (2) in many (but not all) situations, preserving the overall relationship or not causing a scene is more important than getting the other person to agree with you; and (3) sometimes you're wrong and the other person just wants to exit the situation without making you uncomfortable. His overall strategy seems to be to tell other people why they're wrong at every opportunity--not to have an open space for respectful debate or opinion-sharing.

(And I mean "you" in the general sense, not Fundevogel.)

Feb 24, 2011, 9:17pm

Perhaps it's a pet peeve of his? I roughly agree with you when it comes to people who won't change their minds. I don't acquiesce, but some conversations just aren't worth having. That's why my old world Catholic relatives are never finding out I'm an atheist.

I'm curious...there's the flipside of "everyone is entitled to their own opinion" which is roughly, "you're biased and therefore I can ignore anything you say". This is of course a ludicrous attack since everyone has a bias. If humans were a more logical group this accusation would disappear and people would stick to discussing actual facts and consequences...but there doesn't seem like much chance of that catching on. Did Whyte address that at all?

Feb 24, 2011, 10:45pm

That's certainly possible, although overall the tone of the book was, "I'm smarter than you, everything I believe is right, and everything else is ridiculous," which is not a very appealing attitude.

He kind of addressed that--one section is about arguing against something by pointing out the bias of the proponent of that view. Again, though, he takes a very black-and-white view. If someone (or an organization) has a strong bias, that is a relevant factor in determining their credibility--i.e., how much you can rely on them without an independent examination of the facts--but not a relevant factor in determining whether their views are actually correct. He only points out the latter. To illustrate in a fairly non-controversial context, if Consumer Reports says Toyota makes the best cars, I might be willing to rely on that. If Toyota says Toyota makes the best cars, I'm not going to rely on that. The identity/bias of the speaker isn't a fact that can be used in actually determining whether Toyota makes the best cars, but as a practical matter, people can't examine the underlying facts of everything, so the bias of the speaker is meaningful in determining whether a statement is likely to be true. In the way Whyte presents his argument, he at least implies that the bias of the speaker is meaningless.

Anyway, I've read several other books recently relating to logic and examining news/political statements/statistics, etc., and I would recommend all of them (How to Lie with Statistics, A Rulebook for Arguments, Chance: A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market, and Just About Everything Else, and The Drunkard's Walk) except this one.

Feb 24, 2011, 11:57pm

Fair enough, it wouldn't be the first time the a writer's voice soured their content.

Feb 25, 2011, 8:09am

It is a short book, so if you read it, I'm interested to hear your take.

Feb 25, 2011, 3:28pm

I've got way too many TBR's right now, but I'll let you know if I do read it.

Mar 11, 2011, 11:55am

384--Communications; telecommuncations: A Thread Across the Ocean by John Steele Gordon. This is a history of the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. It's really a fascinating story--the cable involved significant engineering advances, and the progress of the cable was affected by a variery of historical events. I had never really thought about what it took to accomplish this, and it is kind of amazing. I also had never thought about the current state of trans-ocean communications, but apparently we still rely very heavily on seafloor cables. Also highly recommended.

190/909; 76/99

Mar 11, 2011, 12:35pm


I also had never thought about the current state of trans-ocean communications, but apparently we still rely very heavily on seafloor cables.

Absolutely. One of the main cables from India to the US West Coast was cut a couple years ago and caused a lot of problems, and disconnecting cables was a lot of how Egypt was able to cut off Internet access to the outside world but keep things up within the country.

You might be interested in The Victorian Internet. It talks a little bit about the transatlantic cables, and the telegraph technology, but it's much more about the telegraph culture. I thought it was really interesting.

Mar 11, 2011, 6:42pm

I saw that on the wiki. I wouldn't have thought telegraph stuff would be so interesting, but after A Thread Across the Ocean, I'd definitely be interested in reading more. It only touched a little on the societal impact.

Mar 14, 2011, 10:57am

Apparently the earthquake in Japan also damaged some of the undersea cables:

Mar 14, 2011, 5:47pm

I ought to check out one of those books, the logistics of putting those cables there and maintaining them baffles me.

Apr 23, 2011, 9:24am

686--Printing & related activities: The Gutenberg Revolution by John Man. This is, obviously, the story of Johann Gutenberg and how he developed the printing press. Man fills in gaps in Gutenberg's story--which are many--with historical context. There were times when these asides went on too long and took away from the flow of the narrative, but at the same time, they were helpful to understand why Gutenberg did what he did and when, and why it took him so long to make his invention financially successful.

Apr 23, 2011, 10:03am

This sounds like a great book. I'll definitely keep it in mind for my own list!

Apr 23, 2011, 3:35pm

I'm intrigued as well. The advent of printing was pretty epic.

Edited: May 8, 2011, 10:19am

004--Data processing & computer science: Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon. This book is mainly about the ARPA project that created the first real computer network, connecting computers across the U.S. using telephone lines. I didn't realize how long ago the basic technology of the internet had been invented--in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The ARPANET members regularly used email in the 1970s. The authors do a good job of walking the fine line between being too technical for lay readers (like me) and not explaining any of the technological advances. I liked reading about the people who worked on the project; they were generally pretty interesting.

I'm excited about adding another one in the 000s, finally!

192/909; 76/99

May 9, 2011, 10:49am

That sounds like a fun one for 004.

May 14, 2011, 4:35pm

Yeah, it was pretty good, and interesting for someone like me who isn't particularly into computer science.

May 29, 2011, 12:10pm

027--General libraries: Libraries in the Ancient World by Lionel Casson. This is a short book describing the development of libraries from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia up to the Middle Ages in Europe. Casson talks both about the physical plant of the libraries and their contents and uses. I enjoyed reading about the ancient kings/emperors/etc. who were real bibliophiles and also about the development of public libraries in the Greek and Roman empires.

193/909; 76/99

May 29, 2011, 1:02pm

carlym - what an interesting list of books. I have added yet more books to my wishlist. Thanks.

May 29, 2011, 11:25pm

Thanks, fdholt!

May 30, 2011, 9:08am

Thanks for dropping by my thread! Now I'm over here seeing that with two years in this challenge, you've made significant progress, with all sorts of interesting books. An inspiration.

Sep 5, 2011, 1:43pm

609--Historical, geographical, and persons treatment (Technology): The Almanac of Fascinating Beginnings by Norman King. King summarizes the history of various inventions and practices--everything from the atom bomb to crackerjacks to shopping malls--in this short book. This could have been really boring because it's not a cohesive narrative but just short entries arranged in alphabetical order. King, though, does a good job of making each entry interesting and injecting humor into the stories.

194/909; 77/99

I'm working my way through Vikings! by Magnus Magnusson, which would complete the 940s!

Sep 6, 2011, 8:08am

950--General history of Asia; Far East: Video Night in Kathmandu by Pico Iyer. Iyer traveled all over Asia over a number of years and published this book in 1988. Each chapter considers one country. After a while, though, they all ran together, because the picture he paints is almost unrelentingly depressing--in country after country, the people are poor, oppressed, and often forced to turn to prostitution or begging, even though they remain cheerful and optimistic. The chapters on India and Japan are exceptions. The chapter on India focuses on Bollywood and is not really a travelogue. The chapter on Japan is mainly about baseball, and although it, in a way, also presents a very depressing picture (of a lack of genuineness and an over-emphasis on conformity), poverty and prostitution are not part of the scene. Iyer's overall theme is the interaction between East and West, but what is most striking is the desparate poverty. Because the book was written in 1988, it would be interesting to read his more recent impressions of these countries. In some, like Burma, I don't think the situation has changed much.

