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The Dewey Decimal System (The Dewey Decimal System #1)

3.17 of 5 stars 3.17  ·  rating details  ·  274 ratings  ·  71 reviews
After a flu pandemic, a large-scale terrorist attack, and the total collapse of Wall Street, New York City is reduced to a shadow of its former self. As the city struggles to dig itself out of the wreckage, a nameless, obsessive-compulsive veteran with a spotty memory, a love for literature, and a strong if complex moral code (that doesn't preclude acts of extreme violence ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by Akashic Books (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 919)
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Jason Pettus
[Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography ( I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.]

I know, I know, you haven't been seeing very many reviews this year from our buddies at Akashic Books, which is because they simply haven't been sending very many books this year; and that's a shame, because it seems like every time I pick a new one up by them, at the very least it's still okay but much mo
When checking out The Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larsen over on Amazon I found out it is part of the Akashic Urban Surreal Series. Unfortunately, beyond that Amazon listing I can’t seem to find anything about this series beyond that it sort of exists. I mean, I guess the series title sort of explains it all but a little more information on it might be nice. Indeed, before even seeing that such a series existed I don’t think I would have classified this novel as surreal. Maybe it’s the fact t ...more
*** 1/2

There seem to be a lot of dystopian novels set in New York post-9/11 out there, but I really enjoyed this one. In addition to being set post-9/11 (which is never referred to directly, sort of like Jess Walters' The Zero--the only hint of it is the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan), it's also set post-2/14, though we never learn what *exactly* happened on 2/14 beyond a whole lot of destruction.

Dewey is a dark and mentally-unstable but wholly sympathetic and likable character. (I told auth
there is a nice twist in this, and the scenes squatting in nypl are nice, and the character is going to re-do the shelving/dewey system after the library and nyc have been messed up and practically abandoned after another attack. they call it 2/14 in this story. but despite the lovable death machine that is dewey decimal, the actual bad guys seemed thin at best. the hand of john the baptist WAS a nice touch though. i've changed my mind on this and increased stars after reading his followup The N ...more
Given the absolutely brilliant setting, there was really no way this novel could ever live up to my hopes. It is set in New York after civilisation has collapsed and most people have fled. The narrator is a mixed race amnesiac former soldier, who lives in a public library, wears suits all the time, and calls himself Dewey Decimal. Clearly this conceit is inspired, but the plot never quite lived up to it. I enjoyed the start, in which Dewey ineptly tried to follow instructions from the DA and got ...more
The Sunday Book Review
Being my first dystopian book, I was a bit hesitant as to what is what it was all about. I had just learned the meaning of the word several weeks earlier, but I was curious. Let me just say, if this is what dystopia is about, I am hooked.

Nathan has written this book in a way that made it really fun for me to read. It was as if Dewey and I were in a room and he was telling me what was happening as it was happening. Sentences were cut off, thoughts were "at the moment" thoughts and the action was
Jun 23, 2012 Ms.pegasus rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone seeking an entertaining summer read
Nathan Larson has nearly drained the psychoses well dry in creating his character, Dewey Decimal. We are looking at OCD, PTSD, ADD(maybe), claustrophobia, addictions (smoking, those little pills), anxiety disorder, and paranoia here (although, in fairness, to quote Joseph Heller, “Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you...). Larson's purpose is not to create the skewed mental perspective of a psychotic. Instead, he seizes on this mix with a writer's gusto, embedding inco ...more
ABC Group
Nathan Larson's debut novel was a bit of surprise to me. Akashic has the tendency to produce a lot of books that I like and a handful I'm certainly not into. Larson falls into the former category.

Set in a post 9/11 and post 2/14 world, Dewey Decimal is a maniacal character who suffers from OCD, happens to be a hit man and is certainly one of the oddest characters I've come across in a while.

In some ways, I get the hard boiled crime fiction tags thrown at this book, but this honestly read more l
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Part of me wants to give this book only one star to punish myself for spending money on a book I ended up hating.

I really wanted to like it. The formula should have worked - library references, post-apocalyptic new york, hard boiled detective.

