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It´s Dewey Day!

December 10, 2009 by Reader's Connection

Melvil Dewey, creator of the Dewey Decimal System that our library uses to organize its nonfiction books, was born on December 10th, 1851. In his memory, here´s a bouquet of ten 2009 titles, each from a different Dewey decade.

Happy New Year. Be organized.

070.9 BUR

All the News Unfit to Print: How Things Were and How They Were Reported by Eric Burns

All the News Unfit to Print: How Things Were and How They Were Reported
This historical review of American journalism compares actual events such as the Lindbergh kidnapping and the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine to the distorted and biased version presented by the media at the time. Burns, a noted journalist and news analyst, presents numerous examples of how the media “got it wrong,” and then describes the motivations (such as “getting the scoop” or committing an outright hoax) that cause these slip-ups. History buffs and general audiences will appreciate stories that include such historical figures as Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Clemens and William Randolph Hearst.–BookNews




128 ROW

The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness by Mark Rowlands

The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and HappinessIn this remarkable book, Rowlands describes his life with Brenin, a wolf he purchased as a cub more than a decade ago, from Brenin’s initial training and growth to maturity and death. Using this experience to make philosophical claims, Rowland argues that human beings have an apelike intelligence based on viewing the world, including other people, as a means to attain one’s goals, which, when carried into practice, involves duplicity and cunning. Wolves don’t see the world in this way, and Rowlands believes we can learn valuable lessons from their alternative style of intelligence. Rowlands also contends that accounts of evil often overstress motive. We too often ignore “epistemic evil,” the failure to think about the consequences of what we do. Cruel experiments on animals, for example, stem from a refusal to think about the pain the animals undergo, not sadistic impulses toward them. Rowlands writes with a beautiful simplicity; a moving and insightful book. — Library Journal

294.34442 LIT

The 12-Step Buddhist: Enhance Recovery from Any Addiction by Darren Littlejohn

The 12-Step Buddhist: Enhance Recovery from Any AddictionAccording to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost 10 percent of people aged 12 or older needed treatment for drug or alcohol problems in 2006. That astonishing number suggests a need for books such as this, written by recovering drug and alcohol addict Littlejohn, who is also a student of Buddhism. The author, who has also studied psychology and research methods, has most definitely been there. Using the Buddhist idea of attachment as a key insight into addiction, Littlejohn correlates the 12 steps of recovery programs with Buddhist ideas and practices, drawing from both Zen and Tibetan traditions. This approach can especially benefit those who may have trouble with more conventional understandings of a Judeo-Christian God as a Higher Power, since 12-step programs depend on acceptance of such a power . . . the author has guts and clarity; this book is a welcome beacon on the troubling ocean of addiction. — Publishers Weekly

305.697 BAW

Surrender : Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom by Bruce Bawer

Surrender : Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing FreedomNarrowing his scope from While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within but retaining its theme of radical Islamic assault on Western civil liberties, Bawer files a hefty brief of case reports on Muslim campaigns against free speech, primarily in western Europe but also in Canada and the U.S. Official infatuation with political correctness (PC), the determination that no one ever be offended, and multiculturalism, the dogma that all cultural perspectives are equally and universally valid, undergird what Bawer believes amounts to a surrender of Western liberal traditions. What may seal the fate of free speech, he argues, are the apparent inabilities of Western ruling elites to be offended by Muslims rioting, threatening by fatwa, and murdering non-Muslims (Bawer fully presents instances of all three, many of them known, though insufficiently, by Americans) and to assert the priority of Western liberal values in the West. Since he continues to write about free-speech clashes, Norwegian resident Bawer says, he increasingly risks charges of violating Muslims’ legal right not to be criticized in more and more European countries. Moreover, because he is gay, and because radical Islam prescribes death for homosexuality, as sharia law becomes the law in Muslim-majority areas–a development well underway–his life is in burgeoning jeopardy, too. Sublimely literate and rational, Bawer is no crank, however angry he gets. This, like its immediate predecessor, is an immensely important and urgent book.–Booklist

450 HAL

La Bella Lingua : My Love Affair with Italian, The World’s Most Enchanting Language by Dianne R. Hales

La Bella Lingua : My Love Affair with Italian, The World's Most Enchanting LanguageIn this charming love letter to the language and culture of Italy, journalist Hales recounts her inebriation with Italian’s sounds and her lovesickness over its phrases. Enamored of this lovely and lovable language, Hales immerses herself in Italian culture on numerous trips to Italy in her attempt to “live Italian.” She comes to think of Italian as “a lovable rascal, a clever, twinkle-eyed scamp that you can’t resist even when it plays you for a fool.” Hales regales us with the mysteries of the language, such as when a color becomes more than hue. She tells us that yellow, for example, refers to a mystery “because thrillers traditionally had yellow covers.” In her rapture over the language, she also swoons over Italian literature (from Dante to Manzoni), opera (Verdi and Puccini) and cinema (Marcello Mastroianni and Fellini) as she rehearses the many ways in which the language has seductively slipped into Western culture and consciousness.–Publishers Weekly