195/909; 77/99

Sep 18, 2011, 3:01pm

948--General history of Europe; Northern Europe; Scandinavia: Vikings! by Magnus Magnusson. This looks a bit like a coffee-table book, so I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but the exclamation point in the title is justified. Magnusson is enthusiastic about his subject, but also scholarly. He covers the whole Viking Age in Northern Europe, outlining both the history and the archeological basis for that history. I liked that he explained some of the controversies among historians and archaeologists about what different artifacts mean and where they fit into the picture. The book includes quite a few pictures of sites and artifacts. I do wish Magnusson had included a timeline; he organized the book primarily by area (Norway, Denmark, Iceland, etc.), and it would have been nice to have a reference for how events lined up across Europe. I love the Viking names: King Eyrstein Fart, Harald Fine-Hair, Ragnar Hairy-Breeks--how awesome are those? Vikings! indeed.

With this one I have finished all of the 940s!!

196/909; 77/99

I have started The Doctors' Plague for 618.

Sep 18, 2011, 10:59pm

Hmmm, I was leary because of the exclamation point but that does sound good.

Sep 19, 2011, 12:05pm

Yes, and I now have 3 vikings books on my TBR list! :)

Sep 20, 2011, 3:55pm

Congrats on finishing the 940s. For giggles you can find your own Viking name at

Sep 20, 2011, 3:58pm

So, this is what the employed spend their time doing...

There are all sorts of viking name generators on the Internet. This one is pretty fun:

They can apparently help you find your elf name too; I'm definitely making name tags for Christmas.

Sep 21, 2011, 9:25am

Hmm, my viking & elf names aren't that great!

618--Gynaecology & other medical specialties: The Doctors' Plague by Sherwin Nuland. This book is about Ignac Semmelweis who, in the mid-1800s, discovered that women in lying-in hospitals were dying from "puerperal fever" because of contamination by doctors and nurses who had touched patients with other infections or cadavers and then examined the pregnant women without washing their hands (and also via unwashed bed linens and instruments). Where he was able to implement sanitary procedures in maternity wards, the mortality rate dropped dramatically. Unfortunately, a combination of circumstances and his own increasingly abrasive personality prevented widespread acceptance of his findings. Nuland does a great job of setting the scene of the medical community in Hungary and Austria at the time and explaining the personalities behind the scientific story.

Sep 21, 2011, 1:10pm


Sep 21, 2011, 5:18pm

Not one for you to read right now.

Sep 27, 2011, 9:24am

968--General history of Africa; Southern Africa: Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier by Alexandra Fuller. Fuller grew up in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia, and this book tells the story of a couple of return trips she made from the U.S. to Zambia to see her parents. On the first trip she meets K, a white veteran of the Rhodesian war of independence and related fighting in Mozambique. K begins to tell her about what happened in the war, and on her second trip, she and K take a road trip back to the area of Mozambique where much of the fighting occurred. In many ways the book isn't about Africa specifically but about the horrors of war no matter where it occurs. Although K was on what we would consider the wrong side of the fighting, he is nonetheless tremendously scarred by the war, having been called up when he was really still a kid (nineteen or so) and taught to be a killer. The stories he and a few of his veteran friends tell are horrific, and each of them has been completely ruined by their experience. This is not an easy book to read, but I think it is important: it shows that whether you're right or wrong about your reasons for fighting a war, it has real and terrible consequences for the people actually fighting.

198/909; 77/99

Dec 24, 2011, 11:53pm

786--Keyboard & other instruments: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart. This started out well, but I kind of lost interest after about the first third or so of the book.

199/909; 77/99

Dec 31, 2011, 12:14pm

993--General history of other areas, New Zealand: Kiwis Might Fly by Polly Evans. This is really more of a travel book than a history book, but it was a decent read.

200/909; 77/99

Edited: Dec 31, 2011, 1:29pm

139 -- for 786, I have slated Inventing Entertainment: The Player Piano and the Origins of an American Musical Industry by Brian Doyle. That might prove to a bit more interesting...

Jan 1, 2012, 11:43pm

I'll be interested to see what you think of that one. The one I read was OK, just not great.

Jan 7, 2012, 1:30pm

071--Newspapers in North America: Prelude to Independence: The Newspaper War on Britain, 1764-1776 by Arthur M. Schlesinger.

Schlesinger argues persuasively that the Whig newspapers were vitally important in fomenting and sustaining the American Revolution, explaining the papers' reactions to specific events and the shifts in public opinion that resulted. The papers' opposition to British rule started with the Sugar Act but was sustained when the Stamp Act was issued, a law that affected the papers' own business and so strongly motivated the editors and printers to try to stir up opposition. The printers generally (and heroically) ignored the threat of prosecution by the British authorities, and the colonists were surprisingly successful in shaming and intimidating the British authorities into giving up on the few prosecutions they initiated. In these early battles about the right to publish articles critical of Britain, the papers emphasized the freedom of the press, but they had very different conception of that than we do today. The editors felt free to use their papers to harass people who violated the non-importation agreements and others who publicly sided with Britain; they did not feel it necessary to print opposing views; they regularly printed articles under pseudonyms; and they freely printed propaganda. As the conflict continued, the American authorities had no problem taking steps to stop Tory newspapers from publishing. I also was surprised to find that almost none of the papers felt any need to even try to appear unbiased. One thing I found funny was the papers' frequent use of poetry, much of it terrible. I can't see that being very popular today.

The book is quite interesting overall. It does seem to be written for more of an academic audience; there are passages where Schlesinger seems to catalog the entire results of his research on a point in a way that might be helpful for someone studying this subject but that detracts from the narrative flow.

201/909; 77/99

Jan 9, 2012, 12:44pm

963--Ethiopia: The Emperor by Ryszard Kapuscinski.

This is an amazing book. Kapuscinski was able to interview a number of people who worked in the Palace of Haile Selassie and witnessed his downfall first-hand. In this book, he weaves together their stories, prefacing each section with an overview of what was going on during that period of time. The former palace workers have a strange viewpoint: on one hand, they report very honestly about what was going on (squirreling away money while people were starving, etc.), but on the other hand, they defend Selassie and do not seem to see the moral problems with his actions. It is a fascinating insider look at how a dictator operated and maintained power.

202/909; 77/99

Jan 9, 2012, 1:17pm

143 I love the shitstorm that was early journalism. You're right, no one was even considering such a thing as "journalistic integrity" back then. I don't think that started to be a thing until the late 1800's/early 1900's. At least not in America.

Edited: Feb 4, 2012, 8:46am

I read The Crown Jewels by Oliver Warner, which counts as either a 394 or 739; I haven't yet decided which. The OCLC Classify site shows that some libraries use 394 and others use 739. In the Wikipedia list of Dewey categories, 739 is "art metalwork," which seems to apply--the book contains detailed descriptions of crowns, swords, etc., including the styles and the metals and gems used. In the MDS, 739 is "bronze; bric-a-brac," which doesn't apply at all. 394 is either "general customs" or "manners and customs," which also applies, because the book does explain how the crown jewels and regalia are used in the coronation and other ceremonies. I want to use 739 because I don't have any 730s or any other prospects for 739 specifically, while I can find another 394.

In any event this is an interesting little book. Warner seems to have pulled out all the best facts about the jewels, such as that Anne Boleyn is the only non-sovereign to have been crowned with St. Edward's Crown.

203/909; 78/99

Edited: Jan 22, 2012, 10:05pm

I've consulted my DDC 22 in conjunction with the Library of Congress website and it appears that crown jewels regardless of country are classed in 739.27 (Art metalwork; work in precious metals; jewelry), yours specifically are under 739.270942. They include books about the setting, mounting, and repairing costume and fine jewelry. It seems that there are other works on national jewels at the LoC classes them here.

So, don't feel bad about co-opting 739 for your book--it's already there.

Jan 22, 2012, 10:01pm

Great, thanks!!

