Tag Archives: Dewey Decimal Challenge

Ripped – Review

Greg Kot’s work, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music is a look inside the world of music marketing, and distribution, from the mainstream to the underground.

Beginning chronologically, Kot first gives us a mini-review of the history of the music industry, Clear Channel’s monopolization of radio stations, and the obstacles fans faced when it came to wanting to listing to music. The monotony of radio stations added to the high price of CD sales helped a new generation of technie music nerds change the way the public can access new music. Enter Napster.

Kot takes us through a mini history of the rise and fall and second wind of the online music sharing world, from Napster, to Limeware to Bit Torrent peer-to-peer sharing sites. Kot did not spend as much time talking about Itunes, the Ipod as I would have thought. Instead he devoted a large chunk of the book talking about different artists, (Bright Eyes, Arcade Fire, Lilly Allen, Danger Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie etc) and how they used the Internet to develop their careers, how the Internet chose them to be music darlings in the underground, and how artists such as Prince and Radiohead broke away from the typical music industry rules and regulations to try and go back to the basic roots of giving music to the fans without the middlemen siphoning money away from the artists.

Kot discusses copyright issues, he goes into details about rock music, hip hop’s tendency to use sampling as an artform, and how the music industry has finally learned to evolve with where the Internet is taking them.

This book is most certainly for music buffs, or anyone who downloads cds. My boyfriend is a big music-nerd, so many of the bands discussed in this book, I had already heard of and knew something of their rise to fame. Its funny how the generation the author talks about in the books is my same generation, the one that saw the Napster v. Metallica wars on the news in high school. Who went to college and learned about lime-ware, bit torrent, You Tube, MySpace, Facebook, etc.  I hoped that Kot would have written something about Pandora and all its loveliness in providing me with hours of free music of various forms, styles and genres. Published in 2009, I think Pandora would have been a good addition to the rest of the book.

I loved his sections when he was talking about the individual bands. It reminded me of the band-biographies I used to read in high school because I couldn’t afford to buy the cd’s at the local Wherehouse Music. I knew the entire history start to finish of Babes in Toyland w/o having heard a single song of theirs. Reading descriptions of music that you have listened to is a very strange feeling. Everyone feels and reacts differently to a song, they are much more open to interpretation.

You could sense his love for music, he stayed objective with his facts, by neither blasting the music industry nor condoning what downloaders do as valid. I never felt that Kot spent too much time on any one topic, his writing style was very informative, but also felt like a casual conversation instead of reading like a book of facts about music and the Internet.

This book also a part of my Dewey Decimal Challenge for the 700s Century.

Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music
by Greg Kot
Scribner, 2009
Dewey: 780.2854 Kot
ISBN 1416547274
252 pages


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A Year Without “Made In China” – Review

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A Year Without Made in China by Sara Bongiorni
Age: Adult
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
Location: Louisiana

Sara Bongiorni and her family decided to boycott products made in China for one year. They didn’t do this for any particular political or economic reason. Sara did not stand on a soapbox and rail against sweat shops and cheap manufactured goods being imported into the US economy. This boycott was simple a test to see if one average US family could live without purchasing anything from China.

The results are thoughtful, with some surprising and some expected conclusions. China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it has a strong grip on the global market. Sara’s book details the family struggles, going 1 year without the basic technological needs (a coffee maker, a blender blade) and even going to some extremes (wearing glacier sunglasses instead of basic sunglasses for everyday use). Her adventures are comical, particular the reactions of merchants, family and friends to this boycott who waver between support, and amusement as this family tries to navigate their way through the marketplace with strict shopping restrictions.

One thing that bugged me, is that it seemed as if the only store the family went to were Target. I don’t know much about Louisiana, esp pre-Hurricane Katrina, but I would imagine there would be more competition for basic goods that Target provides in a store other than the generic Wal-Mart which the Bongiorni family boycotts for the usual reasons (racist and sexist policies and Wal-Mart’s bullying tactics of its suppliers).