The character, who suffers from OCD among other things, needs to remind us constantly of his ailments. It is too bad someone so obsessive about touching his key can't use pronouns in his sentences. The entire book feels choppy and disconnected, largely bec
Dec 25, 2011 Halsted rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Halsted by: FunkyPlaid
Shelves: fiction
It may be weird to say that I am a fan of dystopian near-future settings. I have a morbid fascination with bleak, sparse landscapes and crumbling infrastructure; I remain hopeful that I will never have to live in such a world, but constantly wonder what type of person I would be if I survived in one.

In "The Dewey Decimal System", Larson creates an instantly engaging survivor as a protagonist, and a compelling city in ruins around him. Larson's staccato, fragmented style makes this a quick and br
Nik Korpon
Very odd, and very good. Review coming soon.

Full review here.
Jun 04, 2012 Al added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Al by: @bibliobede

After a flu pandemic, a large-scale terrorist attack, and the total collapse of Wall Street, New York City is reduced to a shadow of its former self. As the city struggles to dig itself out of the wreckage, a nameless, obsessive-compulsive veteran with a spotty memory, a love for literature, and a strong if complex moral code (that doesn't preclude acts of extreme violence) has taken up residence at the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd St
Qui la recensione completa:

"Il bibliotecario di New York" è un romanzo di genere fantascientifico edito per la nuova collana Chrono della Fanucci, una collana di libri che mi sembrano interessanti soprattutto per chi, come me, è alle prime armi con questo genere......
....Il romanzo mi ha incuriosito fin dalle prime pagine perché presenta uno scenario intrigante: la biblioteca di New York, un assassino prezzolato senza memoria, il mondo radicalmente cambia
Nov 01, 2012 Mainon rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of pulp or dystopian fiction
Our setting: post-apocalyptic New York. "2/14" has supplanted "9/11," although we don't know exactly what happened or why, just that most of the bridges are destroyed and the City is now a sparsely populated ruin of its former self.

Our protagonist: Dewey Decimal. So named because he plans to spend the rest of his days re-organizing the books in the New York Public Library. He gets his supplies from the DA, a recoil-inducing opportunist who sends Decimal out to get rid of inconvenient characters
This was an unusual choice for me. Of course I was drawn in by the title and library connection, but this book wasn't what I expected. It's set in post-apocalyptic New York, and the protagonist (called Dewey Decimal) is a deeply troubled man - he has lots of compulsions, memory lapses, and is extremely germophobic - with a System for survival. He's also a free-lance hit man. The book is violent and witty, and Dewey is surprisingly sympathetic.
Un libro meh.

Premessa: se scrivi fiction mi devi dare delle spiegazioni credibili all'incredibile che descrivi, cazzo.
Approfondimento: posso anche credere che un killer professionista ruoti di 180 per freddare con matematica precisione tre energumeni (un po' me l'aspetto anche visto il genere), ma se gli sparano a una rotula(!) e in tempo zero me lo ritrovo bello, pimpante e cazzuto in giro a far danni, mi sento un po' preso in giro. Anche perché non mi hai messo un "N.B. La tecnologia nella mi
Dystopian adult fiction. The main character has little memory of his past and currently lives in the main branch of the NYPL. Some sort of terrorist event has taken place in NY on 2/14 of an unknown year. It is definately no longer the NY we know -- all the bridges are destroyed, only city workers with ID allowed on the subway, lots of gangster-type characters. Main character is known as Dewey Decimal because he lives in the library and is trying to reorganize it. This is only mentioned in the s ...more
I wanted badly to love this book, but I couldn't get through it. I thought the dialogue was really, really forced, and when "the plot thickened," I just couldn't go with it. Worse, though: the book is first person-narrated by our hero, and sometimes - too much of the time - it's terribly cheesy, (again) forced, and just plain poorly written. The plot sounds really awesome on the back of the book, but either I didn't read far enough or the publisher is playing up something that's mentioned but di ...more
As a bit of a library geek and a title like this I had to read the book. Unfortunately, it isn't my type of book. It's a action crime novel where the main character goes around killing people, hired as a hit man. Honestly think this book would appeal more to guys. If there's Chick Lit then there must be Guy Lit and this is it.