Mar 11, 2012, 5:49pm

273--Heresies in church history: The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg. This book is about Menocchio, a sixteenth-century miller who lived in a village near Venice. Menocchio could read and write, although his education was limited. He managed to read an assortment of religious books, including the Bible and Sir John Mandeville's Travels, which dealt with other cultures in far-off places. From his reading, the teachings of the Catholic Church, bits he had heard about Reformation theology, and the oral history of the peasantry, he cobbled together an odd but fairly sophisticated cosmology and theology. Like the Lutherans, he disliked the power and wealth of the Catholic Church, but he also believed that Christ was not divine and that all religions were equally valid (that God came to different people in different ways). He believed that before the world existed, there was chaos; God and the universe were made out of that chaos much as cheese is made of milk. Then, like worms are formed from cheese (i.e., the spontaneous generation theory), angels were formed from the "cheese" of the universe. Menocchio told his fellow villagers of his beliefs and was eventually denounced as a heretic. He was tried, and his inquisitors dragged on the trial for months while they questioned him about the details of his beliefs.

Ginzburg's interest is in the different streams of culture that merged together in Menocchio's mind--both high and low culture, written and oral. In many ways, Menocchio's story is about the power of reading: the books Menocchio read added to his own ideas and ideas gleaned from an oral culture, and they gave him the words to be able to explain those ideas. Unsurprisingly, the story does not end well for Menocchio.

204/909; 78/99

Apr 2, 2012, 8:58pm

378--Higher education: My Freshman Year by Rebekah Nathan. Nathan is an anthropology professor who enrolled as a freshman at her own university to study student culture. She was in her 50s when she did this, so she didn't exactly blend in with the majority of students, but she lived in the dorm, registered for and attended classes as a student, and generally participated in student life. The first few chapters are filled with statistics and somewhat awkward observations relating to community and diversity, two areas that often catch the attention of university administration. I thought she did not really grasp student interactions; she admitted to being uncertain about slang and other norms, and she seemed hampered by being quite a bit older than the rest of the students. The book then turned to students' academic habits and the difference between student and professor impressions of how things work and what is important. This section was far more interesting, and Nathan seemed to really want to use her observations to create a better and more valuable learning experience for her students.

With this book, I have finished one book in each of the 300s divisions!

205/909; 79/99

Apr 26, 2012, 2:03am

I can actually hear you saying this last sentence, I.e., that it doesn't end well for him.

Apr 26, 2012, 2:05am

Congrats on hitting this milestone!!

May 17, 2012, 9:17am

that actually sounds like an interesting one for 273

Jun 9, 2012, 7:32pm

018: Catalogs arranged by author, date, etc.: Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist by Carlton Lake. Lake was the curator/collector for the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. The book is about his adventures in book collecting in Paris both for his personal collection and the University. Each chapter is about a particular item or set of items and how he acquired them. He obviously loves literature and collecting for academic purposes.

895: Literatures of East and Southeast Asia: Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

207/909; 79/99

Jun 9, 2012, 7:55pm

Confessions of a Literary Archaeologist sounds interesting! I'm a bit surprised it's in 018, since it doesn't sound like a catalog. Of the two libraries in my state that have it and use Dewey, one put it in 018 and another in 840 which is where I would have probably put it (just going from description), but since it's much harder to find anything for 018, I'll also go with it for the challenge if I manage to track down a copy.

Jun 9, 2012, 8:11pm

It was good. I re-checked the OCLC classifier thing because I thought 018 seemed a little weird, but 018 is the most popular classification. It is a bit like a catalog, with each chapter elaborating on one item in a collection, so I guess it's not totally crazy.

Jun 9, 2012, 10:38pm

Yeah -- it's 018, I recently bought it to round out my collection. I'm glad to hear that it's a good book.

Jul 5, 2012, 6:19pm

221--Old Testament: Moses and Monotheism by Sigmund Freud. This is a laugher. Freud argues that Moses was an Egyptian, not a Jew, and he ties this into his psychological theory of how monotheistic religions developed. His arguments are based on things like "Moses" being an Egyptian name (ignoring the fact that an Egyptian adopting a Jewish baby is pretty likely to give the baby an Egyptian name) and the sort-of congruence between Freud's version of the story with a particular myth framework. He fits facts to his theory, and where there are no facts, he just says that research would undoubtedly prove him correct. His psychological theory depends on all of humankind having experienced a primeval conflict with a father figure and having passed this down through the generations genetically (not through oral history). The book is interesting from a historical standpoint because of Freud's fame and influence, but if you're looking for a scientific/historical analysis of religion as a social phenomenon, this isn't a good choice.

208/909; 79/99

Edited: Jul 8, 2012, 9:06am

220--Bible: The Bible Tells Me So: The Uses and Abuses of Holy Scripture by Jim Hill and Rand Cheadle. This book looks at hot-button issues of the past and present, like the role of women, abortion, war, etc., and summarizes the way in which various Christian groups have used Scripture to support their positions (for or against) on these issues. I thought this was an interesting concept, but the book didn't quite live up to its potential; the analyses are generally superficial. The book is also somewhat repetitive--certain issues are reviewed multiple times from slightly different angles and would have worked better as a single, full discussion than broken up throughout the book.

209/909; 79/99

Jul 8, 2012, 2:51pm

585--Gymnospermae (Pinophyta): The Wild Trees by Richard Preston. Preston follows the careers and lives of several professional tree climbers and botanists who research very tall redwoods and a few other species. The botanists' personal stories are tied closely to the trees and help explain their interest in and dedication to the trees, so this added to the book rather than being a distraction. The canopies in these forests are amazing: not only do they consist of the tops almost unimaginably tall trees, they include all sorts of animal and plant life living in the treetops (even other sizeable trees that grow in dirt that has collected in the larger trees). Not many forests of really tall trees remain due to past logging, but even the small pockets that remain are relatively unexplored, even though they are within easy distances of major metropolitan areas. Preston at one point comparies the canopies to the oceans, in terms of the unknown and unexplored biodiversity. The book is fascinating and well-written.

210/909; 79/99

Jul 9, 2012, 1:36pm

This looks really interesting! Thanks for the review!

Jul 15, 2012, 12:52pm

I've never been that interested in plant biology, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Jul 22, 2012, 5:46pm

215--Science and religion: Rocks of Ages by Stephen Jay Gould. Gould, an agnostic, argues that there is no need for a war between science and religion: each should stay in its own sphere, or "magisterium." Science describes the natural world but should not draw any moral conclusions from it (i.e., the mechanisms of physical evolution should not be used to justify intentional "survival of the fittest" behavior), and science has no business looking for the meaning of life or the universe. Religion deals with morality and meaning and has no business trying to explain the observable world and natural processes. I generally agree with him (although I think, for example, that belief in Jesus' resurrection, something that cannot be explained by natural laws, is a necessary part of being a Christian). The really interesting part of the book for me was Gould's explanation of the conflict between Galileo and the Catholic Church and also the Scopes trial. In both cases, the real story is more nuanced than the commonly-known account and involves less actual conflict between science and religion.

Note on categorization: The OCLC Classify tool says that the most common category for this book is 291, comparative religion. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, because Gould is not really comparing the beliefs of different religions re: science but contrasting all religion and science. The second most common category is 215, science and religion, which seems exactly right.

210/909; 80/99

Aug 12, 2012, 4:06pm

570--Life Sciences: The Medusa and the Snail by Lewis Thomas. At first this book disappointed me a bit because I thought it was going to be more science, and it turned out to be essays on all manner of topics, from the perspective of a doctor/professor. Then I really started enjoying it. Thomas is a fantastic writer, but I what I most enjoyed is that, in some of the essays, he just lets loose with whatever odd (and often funny) thoughts he has about a subject. This book was published in the 1970s--I'm not sure whether all the essays were written for the book or collected from earlier publications--but despite covering political and technological topics, it is not at all dated.

This book is most often categorized as 574, but that category is no longer used. According to the OCLC Classify site, the next most popular category is 570, so that is what I have used.