While reading this book, I would often pause and take inventory of my home and see how much of what I own does come from China. It sounds like a fun experiment, although I doubt I would be able to last an entire year. The family went through an entire year with only a few minor slip-ups, some blatant, some accidental, most were ambiguous (Does made in Denmark with Chinese components count as a China-product? What if there is no label?). I think I could last a month.  I applaud Bongiorni and her family’s accomplishments with their test, particularly the kids who put up with an entire year of fewer toys and reasonable, but not ideal, alternative to their wishlists. I think this is a book that most people could benefit from, but not everyone will want to reenact.

A Year Without “Made in China”
by Sara Bongiorni
John Wiley and Sons, 2007
ISBN 0470116135
235 pages


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The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough – Review

The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough is a guide for young, independent women with a tendency to over shop and not pay attention to their finances. A group of five friends gathered to form a money group, where they were brutally honest about themselves in terms of their financial standings; debts, savings, income, etc. Although the group seems to be pretty diverse, they are for the most part single, or dating with no kids, and live the Sex and the City lifestyle of shopping at expensive stores to keep up the appearance of wealth and glitz. It took me a while to get into this book, to be honest. Once I realized who the target audience was, I was better able to analyze their tips and tricks for saving money, investing in stocks and just coming to terms that women have to take financial responsibility and accountability.

The Smart Cookies' Guide to Making More Dough: How Five Young Women Got Smart, Formed a Money Group, and Took Control of Their Finances CoverThe organization of the book is hard to follow, especially if you are looking for a structured plan of action. This isn’t a book you can pick up and say “In week one, I’ll do this.” The group tends to jump around with their path. They’ll have you create a spending plan early on in the book, but towards the later half, they’ll actually mention the most relevant elements that go into a spending plan. Each chapter had its own focus, and within each chapter, each of the five woman wrote a little blurb about their experience in this situation and how they got out of it. The book is also a bit repetitive, which is a shame, because there is a lot of useful and important information that I feel got lost in the jumble. There were also a lot of topics that I wish they had expanded on instead of just glossing over.

The very last few chapters actually felt like a financial self-help book when they started discussing stocks, investments, savings plans and even real estate purchases. There are a lot of good facts sprinkled through the book about financial awareness, and the secret fees and fines from credit companies.  For my situation, the first half of the book was the most relevant. Sitting down and looking through 3 months worth of bills, bank statements and investments. There is a worksheet included  for all this information to really see where the money goes each month. Later on in the book there is another worksheet for planning the actual budget, the spending plan. This was an especially useful tool, particularly for women who can’t seem to keep their credit cards at bay. The tip I thought was the most useful was to designate a special fund called “fun money” each week. The women would set up a certain amount to take out from the bank each week, and this would be the cap for all non-necessity purchases; such as shoes, accessories, manicures, etc. I’ve been trying to do something like that for a while, but it never quite worked. Taking out the money in cash and keeping it in an envelope is a great way to really be aware of what you are saving and on what you are spending that money.

The ladies do emphasis that saving money does not mean forgoing all your favorite stores and restaurants. When you’ve learned to be in control of your spending habits and can be confident that you can actually afford that purchase, then they encourage you to buy those jeans, or whatever the case may be. In addition to the worksheets, there are also a number of inexpensive alternatives for hanging out with friends, and co-workers.

As I said above, this book is primarily geared towards women in their late 20’s, early 30s who are mostly single and are shopaholics. This book can also be used for women recently divorced and just coming into a world of financial responsibility and awareness. If you’ve never actually been in control of your finances before, this book will certainly be the encouragement needed to pull out that paperwork and get a plan in action. There is even a section in the back that gives advice on starting your own money group, but you can still continue individually. A money group acts as a support group, someone to call when you needed to be talked out of an expensive purchase or to share ideas with.

This is book 2 for my Dewey Decimal Challenge for the 300s century. The call number for this book is: 332.024 Smart


The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough
w/ Jean Barrett
Delacorte Press, 2008
ISBN 9780385342445
211 pages


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The Addict – Review

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The Addict by Michael Stein
Age: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction, memoir

The Addict, by Michael Stein gives an insiders look at the life of an internist in the big city, I believe Philadelphia, although the city wasn’t mentioned in the book. Michael Stein has previously written the Lonely Patient, a  story of treating a young woman hooked on prescription painkillers”. Well, the Addict is virtually the same thing. This book tracks his one year committment to helping keep Lucy off of vicodin, and their therapy sessions which lasted about a year.

