Showing posts from May, 2017

Is AI Really Everywhere? Scorsese!

I am sure many of you have had the experience of texting someone only to get back a reply that is either not at all related to what you sent or is simply question marks and a confused face emoji. Only then do you realize you have fallen victim to autocorrect. I myself experienced this last fall when, after encountering some car issues, I texted my sister. She offered her condolences and wanted to know if I planned to get another one. Well, yeah, I needed a car—but my phone corrected my message, “the cay died,” to “the cat died.” Fortunately my pets were fine. And I love my cats, as anyone who knows me will tell you, so it is not a surprise that my phone autocorrected to cat. But how would the phone know to make this correction? Autocorrect uses machine learning and is perhaps the simplest example of AI (artificial intelligence). Each phone, tablet, or even program like Microsoft Word is set to study patterns to see commonly used words as well as how we react to suggested chan…

Benefits and Techniques of Meditation

Along with books and other informational material, libraries offer numerous programs related to health and wellness. In today's fast-paced society, there is little time to focus on the health of your mind. Often, we are so worried about what we are putting into our mouths and bodies, we neglect the energies and thoughts that may be absorbed by our minds. The demanding boss who pressures you for results at the expense of your sanity, the driver who cuts you off on your way home from work, the person who is unnecessarily rude to you are just some examples that may affect your mood long after the incident has taken place. Unless you learn to deal with these situations positively, they will eventually weigh on you and change your behavior and attitude towards yourself and others.
It seems as if everyone is trying to find ways to bring inner peace, happiness, and self-acceptance into their lives. We are all looking for techniques to relieve stress and seeking a way out from under t…

Books to Get You Thinking

Since 1917, Columbia University’s Pulitzer Prize Awardshave celebrated distinction in journalism and writing across a range of subjects that include Biography, Poetry, Drama, Music, History, Fiction and General Non-fiction. Today the Pulitzer Prize has become one of the most respected marks of recognition in the literary and publishing world. The much anticipated 2017 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced the afternoon of April 10, marking the 101st anniversary of the prestigious awards.

The year saw a proliferation of rich literature, some of it winning multiple awards and literary recognition. Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, featured in the January column of Books to Get You Thinking, was the 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning title in the category of fiction and was also the winner of the 2017 National Book Award. This month’s column highlights the Pulitzer winners and finalists in the category of History and General Nonfiction. All titles can be found in the Mercer Coun…

Do I Like Cooking?

I am still not sure how to answer that question. I like eating in restaurants—that I am sure of. Over the last year or so, I have made more of an effort to cook. I am finding that, maybe, surprisingly, I do like to cook. One thing that has surprised me the most is my being able to loosen up if I do not have the precise amount of an ingredient. I am usually loathe to deviate from instructions but I am starting to be okay with adding extra of something I like or knowing it will still be good if I do not have enough of another ingredient. Do not get me wrong—I have barely scratched the surface of how to cook—but I am getting more comfortable with making a meal.

My exploration of cooking started with watching public television at my uncle’s house. When I visit, he normally has on channel 39 and we watch America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Country, and Lidia’s Kitchen. I started to notice that there are a lot of recipes that look impressive but could be made simply. Or, if not simply, …

The Library as Community Center

Mercer County Library System has fantastic digital offerings. We urge patrons to visit our Virtual Branch and see what is available from home. But if you haven’t visited your local branch lately, actually walked in and spent time in your library, you may not realize how much libraries have changed.

Libraries are no longer just repositories for books, DVDs, music and other materials; they have become full scale community centers offering a variety of services and programs for children, teens and adults. Buildings which were once tomb-like places where no one dared speak above a whisper have transformed into vibrant centers where people of all ages and interests come to share ideas, learn new skills, participate in hobbies, attend classes and concerts, access the Internet, get help with job searches, view the works of local artists, and much more. We are too busy to be very quiet!

Walk into the Hickory Corner Branch and you will hear the sounds of toddlers singing along with the childre…

Amy Krouse Rosenthal Little Pea Craft

The late children’s author Amy Krouse Rosenthal is most recently known for her heartbreaking essay in The New York Times titled “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” Before this beautifully written work went viral, Amy Krouse Rosenthal was loved by children everywhere as the creator of funny and relatable children’s books like Little Hoot (in which an owl wants to go to bed early but his parents want him to stay up late) or Duck, Rabbit (where a rather ambiguous illustration is described as both a duck and a rabbit by two disagreeing young narrators).

Mrs. Krouse Rosenthal passed away on March 13, 2017 from ovarian cancer. Thankfully, her spirit will live on through her books, which children can enjoy for many generations. Children and parents can spend time together sharing Amy’s books and completing the craft below that was inspired by Little Pea—a picture book about a young pea who grudgingly finishes his dinner of candy in order to enjoy his spinach dessert.
Storytime at Hightstown …

What to Read Next

Have you ever started a book and realized you have already read it? I have. It became apparent that I would need a way to track what I have read. I started out with a notebook and pen, moved up to a fancy notebook specifically used for tracking books, and now I do all my tracking digitally.

When I see a book that sounds interesting, my first stop is to check the library’s catalog to see if the system owns the book. The library’s catalog has a “lists” feature that allows you to save catalog records to a list so you can easily find the title again instead of re-searching for the item. This is great if you are flipping through the new issue of BookPage (which can be found for free at your local branch) or just got the new NextReads Newsletter in your inbox.

You can also keep track of the items you have read, listened to, or watched. Before returning an item to the library you can view your checkout page and add the items to a list.
When you are viewing the record for an item in the …

Spring Has Sprung: Get Cooking!

It is that time of year when some enjoy spring cleaning but, for me, the warm weather makes me want to cook! With Mother's Day and Memorial Day approaching, there are plenty of opportunities to entertain guests or your family in the coming months. Whether you need some ideas to spark your creativity in the kitchen or you are looking for some simple, fresh and invigorating recipes perfect for spring, take a look at some of our best new cookbooks!
Bowls of Plenty: Recipes for Healthy and Delicious Whole-Grain Meals by Carolynn Carreño
Food bowls have been rising in popularity. Ever heard of a Smoothie Bowl? While you might not quite understand the concept, Bowls of Plenty offers recipes for one-dish meals that make delicious sense. Using whole grains, such as quinoa, farro, millet, and spelt as the foundation of each recipe, author Carolynn Carreño shows how you can transform grains, from breakfast bowls to salads to decadent deserts. One of these bowls will suit any craving while al…

It’s Just Not Cricket

Ah yes, I am writing about the game of cricket and not about the insect, though I am equally ignorant of both. While the insect does not interest me in the least, the game of cricket (or, to be completely honest, my husband’s obsession with cricket) has piqued my curiosity. After all these years, I thought it was high time that I learnt a little bit about this game. Sure, I have sat through some games with my crossword puzzle at hand and mindlessly enjoyed “watching” it. What was there not to enjoy? The well-kept green fields, the roar of excitement from the crowd, and the handsome athletes in their white uniforms would occasionally cause me to look up from filling in the squares of my crossword! However, try as he might, my husband’s earnest attempts to explain the intricacies of the game were often met with limited enthusiasm and even less attention.
Image by Prescott Pym [] (copyright-free) As per the definition from Wikipedia, “Cricket i…