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The Dewey Decimal System (Dewey Decimal #1)

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  418 Ratings  ·  92 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
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
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
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
Jun 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: npl
This is one of the books that kept showing up on my library recommendations throughout 2013 ... I was hooked by the story idea (and the cover).
As I was reading, I was struck continually with the idea that this reminded me of something similar from a while ago.
With a weird and wacky narrator, with punches of violence and very dark humor, it finally hit me that I was reading a retelling of "The Ethical Assassin" -- with a post-pandemic, dystopian twist -- but set in NYC.

It's definitely not for eve
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  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
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
*** 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
Jul 08, 2015 marked it as didn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
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
Beth Cato
May 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2015
The concept of this book is absolutely fascinating: a noir detective novel set in post-apocalyptic New York City. It's gritty, bloody, and profane, with the twists and turns ones except of a dark mystery.

I had major questions from the start, though, when Dewey Decimal (supposedly this efficient hitman) makes a series of juvenile errors. And continues to make them. I didn't want a flawless protagonist, and he certainly still had plenty of other issues--the guy is severely OCD, like Detective Monk
ABC Group
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Cheyenne Allenspach
Hmmm. Didn't really like the way the story was being told. Maybe it was too dispiriting a book for me to enjoy right now, didn't live up to the blurb.
Mar 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I kept reading this thinking somehow it would have some sort of meaning. Never found it.
Nik Korpon
Very odd, and very good. Review coming soon.

Full review here.
Jennifer Seyfried
Obviously, I picked this up because of the title, not really knowing what to expect, and it somehow wasn't what I expected, but was pretty entertaining nonetheless. The main character, Dewey Decimal (AKA, name redacted), does indeed spend a lot of time in the NY Public Library, as a sort of unofficial caretaker/librarian. NYC has been fairly devastated in the terrorist attacks of 2/14, and as a sufferer of OCD, among other things, Dewey makes the NYPL his base of operations, and does actually or ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 3,5/5 stars.

Our protagonist in this dystopian post-terror-attack NYC is of mixed race and has OCD (two bonus points for that). He therefore works in a library resorting all the books according to the Dewey Decimal System (another bonus point). But when he is hired to assassinate somebody due to his forgotten soldier-past which includes possible PTSD, possible darker stuff, things spiral out of his control and his carefully arranged system quickly.

This is a dark and gritty novel,
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crazy OCD narrator, post-apocalyptic NY City, government traitors.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: chi apprezza i protagonisti bizzarri.
Recensione pubblicata su Cronache di Betelgeuse

Era molto che volevo leggere questo libro, ma purtroppo sono rimasta delusa fin dalle prime pagine. Il protagonista ripete sempre le stesse cose, dovrebbe essere un ex soldato in gamba, ma in realtà si fa sempre fregare dagli altri. Non conosciamo molto sul suo passato, solo alcuni ricordi frammentati che il nostro eroe rammenta nei momenti di riposo. Addirittura il suo nome sarà svelato solo nelle ultime pagine. Il fulcro della vicenda è però rappr
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
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  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
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 04, 2012 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
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy crap. I will be reading the rest of the series.
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 m
Jul 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian-stuff
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
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: done, kindle
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
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

Dewey Decimal (3 books)
  • The Nervous System (Dewey Decimal #2)
  • The Immune System (Dewey Decimal #3)

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