211/909; 80/99

Oct 7, 2012, 8:49pm

648--Housekeeping: Other People's Dirt: A Housecleaner's Curious Adventures by Louise Rafkin. This book promises to be about Rafkin's experiences as a housecleaner, but it is only partly about that. A good chunk of this relatively short book is taken up with stories Rafkin seeks out from other housecleaners. Rafkin is a genuine housecleaner, not a writer who has taken up a job on a temporary basis solely to provide material for a book, but, as someone who went to graduate school in English, she was obviously on the lookout for good anecdotes to use in future writing. This gives her an unusual perspective, and I wished she had told more about her own experiences rather than the experiences of those she interviewed. The book was entertaining and a quick read, but a little thin on material.

212/909; 80/99

Edited: Oct 17, 2012, 8:41am

002--The Book: Used and Rare by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. Excellent.

213/909; 80/99

Feb 25, 2013, 8:07pm

629--Other branches of engineering: West with the Night by Beryl Markham. This is a bit of an odd place for this book, but OCLC Classify confirms that this is the most popular categorization by far. Markham is an aviator and does discuss aspects of flying and plane design, so I guess it relates to aviation engineering. Anyway, a great book for a difficult category.

Feb 25, 2013, 9:19pm


It may be an instance of "biographies of people get classified based on the subject they're best known for", which is why (for instance) biographies of physicists show up in the physics classifications. Incidentally this is also the category where books about the space program tend to end up.

Feb 28, 2013, 9:45pm

That makes sense. Thanks!

Mar 7, 2013, 9:55am

937--history of ancient world; Italy and adjacent territories: The Etruscans: Art, Architecture, and History by Federica Borelli. This book divides Etruscan history into several periods and illustrates the art and, to some extent, the architecture using pictures of artifacts. Each page has several high-quality photos of related artifacts and a paragraph of text about them. Although the book does not provide an in-depth treatment of any of the artifacts and so would appear to be targeted at non-specialists, the book assumes familiarity with a lot of art and archeological terminology.

Apr 14, 2013, 10:06am

232--Jesus Christ and his family: An Irreverent Curiosity by David Farley. This is about the Holy Foreskin--the relic of Jesus' circumcision. I think relics are totally fascinating (and not at all part of my religious beliefs), but I thought this book was not very good. It should have been an article--there is just not enough material here for a book.

Apr 15, 2013, 3:46pm

That sounds like the best relic ever.

Apr 16, 2013, 9:29pm

At one time there were 16 or so of them. :)

Apr 17, 2013, 8:02pm

Clearly, he was the son of God.

Edited: Apr 22, 2013, 11:39am

395--Etiquette (Manners): Galateo: A Renaissance Treatise on Manners by Giovanni Della Casa, trans. Konrad Eisenbacher and Kenneth R. Bartlett. Della Casa, a Florentine who also lived in Bologna, Padua, and other Italian cities, wrote this book in the voice of an elderly man providing advice to youth. It is HILARIOUS and surprisingly relevant to our times--in many ways more useful than the "how do I address correspondence to a senator"-type advice one can find in books by Miss Manners and Emily Post. Della Casa addresses proper behavior for everyday interactions with other people, and he dispenses advice such as, "And when you have blown your nose you should not open your handkerchief and look inside, as if pearls or rubies might have descended from your brain."

Apr 24, 2013, 9:45pm

726--Architecture--Buildings for Religious Purposes: San Lorenzo: Guide to the Laurentian Complex by Bruno Santi. This is a guide to the art and architecture of San Lorenzo in Florence. It's kind of funny that this is in the "buildings for religious purposes" category, because, while the church was initially built for religious purposes, much of the current adornment and related buildings were built by the Medicis for their own glorification. I read this because I'm going to Florence; it is a good overview and has lots of nice photos, but it definitely reads like a guidebook.

218/909; 80/99

Edited: May 12, 2013, 9:44pm

759--Geographical, historical, areas, persons treatment: Giotto: The "Legend of Saint Francis" in the Assisi Basilica by Bruno Dozzini. This is a short book about a series of frescoes by Giotto and his assistants. I learned a little about Giotto's style and also a little about the legend of Saint Francis.

219/909; 81/99

Edited: Jul 4, 2013, 10:08pm

751--Techniques, equipment, forms: Medieval Wall Paintings by E. Clive Rouse

Edited: Aug 31, 2013, 9:35pm

687--Clothing: Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon by James Sullivan. This is a pretty interesting micro-history of jeans. It's in the manufacturing section, and it does have a fair amount of information about the manufacture of jeans--the origins of denim, the origins of making jeans in the U.S., how the industry has transformed, and the ways in which manufacturers distress jeans--without being boring or too technical.

221/909; 81/99

Sep 1, 2013, 4:16pm

557--Earth sciences of North America: The White River Badlands by Cleophas O'Harra. For a book written in 1920 for the South Dakota School of Mines geology bulletin, this is surprisingly readable. However, I would only recommend it if you're really interested in geology or paleontology. It's not overly technical, but it's very specific.

222/909; 81/99

Sep 2, 2013, 9:30pm

Here is a Dewey book list from the San Rafael Public Library:

Oct 17, 2013, 8:08pm

797--Aquatic and air sports: Cork Boat by John Pollock

223/999; 81/99

Oct 18, 2013, 12:11pm



Dec 28, 2013, 6:52pm

985--Peru: Cradle of Gold by Christopher Heaney

224/999; 82/99

Jun 14, 2014, 12:39pm

179--Other ethical norms: The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal

225/999; 82/99

Oct 11, 2014, 8:25pm

916--Geography & travel/Africa: Sahara Unveiled by William Langewiesche

226/999; 82/99

Edited: Oct 12, 2014, 3:53pm

778--Fields & kinds of photography: Digital Photography Visual Quick Steps by Chris Bucher
670--Manufacturing: Hew, Screw, and Glue by James Innes-Smith

227/999; 84/99

Oct 21, 2014, 8:10am

365--Penal and Related Institutions: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

228/999; 84/99

Nov 23, 2014, 5:43pm

371--Schools and their activities: Lady's Choice: Ethel Waxham's Journals and Letters

229/999; 84/99

Jan 4, 2015, 1:45pm

978--Western United States: Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps by Ted Kooser. I just need a 971--a book about Canada--to finish the 970s.

230/999; 84/99

Jan 4, 2015, 7:38pm

281--Early church & Eastern churches: We Came, We Saw, We Converted: The Lighter Side of Orthodoxy in America by Joseph Huneycutt. This is a collection of essays that are kind of like sermons; it is not what I expected based on the back-cover description. I thought it was going to consist of true stories from the author's experience as an Orthodox priest. If you're Orthodox, you might like this book, but it wasn't for me.

231/999, 84/99

Edited: Jun 13, 2015, 10:50am

581--Specific topics in natural history of plants: The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

232/999; 84/99

Jul 30, 2015, 6:31pm

026--Libraries, archives, information centers devoted to specific subjects: The Vanished Library by Luciano Canfora. Not a fan of this one--I finished it because I knew it would count for a difficult category.

233/999; 84/99

Edited: Aug 2, 2015, 7:05pm

509--History, geographic treatment, biography (of science): The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney. Like all books with a political perspective, it's important to read this critically and look for facts vs. opinions, but there are some important facts here about how the George W. Bush administration in particular used trumped-up "science" to support its positions.

Aug 24, 2015, 9:02pm

495--Languages of East and Southeast Asia: Idiom a Day: Volume 2 by Wu Yuan. I thought this was a good choice for someone like me who does not speak or read any Asian languages. Each idiom (written in Chinese) is accompanied by the fable/folktale (in English) that led to the idiom, and each one also has a funny illustration.

235/999; 85/99

Aug 30, 2015, 9:43pm

578--Natural history of organisms: The Deep Sea

236/999; 85/99

Oct 3, 2015, 3:03pm

372--Primary education: Educating Esme by Esme Codell

237/999; 85/99

Nov 12, 2015, 4:58pm

750--Painting and paintings: Looking at Pictures by Susan Woodford

238/999; 85/99

Nov 25, 2015, 12:39pm

182--Pre-Socratic Greek Philosophies: A Presocratics Reader, Patricia Curd, ed.