The future dystopian aspect to the book, could have been appealing. But I really didn't like the main character, talk about flaws! Purposeful, but sometimes I just had a ha
Liza H
This was a fun, quick read. A bit different in the near-future apocalypse genre, and a good example of how the author doesn't have to give the reader every single detail about the universe in which the story takes place for it to be understandable/believable/enjoyable. The fact that the main character's name is "Dewey Decimal" is what drew me to it in the first place (having recently been a librarian and all that) and was slightly disappointed that his supposed hobby of organizing books and livi ...more
This is really a 3.5 star review - GOODREADS, GIVE US THE HALF-STAR ABILITY! - but you do what you can.
Taking the traditional guy-in-over-his-head noir structure, Larson sticks it in a dystopic near-future New York City (that's been decimated by flu and violence) and gives us a somewhat anonymous hero, a gentleman who's taken the name of Dewey Decimal. The book is most worth it for Dewey - he's brimming with quirks but all of them feel interesting and not like "oh, here's another quirk!" - and
Well, the premise is more promising than the delivery... once again a set up for a series that I'm not going to pursue.

Noirish, think Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn but with OCD instead of Tourette's (and not crafted as compellingly). It's a post-apocalyptic tale that is based out of the New York Public Library - naturally that caught my eye. But soon we leave the set-up behind and concentrate on some Slavic gangsters and chases and mediocre detective work. At the most, just okay.
I kept reading this thinking somehow it would have some sort of meaning. Never found it.
Andrew Neal
Dewey Decimal is an obsessive compulsive, possibly insane veteran of mixed ethnicity who lives in a library in a New York that has been smashed to pieces by terrorists. He runs errands of the murderous variety in exchange for his medication.

This book is a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the narrative style, and the main character's way of looking at the world. The choppy sentence structures and colorful language really communicate his state of mind as well as giving hints to where he was from befo
Lisa Murray
what is it with me and dystopian end of the world novels lately? this one had an assasin protagonist, a slightly OCD ex-military guy with a wiped memory and a tendency to find solace in the library. Think of the television show Chuck then make it A LOT darker and delete all quirky, cute dialogue as well as most of the attractive people. ok, so maybe totally different. But they both had flawed main characters with endearing and painful flaws.
Charm White
I tried. I really, really tried, but I just find it too difficult to read apocalyptic fantasy. I wanted to love this book, so much so that I requested the second one from the inter library borrowing system before I'd even started reading the first one! but it beat me down and I turned to playing freecell on my phone instead of reading during my commute. That's how I know it just isn't the book for me.
Okay, in truth, this is not a book I would pick up on my own since dystopias aren't my thing. On the other hand, I met the author Nathan Larson at Odyssey Books and have enjoyed some exchanges with him on Facebook so I am inclined in favor of it. So *I* liked it enough to give it five stars. Your mileage may vary :-)
Possibly not enough library in this book, given its title, but it's an interesting read about what life could be life in a post-Apocalyptic New York. The protagonist is a hit man with a 'system' of morals and rules which help him to navigate the world he's living in. Violent and sweary, this won't be to everyone's taste, but the main character's dilemmas were enough to keep me reading.
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Nathan Larson is best known as an award-winning film music composer, having created the scores for over thirty movies, such as Boys Don't Cry, Dirty Pretty Things, and Margin Call. He was deeply involved in the hardcore punk scene in Washington D.C., and in the 1990s, he was the lead guitarist for the influential prog-punk outfit Shudder to Think. THE DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM is his first novel, the f ...more
More about Nathan Larson...

Other Books in the Series

The Dewey Decimal System (3 books)
  • The Nervous System
  • The Immune System: A Dewey Decimal novel
The Nervous System The Immune System: A Dewey Decimal novel L'ombra del killer Boogie Man: Der zweite Dewey-Decimal-Roman (Penser Pulp) Dewey Decimal : en neurotisk hitman i ett sargat New York

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