539.7376 HAL

Collider : The Search for the World’s Smallest Particles by Paul Halpern

Collider : The Search for the World's Smallest ParticlesHalpern, professor of physics and mathematics, makes particle physics accessible in this look at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) “and the extraordinary discoveries likely to be made there.” Beginning with the philosophers and scientists who shaped our understanding of the universe over centuries, Halpern explains complex topics and theories concisely, frequently drawing on deft analogies: the “fleeting nature [of neutrinos] is akin to a featherweight, constantly traveling politician… neutrinos never hang around long enough to make enough of an impact to serve as uniters.” After tracing a path from Boyle and Newton through Mendeleev, Maxwell, Rutherford and Einstein, Halpern discusses modern discoveries and details the equipment utilized, from cloud chambers to various kinds of particle accelerators . . . Halpern makes the search for mysterious particles pertinent and exciting by explaining clearly what we don’t know about the universe, and offering a hopeful outlook for future research. — Publishers Weekly

641.694 WAL

Sex, Death & Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover’s World Tour by Robb Walsh

Sex, Death & Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover's World Tour
Consider the oyster. At least that’s what award-winning culinary journalist Walsh did when he began a five-year odyssey tasting and comparing oysters in America and Europe. From the science of harvesting and cultivating oysters to the best ways to serve and eat them, Walsh distills everything he learned into this refreshingly tart, wonderfully entertaining book. Popular writer Mark Kurlansky also explored the culinary world of oysters in his fascinating The Big Oyster, but Kurlansky focused exclusively on New York City, while Walsh offers a bit less history but more of a worldview of this captivating comestible. — Library Journal





780.906073 BRA

Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop by Adam Bradley

Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip HopWith hip-hop’s tremendous growth over the last decade, the amount of literature covering the genre has increased considerably. Yet, few books have been devoted exclusively to the poetic elements of hip-hop . . . Bradley is emerging as a pioneering scholar in the study of hip-hop. Here, he shows that rap can be analyzed as literary verse while recognizing its essential identity as music. Dissecting hip-hop’s dual rhythmic voice–rhymes over beats–Bradley uncovers rap’s poetic tradition as well as its progressive contributions to the medium of poetry. He explains terms such as assonance and consonance through the lyrics of Keats and Eminem. Rap is a relatively new genre of music, but lyrical analysis reveals the use of intricate structures steeped in poetic tradition. This refreshing read challenges common assumptions that hip-hop is simple or mundane. — Library Journal

823 Rowling GRA

Harry Potter’s Bookshelf: The Great Books behind the Hogwarts Adventures by John Granger

Harry Potter's Bookshelf: The Great Books behind the Hogwarts Adventures
This literary companion to the Harry Potter series examines the influence of such writers as Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis and Jane Austen on the prose of J.K. Rowling. Granger has previously written about the growing importance of the Potter series in academic circles, and he provides both fans and literary scholars with thematic links to such works as Gulliver’s Travels and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The author also draws distinctions between the surface meanings in the books and the moral, allegorical and mythological undertones. — BookNews




973.3444 MAL

Peter’s War: A New England Slave Boy and the American Revolution by Joyce Lee Malcolm

Peter's War: A New England Slave Boy and the American RevolutionMalcolm vividly recounts the Revolutionary War experiences of slaves such as Peter Nelson, who at age 12 enlisted in the Massachusetts militia and participated in some of the war’s most famous battles. Malcolm’s deep research, including into primary sources, sheds light on slaves’ wartime involvement, chronicling the stories of men who bravely and willingly fought alongside free whites not knowing whether their efforts toward victory would result in their own eventual freedom. Malcolm describes in grim and poignant detail the vastly different wartime experiences of three slaves–Peter; his father, Jupiter; and unrelated Southern slave Titus, who joined the British army and engaged in guerrilla warfare against American slaves and their owners. Using the three slaves’ stories as a narrative fulcrum, Malcolm provides a succinct but satisfying overview of the entire war. Major historical figures such as George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and John Adams play key roles in this narrative, but the author’s focus is on the unknown and forgotten participants. She has assembled an engagingly written and incisive book, valuable to both scholars and informed general readers. — Library Journal


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