239/999; 85/99

Edited: Feb 21, 2016, 10:14pm

283--Anglican churches: An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor

240/999; 85/99

Feb 25, 2016, 2:02pm

I have been pretty lazy about LibraryThing-ing and just listing titles instead of saying anything about them, so here is a recap of the last several Dewey books I have read:

578--Natural history of organisms: The Deep Sea (Monterey Bay Aquarium). This is a short book that focuses on Monterrey Bay. I think deep sea life is fascinating, and this book has some great photos of weird animals. It kind of looks like a children's book, but it isn't.

372--Primary education: Educating Esme by Esme Codell. I found this to be insufferable. The author is in her first year of teaching, and while I could understand her frustration with bureaucracy, she seemed a little nuts. I had the feeling I would have been really annoyed if I had had to work with her.

750--Painting and paintings: Looking at Pictures by Susan Woodford. I am not that into art but found this to be interesting and helpful.

182--Pre-Socratic Greek Philosophies: A Presocratics Reader, Patricia Curd, ed. The philosophy section of the DDC doesn't excite me much, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this book interesting. I liked that it showed the progression of the way people thought about the universe.

283--Anglican churches: An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor. This is very hippie-dippie, "be in the moment," hug-a-tree kind of stuff. I thought there were some good points here and there, but it wasn't my thing.

Mar 25, 2016, 7:26pm

391--Costume and Personal Appearance: The History of Underclothes by C. Willett and Phyllis Cunnington

Mar 26, 2016, 12:40am

539--modern Physics: The New World of Mr. Tompkins by George Gamow and Russell Stannard

242/999; 85/99

Apr 19, 2016, 7:19am

487--Preclassical and postclassical Greek: The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox

243/999; 86/99

Jun 8, 2016, 2:04pm

791--Public performances: Most Talkative by Andy Cohen

244/999; 86/99

Jun 19, 2016, 4:07pm

025--Library operations: The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey.

I saw on the suggestions wiki a note that 025 is not the most common classification for this book. 025 is the class assigned in the Library of Congress CIP data, and I think it is a fair classification. The narrative thread of the book is about thefts of maps from libraries, and a significant about of the book relates to the operations of those libraries and, specifically, security in rare books collections.

245/999; 86/99

Jul 5, 2016, 2:19pm

556--Earth sciences of Africa: Fieldwork: A Geologist's Memoir of the Kalahari by Christopher Scholz

246/999; 86/99

Jul 17, 2016, 4:59pm

200--Religion: Krishna's Dialogue on the Soul, trans. Juan Mascaro

247/999; 86/99

Edited: Jul 23, 2016, 6:29pm

Finally, a new division!

198--Philosophy of Scandinavia and Finland: Kierkegaard in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern. I don't love philosophy, and it is hard for me to get excited about most of the books in the 100s. I happened on this one, and it fit my level of interest and attention span. Strathern has written a bunch of these, and I will look for others to help me complete the 100s.


Jul 23, 2016, 10:59am

622--Mining and related operations: Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs by Paul Carter. OCLC Classify says the most common category is 338, but in looking at the pie chart, it is split evenly between 622 and 338. MDS also puts this in 622, which I think is the more appropriate category. This is Carter's memoir of 20+ years working on oil rigs. His stories are shocking and often funny, in a gross way. The one thing that drove me crazy is that he uses commas instead of semicolons to connect independent clauses in sentences, and he uses this construction frequently.

249/999; 87/99

Edited: Aug 5, 2016, 12:15pm

188--Stoic philosophy: The Handbook by Epictetus. I read this on the recommendation of at least one person in this group, and I am glad I did. It's short (a big plus for me in the philosophy area), the introduction explains the key concepts that might not be easily picked up from the text, and the text itself is relatively clear and occasionally funny.

250/999; 87/99

Edited: Jul 24, 2016, 2:41pm

In going back through my spreadsheet of books read/TBRs/books to look for, I realized I had forgotten an 812--American drama in English: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. That means I have completed the 81x division.

645--Household furnishings: English Windsor Chairs by Ivan Sparkes

252/999; 87/99

Jul 29, 2016, 11:29pm

255--Religious congregations and orders: If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission by Jo Piazza

253/999; 88/99

Edited: Aug 1, 2016, 10:57am

010--Bibliographies: On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography by James Harner. This is very short (~35 pages) and actually interesting, especially for those of us who like organizing information.

553--Economic Geology: The Mines of Neptune by Elisabeth Mann Borgese. This is about the various resources of the oceans, primarily mineral resources, but also energy resources in the form of tides and other "clean" sources. It is quite dated but still has valuable information and explanations. The author places emphasis on environmental issues and the importance of determining what the environmental impacts will be before anyone engages in mining of nodules and other exploitation of ocean resources.

745--Decorative arts: The Book of Kells by Bernard Meehan. This book focuses on the artistic style and symbolism of the illustrations in the Book of Kells, with a few notes on the history of the book. It includes many beautiful color photographs, without which the discussions would be extremely hard to follow.

256/999; 88/99

Aug 1, 2016, 10:13am

>213 carlym:

What did you think of that book? It looks like a good way to get what's a really tough category for me as an atheist.

Aug 1, 2016, 10:50am

I liked it. I'm Christian but not Catholic, so I don't have the same viewpoint you do, but the author is agnostic and at the end of the book said that the conversations with the nuns inspired her but did not change her views on God. The nuns are all quite liberal (pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-choice, anti-nuclear weapons, etc.). The stories do impart the nuns' strong feelings of religious calling, reliance on prayer, etc., but not in an evangelical way.

Edited: Aug 23, 2016, 1:58pm

370--Education: The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis. 370 is an odd characterization for this, because the book about the philosophy of morality, and the "education" aspect is just a scenario used to set up the argument. I was on board for part of the argument, but Lewis lost me with his anti-science stance.

640--Home economics and family living: The Campaign for Domestic Happiness by Isabella Beeton. I had always imagined Mrs. Beeton as an old housewife in a mob cap, but she was only in her mid-twenties when she wrote her book (of which this is an excerpt), and she died before she turned 30. This excerpt is part of the Penguin Great Food series, a set of small paperbacks with beautiful covers that reprint excerpts from famous books about food (or the entire original work, if it was short). I wouldn't have wanted to plow through all of Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, but I very much enjoyed the short version. The tone is more modern than I expected, and it is an entertaining look at the management of an upper-class household as well as the recipes of the Victorian era.

394--General customs: The Coronation Ceremony of the Kings and Queens of England and the Crown Jewels by Tessa Rose. Most interesting fact: starting with the coronation of Charles II and up through at least the late 1800s, the crowns and other regalia used in the coronation ceremonies often included hired jewels rather than jewels actually owned by the monarchs.

621--Applied physics: Watt's Perfect Engine by Ben Marsden. This book is a good mix of biography and the history of the development of the steam engine itself. It isn't too technical but does explain how Watt made a breakthrough in technology, and the emerging concepts in physics that helped him create a far more efficient engine.

259/999; 88/99

Edited: Aug 13, 2016, 8:34am

746--Textile arts: Secrets of Stylists by Sasha Morrison. I read this for free on Scribd, and I'm glad I didn't pay for it. It wasn't bad, but just like reading 10 Glamour magazines in a row.

233--Humankind: The Measure of a Man by Martin Luther King, Jr.

261/999; 88/99

Edited: Aug 23, 2016, 2:01pm

30--General Encyclopedic Works: Who's the Blonde that Married What's-His-Name? by Carol Boswell and Lenore Skenazy. This is a quiz book set up like Mad Libs, where the sentences are the things you would say when a name is on the tip of your tongue, thus the title. The blanks are the names or words that the speaker is trying to remember. It sounds dumb but was actually fun, and it would be good for plane trips.