The Addict: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year CoverTo be honest, I’m not exactly sure who this book is meant for. Michael Stein is an internist; a physician who specializes in treating and diagnosing non-surgical diseases. In this case, addiction is the disease and Stein is the expert. He is a highly intelligent man, full of information about addiction, how it develops and how its slowly taking a grip over the nation. Addiction isn’t limited to just lower class minorities, not with painkillers, he stresses. Addiction can haunt the soccer mom using vicodin to get that extra boost of energy to cart the kids around. It can haunt the upper class lawyer who just wants to get away from the reality of his job.

While the focus of his story is on one patient and her progress under his care, Lucy Fields, he does digress to talk about other patients and their addictions. I think this sets up a nice balance and highlights that addiction is handled differently on a case by case basis. Each addict has their own backstory to why, when and how they started and each addict reacts differently to the same drug.

Stein met Lucy at the hospital he works for because of the program he runs to help people quit vicodin. His method is basically to switch them from one pill, vicodin, to another, Buprenorphine. My first reaction to this was, how is that any better? Buprenorphine works as a stopper for vicodin, it sends signals up to the brain saying “you don’t want vicodin, you don’t want vicodin.”  Stein never discussed if Buprenorphine is addictive and if addicts latch onto that instead. He does actually address the point of pill-switching later on in the book, which I greatly appreciated. The switch is monitored and the pills are given out at the hospital and are tied to either weekly or monthly sessions with Stein. In this regard, he keeps them hooked to the sessions and can continue to treat the mental issues behind the addiction.

This was a really insightful book and very well written. Stein has a way of setting up the scene so that you feel like you are there. I wish we could have learned more about Lucy, or heard from her perspective. Her life story was told in choppy bits during the course of the year long sessions and she seems like a really interesting young woman. One thing that bugged me was when Stein would talk about addiction or the addict, he would switch pronouns, talk about the addict as a he in one chapter and a she in another chapter. Although its good to know that addicts come in all shapes, sizes and sexes, the pronouns would be too confusing especially since he would go into one of these side-talks right after talking about a patient in an example.

As I said above, I think the audience of this book is for future medical practioners, I think some families may benefit from hearing Lucy’s story, as well as at least learning the facts about addiction and its development over someone’s life.

This book is for my Dewey Decimal Challenge, 600s century. The assigned call number to this book is: 616.8606 Stein

The Addict
by Michael Stein
Harper Collins, 2009
ISBN 0061368134
275 pages


Find this book at your local library

Dewey Decimal Jan & Feb Review Round-up

Here is a collection of reviews for books for the Dewey Decimal Challenge out in the blogosphere. Lots of good selections. Thanks everyone for participating. I’ll keep updating with review links as I keep finding them!

@ Rebecca Reads

The Book that Changed My Life by edited by Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannesson.

Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein

@ A Striped Armchair

Rereadings, ed. by Anne Fadiman & The Library at Nightby Alberto Manguel

The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

@ Urban Honking

Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children by Michael Newton

@ Book Kitten

@ How Will It End

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Critical Thinking by Amy Wall

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

@ Ready When You Are C.B.

Aliens Among Us by Ruth Montgomery

@ Enough to Read

A Natural History of Senses By Diane Ackerman

Book By Book: Notes on Reading and Life by Michael Dirda

Lucky Man by Michale J. Fox

@ Books and Musings from Downunder

A Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs

Enough Rope by Andrew Denton

Dewey The Small Town Library Cat by Vicki Myron

@ An Adventure in Reading

The Darwin Awards by Wendy Northcutt

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell 

Dewey the Small Town Library Cat by Vicki Myron

Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby

@ Nothing of Importance (aka Reading Challenged Obsessed)

Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule

That’s Life: Finding Scrapbook Inspiration in the Everyday by Nic Howard

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

100 – Philosophy and Psychology

Please post your reviews for books in the 100’s at this link. Reviews posted here in February are eligable for the Adapative Blue Amazon Giveaway. =) Thanks so much for participating guys!

