Dewey Discoveries: 910

By David Nilsen

Many of our readers have a well-developed understanding of the types of books they like and they don’t see much of a need to deviate from those. There’s nothing wrong with that, but wandering the stacks of a library or bookstore can lead to some new discoveries and introduce us to topics or authors a reader might miss otherwise. Sometimes exploring an unfamiliar non-fiction subject can open our minds to worlds of interest we never knew existed.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce a new column here on Fourth & Sycamore called Dewey Discoveries. Once a month or so we’ll take a look at a Dewey Decimal call number section here at GPL and see what we find there. I’d like to choose these call numbers randomly in the future, but in the spirit of exploring new areas, I’ve chosen what I think is an apt place to begin: 910 – geography and travel.

According to, 910 is officially geography and travel, though my browsing through this section at GPL seems to indicate it is much more of the latter than the former. A quick search of our catalog reveals 123 titles within this call number, so we have a good number of books to choose from. Most of the typical travel guides most of us are familiar with from places like Fodor’s or Lonely Planet are broken out by destination between 914 and 918, so the travel books we find under 910 are more of the travel and adventure memoir variety. We seem to have quite a few books about pirates mixed in here as well. Here are a few of the more interesting titles I found.

Our oldest book in 910:
A Night to Remember by Walter Lord (910.4 L). This classic account of the sinking of the Titanic and the rescue of her survivors has been in our collections since 1955, though our copies were rebound in 1990 and 1999. This stands as perhaps the definitive book about that fateful night and was made into Lonelya Hollywood movie in 1958.

Our newest book in 910:
You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in All of Us by Lonely Planet (910 Lonely). This one has been on our shelves for all of 3 days now. This book from perhaps the most popular publisher of travel guides in the world is full of ideas for unusual travel experiences. Some take only a few hours, some are plans for spending an entire year away from home. No one who loves to travel should miss this book.

First book by call number:
Adventurer Explorer: Daring Deeds & Unknown Realms from the L. Ron Hubbard Series (910 Adventurer). One of the more eccentric characters of the twentieth century (and rumored inspiration for Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Lancaster Dodd character in the film The Master), L. Ron Hubbard was an adventurer of life, whatever else he might have been. Collected here are stories of his travels and exploits.

Last book by call number:
Pathfinder: A Global History of Exploration by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (910.922 Fernandez-Armesto). This ambitious book sets out to trace the long and storied history of human exploration and discovery across the last five millennia. Fernandez-Armesto goes to great lengths to avoid making this a Euro-centric history, detailing the explorations of the 15th century Chinese, the Egyptian empire of 2,000 BC, and much more. This is a sprawling but expertly presented work of history.

Most entertaining title:
Off Track Planet’s Travel Guide for the Young, Sexy, and Broke (910.4 Off). This is the travel guide for the too-cool-for-school set. There is an entire chapter devoted to sex and partying, and a section that details the marijuana laws in a number of different countries (tip from OTP: never, ever light up in Thailand, as capital punishment is an available judgment). The book does feel a bit too scattered to be of much practical use for individual trips, but it does set the mood for fun travel and provide some entertaining ideas.

You said something about pirates…
SpanoThe Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard (910.45 Woodard). Boy, do we have a lot of pirate books for being so far from the ocean. This entertaining book recounts a sort of ragtag democratic government that was set up in the Caribbean Sea by “Black Sam” Bellamy and others. Slaves were freed, blacks were equal citizens with whites, and democracy ruled the seas and set the stage for the American Revolution, at least in Woodard’s telling.

Fourth & Sycamore recommends:
French Ghosts, Russian Nights, & American Outlaws: Souvenirs of a Professional Vagabond by Susan Spano (910.4). Spano, travel writer for the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, shares a lifetime of travel experiences here that are sure to please both her longtime readers and those just discovering her. While this would be a great book to take along on your own travels, it also serves as a vehicle to transport you to those places while you sit at home, dreaming of your next adventure.

This is of course just a sampling of the books to be found under the 910 call number at GPL. Next time you’re here, weave through the shelves to this section and see for yourself. You might just find inspiration for your own new adventure.

You can find all of these books in the Greenville Public Library Non-Fiction Room, except for French Ghosts, Russian Nights, and American Outlaws and You Only Live Once, which are both currently in our New Books Room. If you need help finding them, just ask. We’re here to help. As always you can have a hold placed on a book if it is already checked out and we will call you when it becomes available. Be sure to let your librarian know you heard about these books here on Fourth & Sycamore, and please let us know in the comments what you think of them!

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