250--Christian orders and local church: Megachurches & America's Cities by John Vaughan. Not recommended. The majority of this short book consists of a repetitive recitation of statistics about large churches and a discussion about the various terms used for different sizes and types of large churches, all of which are promptly abandoned by the author in favor of the vague "megachurch" term. The book purports to tell the reader how churches grow, but the last twenty pages--the only part of the book that contains analysis or discussion rather than statistical recitation--simply cover two lists, one of changes to expect as a church grows and the other of the ways large churches can benefit the community in ways unavailable to small churches.

270--Christian church theology (also labeled "History, geographic treatment, biography of Christianity): The Christians and the Fall of Rome by Edward Gibbon

264/999; 88/99

Aug 16, 2016, 9:31am

624--Civil engineering: Underground by David Macaulay. Wonderful illustrations.

265/999; 88/99

Edited: Aug 27, 2016, 11:35am

150--Psychology: Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud. This was heavy going at times, and I don't buy into all the theories, but he has some thought-provoking points about aggression and civilization.

266/999; 88/99

Edited: Sep 2, 2016, 9:54am

020--Library & information sciences: Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library by Dan Borchert. Borchert found a job at a public library in Los Angeles because he wanted a comfortable and steady civil service job, not out of a love for books or an interest in sharing a love of reading. I expected the book to consist of funny anecdotes about unusual happenings in the library, and there were a few of those, but most of the book consisted of tales of mundane administrative issues and depressing stories about how parents used the library as free after-school care. Even with these, Borchert did not seem to have much material to work with, so he spread the stories pretty thin. It wasn't terrible, just mediocre.

I caught another two previously read books that I had missed:

330--Economics: Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher
853--Italian fiction: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

269/999; 89/99

Edited: Sep 22, 2016, 8:29am

263--Days, Times, Places of Religious Observances: Travels with My Donkey by Tim Moore

270/999; 89/99

Sep 9, 2016, 3:13pm

Is that a typo for 263? That's what DDC gives for that descriptive text, and it's where OCLC puts the book (when it's not in 914 for plain travel).

You're doing a great job finding readable-sounding 2xx, by the way!

Sep 21, 2016, 2:31pm

Yes, thanks for catching that! I had it right on my master list and just typed in it wrong here.

I have a few more 2xx books on my shelf that may be appealing to non-Christians, but it may be a while before I get to them. I'm trying to read my way through the 1xx books I already own and then move on to the 2xx ones. I have almost finished Chaos by James Gleick for 003.

Sep 22, 2016, 8:30am

003--Systems: Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

271/999; 89/99

Sep 22, 2016, 11:38pm

019--Dictionary Catalogs: Power, Politics, and Print: The Publication of the British Museum Catalogue, 1881-1900 by Barbara McCrimmon

272/999; 89/99

As the title says, this book is about the publication of the British Museum's catalog of books in the 1800s, primarily the transition from a manuscript to a printed catalog. You might ask, "Who cares?" I can't answer that. Nonetheless, I found this tale of bureaucratic and academic wrangling somewhat endearing. I could imagine the many clerks carefully copying and sorting entries, the highly opinionated senior librarians writing strongly worded memoranda, and treasury managers wondering where all the money was going.

Oct 7, 2016, 12:53pm

546--Inorganic chemistry: The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus by John Emsley. Emsley starts the book with the history of the discovery of phosphorus by alchemists and budding chemists. He moves on to the variety of ways in which phosphorus has been used and misused--as medicine (when it is actually poisonous in the form in which it was being used), in matches (delving into a little economic history), in weapons (both bombs and chemical weapons), as fertilizer (including environmental impacts), and as poison. He occasionally loses the "sordid tale" feel when he starts reciting facts--number of matches produced per year, etc. I noticed this in the agricultural section in particular. Except for these few bits, the book held my attention well. Emsley appreciates both the humorous and the scandalous aspect of some of these stories, and I thought he presented a balanced view of the use of phosphorus in WWII and in agriculture.

273/999; 89/99

Oct 8, 2016, 1:15am

This one's my to read list as I liked his book on poisonous elements. Did he get into phossy jaw at all in this?

Oct 10, 2016, 5:35pm

He did. It's in the section on the match factories--he discusses specific instances as well as how it was investigated and handled from a workplace safety standpoint. He doesn't really address it outside of the context of the match factories.

Oct 16, 2016, 11:39am

I don't know that it ever existed beyond the match factories. I ran across it when I read Dr. Mutter's Marvels. There was some pretty intense stuff in that one.

Dec 9, 2016, 8:21pm

033--General encyclopedic works in other Germanic Languages: The World in a Box by Anke Te Heesen. I had high hopes for this book, which is about an 1800s picture encyclopedia for children. The encyclopedia was printed on sheets with multiple frames, such that children could cut the frames apart into individual cards and then sort them into compartments in a special box. Unfortunately, the author took article-length material and tried to turn it into a book, which resulted in padding with repetition and very tangentially relevant topics. The book is also translated into English, and while I do not doubt the accuracy of the translator, any good styling was lost.

274/999; 89/99

Dec 9, 2016, 11:09pm

302--Social interaction: Confident Conversation by Lillian Glass

275/999; 89/99

Dec 31, 2016, 9:31pm

073--Newspapers in Central Europe; in Germany: The Captive Press in the Third Reich By Oron J. Hale. Sadly relevant for what is happening today.

276/999; 89/99

Edited: Jul 9, 2017, 9:07am

996--Other parts of the Pacific; Polynesia: Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii by Susanna Moore. I thought I would never finish this book. I started it before a trip to Hawaii last November, and the first several chapters did provide good context for some of the historical sites. But it just dragged on and on in a somewhat encyclopedic manner.

277/999; 89/99.

Sep 4, 2017, 11:37am

958--Central Asia: The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland by Saira Shah. Highly recommended both for the writing and for an understanding of how we got to where we are in Afghanistan.

278/999; 89/99

Edited: Sep 5, 2017, 10:13am

187--Epicurean philosophy: Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein. Also highly recommended. It's about a philosophy of old age, but even though I'm not there yet, I enjoyed it and thought Klein had thought-provoking points about how to live life at any age.

279/999; 89/99

Edited: Aug 11, 2018, 9:03am

970--General History of North America: A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz (recommended)
938--Greece to 323: The Parthenon by Mary Beard (recommended)
637--Processing Dairy and Related Products: The Whole Fromage (recommended, especially if you are going to France and planning to eat cheese)
558--Earth sciences of South America: Devil in the Mountain by Simon Lamb (recommended)

283/999; 89/99

Aug 19, 2018, 11:42am

577--Ecology: Tales from the Underground by David Wolfe. This was just OK. It's not a long book, but it nonetheless seems like Wolfe is stretching his material. He tells the reader a very little about a lot of topics, and I felt that anyone with a reasonable interest in science/nature/biology would probably find little new information here. The book started off well, discussing the microbial organisms in the soil, but instead of developing that further, moved on to basic facts about earthworms, mycorrhizae, harmful soil bacteria like tetanus, and a handful of burrowing animals like prairie dogs. It isn't a bad book, but I have no doubt there are better choices in this category.

284/999; 89/99

Edited: Aug 22, 2018, 2:04pm

As far as 577 goes, I loved Where the Wild Things Were. I actually wrote a proper review, rather than just a couple sentences on my thread:

It's worth a read even if you don't need the section anymore.

Sep 9, 2018, 6:23pm

That does sound interesting!

Sep 9, 2018, 9:06pm

089--General Collections in Other Languages: Best-Loved Chinese Proverbs by Theodora Lau. This is a bit like reading hundreds of fortune cookies, but I enjoyed comparing Chinese to American proverbs. Some are the same, like having eyes bigger than your stomach--and some are totally different and seem to be dependent on a cultural background I don't have. A couple I liked: "Do not have each foot on a different boat," and "The darker the night, the brighter the stars."