Reviews for Feb. Giveaway

Please post your reviews for the February portion of the Dewey Decimal Challnege here, either as a link, or leave a short summary/review in the comments box if you don’t have your own blog. Remember that users who include a Glue ID will be entered twice to double the chance of winning. I’ll also have a link to post in The Dewey Decimal Challenge section of  this site.

Let me know if you have any questions!

February Giveaway – Guest Post

Since AdaptiveBlue is sponsoring the February giveaway for the Dewey Decimal Challenge and will be giving extra entries to people who join Glue, here’s Laura from AdaptiveBlue with the who, what why on Glue: what it is, how it works, and why it’s catching on around the blogosphere. Stayed tuned to the end of the post to learn more about the giveaway.

Glue is a Firefox add-on that connects you to friends around the web. As you visit everyday topics, such as books, music, and movies on popular sites, Glue appears automatically to show you friends who looked at the same thing, if they liked it, and even their opinion.

Everyone has their favorite book site, but this isn’t a problem for Glue.  If both Nari and I were interested in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and she visited the book on Amazon, and I looked at it on Barnes and Nobles, we are still connected.  Glue pulls people together across these diverse websites and pages to connect them around the common thing: an interest in the same book.

You might be confused reading this, but as Wired has said, “using [Glue] is actually much simpler than describing what it does.”  Wired also said the Glue is “the single most useful social networking tool I’ve encountered” 🙂  So let me show you what I mean.

Glue appears automatically at the top of the page to show other friends who have interacted with the same book around the web.  With a single click you can let your friends know that you like the book. You can even leave a short “2Cent” comment which will appear whenever a friend looks at that book, no matter what site they are on.


Instantly I am able to see that Nari likes this book. It’s worth pointing out again that Nari appears on this Barnes and Nobles page even though she visited the book on Amazon.  It also shows other friends who looked at the book, along with other interesting people.  When I scroll over Nari’s avatar, I can see her “2Cent” comment, letting me know her thoughts on this book.  Some book bloggers like to put a link to their review on a book in 2Cents.  This is extremely useful  since their reviews can be available anytime anyone visits that book, on any site!

By clicking on your friends’ profiles you can also see what other books they enjoy.  This is all without navigating away from the page you are on.


A concern might be, “What if I’m looking at items I don’t want friends to see?” For example, if you are shopping for a gift.  All you have to do is scroll over your picture, and delete that book from your history. 
You can watch a short video on http://getglue.com/ to get a better understanding of Glue

The web is filled with noise, and Glue is able to pull relevant information exactly when and where you need it.

For questions about Glue please email us or Twitter: @adaptiveblue.

The giveaway: Everyone who posts  a  comment to a specified post with their review will be entered to win a book of their choice from Amazon. Its a great prize!

I’m still experimenting with Glue, but its a pretty cool widget. What do you guys think? What sorts of cool online networking tools do you use?

OOO’s- Generalities Reviews

Please post all your reviews for books in the OOO’s here. I’m still getting used to hosting a challenge, so please bear with me, as I try to get everything decently organized. I’ll have a link to this post in the DDC page of my blog as well.


Hello 2009. Meet the Dewey Decimal Challenge

On yours marks!

Get ready!


The Dewey Decimal Challenge (DDC) is on its way!

Melvil Dewey is quite possible on of my favorite people in history. He was quirky, unique and much ahead of his time. I found a great (and short) biography on him, which is posted below the cut, from OCLC.org.

Since I never had a chanee to actually finish the book that prompted this challenege, I think it will be my first book.

http://syndetics.com/index.php?isbn=0393020290/LC.JPG&client=sjose&type=hw7Library : an unquiet history by Matthew Battles

Dewey Number: 027.009 Battles

000 – Generalities

010 Bibliography
020 Library & information sciences
030 General encyclopedic works
040 Unassigned
050 General serials & their indexes
060 General organizations & museology
070 News media, journalism, publishing
080 General collections
090 Manuscripts & rare books

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