I have been clearing out books that don’t circulate (weeding) in order to make more room for mysteries, large print books and dvds. As I was going through the books with call numbers in the 300s, I was surprised at how many good books there were that hadn’t gone out recently. The sheer number of books in the 300s — it took up the whole of the eastern wall in the nonfiction area — means that it is hard to find wheat among the chaff. So for a display in October, I will feature some of these hidden gems.
The Dewey Decimal 300 Classification is called Social Sciences. That means anything that involves people interacting with each other.
300-307: This is the section that covers anthropology, cultures, and communities. Some good books in this section include Larry King’s How to Talk to Anyone, Aviva Chmsky’s They Take Our Jobs and 20 Other Myths about Immigration, and Around the World in 80 Dates by Jennifer Cox.
320-328: Political Science includes government, politics, civil rights, and migration. You might like to read The Candidate: What it takes to Win by Samuel Popkin or Deception : the Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today by Edward Lucas.
330-339 is Economics of all kinds. Certainly this topic affects us in many ways. Some of the gems include: Private Empire-ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll; Coal River by Michael Shnayerson about mining; The American Way of Eating : Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table by Tracy McMillan,
340-348 is Law. This is where you would find books about legal forms, court cases, the Constitution, economic law and labor law. There are a lot of books about individual amendments. One of the newer books is Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom by Leila Schneps. There is also But they Didn’t Read Me My Rights by Michael Cicchini.
350-359 is primarily Military Science. You might like the book The Generals by Thomas Ricks.
360-369 contains books about Social Problems and Social Services. Books about addiction, crime, prisons, law enforcement, general clubs and associations can be found there. You can read Answering 911 in which Caroline Burau explains about the kinds of calls 911 operators receive. Last Call by Daniel Okrent tells the story of Prohibition. In Ghost in the Wires Kevin Mitnick tells about his experiences hacking and how he became a security consultant.
370-379 is Education. While there are plenty of books for teachers and parents, there are also some really good books about the integration of schools (Turn Away Thy Son by Elizabeth Jacoway ), the experiences of teachers (Drama High by Michael Sokolove about the power of theater in saving a school.)
380-389 is most Transportation. This is where there are books about the development of planes, trains and cars, the history of canals and lighthouses, and communication systems. Check out Global Girlfriends by Stacey Edgar and Wedding of the Waters: the Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation by Peter Bernstein.
390-399 is a hodge-podge category: Customs, Etiquette & Folklore. This is where the books on fashion, funerals, domestic life and folk tales of different cultures can be found. This includes the books America Eats: On the Road with the WPA by Pat Willard, The Sari by Mukulika Banerjee and New Rules @ Work by Peggy Post.
Even if you normally read fiction, you might be surprised by how easy it is to read good nonfiction. A good writer can make anything interesting!