314--General Statistics of Europe: On an Average Day in the Soviet Union by Tom Heymann. This is a notoriously difficult section, and I have had a couple of these "Average Day" books on my list for a while without being able to find them. I finally found the Soviet Union and Japan ones recently, and I was very pleasantly surprised at how interesting this was. The Soviet Union one was published in 1990, so it provides a snapshot of life in the USSR right as the country was transitioning out of communism. Each page has a couple of related statistics (like the number of people who die of heart disease, cancer, and other frequent illnesses), and then a footnote provides comparable statistics, or the closest possible statistic, for the US, so you get an interesting comparative picture of the two countries. It's an easy read and actually informative.

450--Italian, Dalmatian, Romanian, Rhaetian, Sardinian, Corsican: La Bella Lingua by Dianne Hales. This is a series of essays for which the jumping-off point is the author's lifelong quest to learn to speak Italian like an Italian, but each meanders off into Italian history and culture. This could be annoying or pretentious, but I found it charming.

287/999; 89/99

Edited: Sep 13, 2018, 10:14pm

795--Games of chance: Positively Fifth Street by James McManus. This was a real page-turner for me--highly recommended. I didn't really grasp all the poker details, but that didn't affect my interest in the story (although I presume if you do understand it, some of the play-by-play will be more dramatic).

This one has been on my shelf for a while, but I also have some new 700s and am hoping to make some decent progress on 700s and 000s.

288/999; 89/99

Oct 23, 2018, 11:15am

730--Plastic Arts; sculpture: Clues to American Sculpture. This small book doesn't look like much, but I found it surprisingly interesting. The author seemed to write the descriptions of different periods with a real love for sculpture, and that made this pleasant rather than boring to read.

289/999; 89/99

Jan 6, 2019, 11:50am

911--Historical geography: Hard Road West by Keith Heyer Mehldahl. Highly recommended if you like geology.

290/999; 89/99

Feb 17, 2019, 9:28am

798--Equestrian sports and animal racing: Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman by Polly Evans. This is about dog mushing in the Yukon. It was OK, but I've liked her other books better.

291/999; 89/99

Edited: Mar 31, 2019, 6:06pm

This is quite a mish-mash:

192--Philosophy of the British Isles: Berkeley by David Berman. Philosophy is one of my least favorite categories, so as long as I don't totally hate the book, it's a success. I didn't hate this one. It's written in a fairly clear style, is short, seemed to sum up the major points of George Berkeley's philosophy, and provide some points for further thought.

199--Philosophy of other geographic areas: Spinoza in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern. This was more about how Spinoza fit into the historical context than anything else, which was fine with me. The intro in particular is written in a humorous style (something I don't remember from the previous one I read by this author). I had heard of Spinoza but didn't know much about him, and now I know enough to kind of understand references to him, which is all I needed from this. It also took less than 90 minutes to read.

254--Parish administration: A Guide for the Church Usher by Thomas Clark. Blessedly short. Honestly, this cracked me up because the author takes the subject so seriously, and in such a sincere way. I used to usher occasionally when I was a teenager, and believe me, you don't need a book on how to hand out bulletins and pass the collection plate. I wouldn't say I recommend this exactly, but I can't imagine anything in this category is exciting.

385--Railroad transportation: Train by Tom Zoellner. Zoellner rides the complete routes of several trains throughout the world, from England to Siberia. This is a mix of train history and travelogue, and I enjoyed it.

702--Miscellany of fine and decorative arts: Miss Piggy's Treasury of Art Masterpieces from the Kermitage Collection by Henry Beard. This is truly miscellany. It's written from Miss Piggy's perspective, and she takes you through her art collection, in which Miss Piggy--or a Miss Piggy-like character--is inserted into famous works of art. Occasionally Kermit makes an appearance. This looks like a kids' book, but you won't get the jokes unless you have spent at least a little time in museums and have some very basic art knowledge. Very silly and funny.

704--Special topics in fine and decorative arts: The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art by the Guerrilla Girls. Fairly short and entertaining book about women artists from the Greeks to modern times. I learned a lot; the whole premise of this is that women artists are left out of the canon, museums, etc. and so are not well-known.

297/999; 89/99

Edited: Jun 16, 2019, 8:04pm

630--Agriculture & related technologies: Farm City by Novella Carpenter. This was OK, but maybe not for anyone who is a vegetarian or squeamish. Carpenter raises chickens, ducks, and pigs in addition to growing plants in her urban farm.
638--Insect Culture: Letters from the Hive by Stephen Buchmann. Enjoyable, especially the first half; a kind of bee miscellany, with sections on biology, ecology, history, trade, and food. The sections at the end seemed more cobbled together than the sections in the first half, which were tied together better.

299/999; 89/99

Jun 30, 2019, 12:05am

738--Ceramic arts: Clarice Cliff: The Bizarre Affair by Leonard Griffin. I bought this because I kept hearing about Clarice Cliff on Antiques Roadshow, and I thought "The Bizarre Affair" referred to a literal bizarre affair. I quickly learned that "Bizarre" was the name for most of Cliff's pottery designs; not quite the scandalous tale I had in mind. Most of this book is "Clarice Cliff came up with this design for this shape of pottery, and then she did another design for another shape," but I did learn something about the pottery business.

761--Relief processes (block printing): Lotta Prints by Lotta Jansdotter. I like Lotta Jansdotter's prints so was interested to check this out. It has simple instructions for different kinds of block printing, and I expect I'll try some of them. The screen printing instructions were not clear, and I had the impression that this is too complicated a technique to be explained in the style of this book.

301/999; 89/99

Jul 3, 2019, 8:42pm

441--Writing systems, phonology, phonetics of standard French: A French Alphabet Book of 1814 by Charles Plante. This is a pretty little reproduction of a hand-drawn word book for a French child, done in 1814. There is a brief introduction explaining some of the wordplay that modern readers wouldn't understand, and the rest is just the illustrations with the words (so a short read for sure). If you don't read French, this would be meaningless, but if you know at least a little French, it's fun.

302/999; 89/99

Jul 5, 2019, 8:15pm

803--Dictionaries, encyclopedias, concordances: Thrice Told Tales: Three Mice Full of Writing Advice by Catherine Lewis. This was a big zero for me. I guess it's in this category because it's kind of set up like a dictionary of terms related in some way to writing. The concept is that each term is demonstrated by some version, take, or story/illustration from the nursery rhyme The Three Blind Mice. It seems like it is intended to be lighthearted and funny, but the author anthropomorphizes the mice and then, in some examples, provides a backstory about why they are blind--they were used for testing cosmetics in a lab--and goes into some gruesome detail about their tails being chopped off. This thread of animal cruelty is hard to stomach in what is supposed to be a funny book. But, perhaps more importantly, the book does not fulfill its purpose. I'm not sure what a person trying to learn about writing could get from this. The terms are mostly basic; the definitions are superficial; and there is no organization whatsoever (for example, "legend" is by itself, but "fable," "proverb," and "myth" are next to each other).

303/999; 89/99

Aug 31, 2019, 12:34pm

884--Classical Greek lyric poetry: Sappho: A New Translation, Mary Bernard, trans. The irony here is that Barnard explains that Sappho wasn't really a lyric poet because her poems probably weren't sung to lyre music. But very enjoyable all the same.

304/999; 89/99

Sep 24, 2019, 9:08am

Finally another 400, and a pretty good one at that:

493--Non-Semitic Afro-Asiatic Languages: Understanding Hieroglyphs: A Complete Introductory Guide by Hilary Wilson

305/999; 89/99

Nov 11, 2019, 8:12am

011--Bibliographies & catalogs: Check These Out by Gina Sheridan

306/999; 89/99

Edited: Jan 1, 2020, 2:47pm

193--Philosophy of Germany and Austria: Nietzsche in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern. I read On the Genealogy of Morality in college, but it counts for 170-Ethics, so I'm happy that Strathern wrote one of these 90 Minutes books for Nietzsche--I couldn't stomach any more of the real thing. I have enjoyed all of these little books and definitely recommend them for a high-level look at different philosophers.

307/999; 89/99

Mar 26, 2020, 11:39pm

I joined this group some time ago, but apparently never started my list or posted anything. I am so impressed with how far you have come in this challenge and the dedication over ten years. It seems a good number of the participants are currently dormant, which has also given me pause about starting, but your example is an inspiration. Thank you.

Apr 16, 2020, 12:10pm

Thanks, ritacate! I will keep slowly plugging away at it.

663--Beverage Technology--A Very Good Year by Mark Weiss. Fun, quick read about the full life cycle of wine production in California.

467--Historical & geographic variations, modern nongeographic versons of Spanish: Pardon My Spanglish by Bill Santiago. Not my cup of tea, in large part because I don't speak Spanish, so the humor in the Spanish phrases included in the text (which is primarily in English) was lost on me. But I got a new category!

309/999; 90/99

Apr 18, 2020, 7:20pm

I am also impressed carlym!

>256 ritacate: I think this is one of those slow burn challenges. more endurance over long term than anything else. Or at least for me. My challenge is lifelong, and I don't think I will complete everything ever. I don't know how much I am really interested in the 200s, for instance. But maybe later in life I will be, who knows.

For me this is one of those things that's always there in the background when I want or need it. Right now with COVID I have been able to get back into reading more. So maybe I will make more progress soon. I probably haven't checked into LT for a year or two at least, maybe more. But it's nice to come back and see familiar handles and threads and see that some people, like carlym, are making progress on their goals.

Edited: May 2, 2020, 9:56pm

It's definitely a slow burn! I have collected quite a few books for the remaining categories and so try to mix them in with my other reading. I'm only about a third of the way through, so it will take a long time for me to finish. But even if I never finish, this has prompted me to read outside my normal subject areas and authors.

478--Classical Latin Usage: Living with a Dead Language by Ann Patty. Patty decides to learn Latin in her retirement years, and her stories of learning Latin grammar and usage are mixed in with passages about her life as a book editor. There is quite a bit about Latin grammar and vocabulary, but you don't need to have taken Latin to appreciate this (I haven't).

310/999; 91/99 (so close to finishing the categories!!)

Edited: May 3, 2020, 5:15pm

253--Pastoral office and work: There's a Woman in the Pulpit, Rev. Martha Spong, ed. This is a collection of 2-3 page essays by women pastors from different Christian denominations, focusing primarily on their experiences specifically as women but also more generally as pastors. Like most anthologies, I liked some better than others. I think this is a good choice for this category if you're a Christian; it's an easy read, and if you don't like one of the perspectives, you're not stuck with a whole book by that person.

760--Printmaking and prints: Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls. Finished this one a while ago but forgot to add it. This is my second Guerrilla Girls book, and I enjoyed both of them. This one is more about how the Guerrilla Girls worked to force art galleries and museums to show more works by women artists.

312/999; 91/99

Edited: May 11, 2020, 11:27am

649--Child rearing; home care of people with disabilities and illnesses: Child, Please by Ylonda Gault Caviness. Highly entertaining, quick read about a woman dealing with having kids, managing her career, etc.

313/999; 91/99

I'm looking at the distribution of progress across the top-level categories.
000s: 24
100s: 22
200s: 30
300s: 46
400s: 16 (!)
500s: 34
600s: 35
700s: 30
800s: 38
900s: 43

I need to read some more 400s for sure!!

May 24, 2020, 12:01pm

417--Dialectology and historical linguistics: Bastard Tongues by Derek Bickerton. I have mixed feelings about this. Bickerton is an excellent writer, and there is a ton of good info in here about creole languages, emphasizing that they are not "simple" or in any way less-than non-creole languages. But about halfway through, Bickerton starts to come across as a real jerk, and that made it harder to finish. Apparently some of his theories have since been challenged, which is totally normal for this kind of research and not a reason to refrain from reading this, but just FYI.

314/999; 92/99 (so close on hitting the 99!!)

May 31, 2020, 10:43am

472--Etymology of Classical Latin: Cave Canem by Lorna Robinson. Really enjoyed this short book. Each word/phrase is accompanied by a paragraph or two about Roman history related to that phrase.

315/999; 92/99

Jun 3, 2020, 10:26am

427--Historical & geographical variations, modern nongeographic variations of English: Herefordshire Speech by Winifred Leeds. Blessedly short. There is some text and a few interesting tidbits, but this is mostly a poorly organized collection of words, phrases, and varying pronunciations.

316/999; 92/99

Jun 21, 2020, 1:31pm

418--Standard usage: I'm Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears by Jag Bhalla

317/999; 92/99

Jun 29, 2020, 12:53pm

021--Relationships of libraries, archives, and information centers: The Library Book Cart Precision Drill Team by Linda McCracken. I was so curious about what this would be. It is in fact about how to create a library cart "drill team" for parades as a way to advertise your library. It's such a niche subject that I'm surprised it was published, and while it's not useful for my life, I nonetheless enjoyed it. It's well-written and joyful.

318/999; 92/99

Jul 6, 2020, 9:18am

465--Grammar of Standard Spanish: Madre: Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun. I didn't love this but didn't hate it, either. Some parts were just slow. I liked the parts where Bakewell talked about her travels in Mexico and discussions with Spanish-speakers about the idiomatic use of "madre," but I was less interested in the other tangents. But not a bad choice for this difficult category.

319/999; 92/99

Jul 13, 2020, 11:41am

131--Parapsychological and occult methods for achieving well-being,happiness, success: Clearing Clutter by Alexandra Chauran. I enjoyed this as much as I was going to enjoy anything in this category. Chauran tries to cover too much in too few pages, and without a clear thesis--she wants to address all your problems in a kind of pan-spiritual way. There are certainly good reminders about thinking about why you're doing certain things and remembering to take time to meditate/pray/think quietly, especially in a stressful time, but nothing really new or groundbreaking.

I'm having a hard time finding anything I'm remotely interested in reading for the rest of the 130s. I have completed 133 in addition to 131, but that's it. I was hoping to find books that took a sociological or historical look at the topics like dream interpretation, phrenology, etc., but all I find are books telling you how to interpret your dreams and read head bumps. Not super appealing.

320/999; 92/99

Jul 31, 2020, 9:38am

604 Technical drawing, hazardous materials technology; groups of people: Incredible Women Inventors by Sandra Braun. This book is intended for kids, but what can I say, I learned a lot from it. I had a vague bit of knowledge that Hedy Lamarr had done something scientific, but I didn't know what. I knew Madam C.J. Walker was a successful entrepreneur, but I didn't know she was the first female millionaire (self-made) in the U.S. These short bios are interesting and informative. I certainly didn't know that a woman invented Liquid Paper, and that the inventor, Betty Nesmith Graham, was the mother of one of the Monkees. Recommended!

321/999; 92/99

Aug 2, 2020, 3:01pm

984--Argentina: On a Hoof and a Prayer by Polly Evans. I really enjoyed this, as I have generally enjoyed Evans's other books. In this one, she spends months traveling Argentina with a goal of learning to ride horses. It's really more of a travelogue than a history, but I guess it counts for this category because she does talk about bits of Argentinian history related to the places she visits. I'm not going to complain. Highly recommended.

322/999; 92/99

Aug 18, 2020, 10:07am

800--Literature and rhetoric: The Illustrated Timeline of Western Literature by Carol Strickland. At first I thought, great, this is a good refresher and a way to make sure I'm fixing authors in the right place in history, and some of the blurbs for different authors had some funny trivia. But then it just got really boring to read through these. Some of these top-level sections that only contain reference books are hard! At least this book is fairly short. I think it would be a good reference for a classroom.

323/999; 92/99

Jan 3, 2021, 11:20am

669--Metallurgy: The Arsenic Century by James C. Whorton. Great book. Detailed review posted on the work page.

324/999; 92/99