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Word Games for Discovering New Things: August at Akiko’s

6 Jan
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Sometimes when we are looking for recommendations or looking for something completely new to watch or read, we just can’t seem to find anything that speaks to us. Perhaps everyone is recommending the same thing or you’ve already gone through all your recommendations. Well then, what now? Here’s a suggestion: play a little word game. For example, pick a month of the year and search for movies or books with that month in the title. I tried this out myself on Kanopy with the month of August and discovered August at Akiko’s.

August at Akiko’s is about a musician named Alex who goes back to his family’s hometown in Hawaii after a long absence. There, he meets Akiko, who runs a Buddhist bed & breakfast, and the two form a special bond.  It’s quite an interesting movie since it’s not quite fiction, yet not quite a documentary. The actors play fictionalized versions of themselves. The movie in itself is like a long meditation, peaceful, quiet and comforting. This is definitely not for those who prefer plot-driven films, but I think the beautiful scenery and music makes it absolutely worth a watch. Plus, it’s only 75 minutes long, so if you’re pressed for time, it’s a good choice. 

It’s surprising the amount of things you can discover by just playing a little game like this. It doesn’t just have to be with months either – try looking up a number, a color, a season, a drink…the possibilities are endless! Let us know in the comments, if you try this method and find an interesting book, movie or TV show! 

Written by:
Samantha Evaristo
Circulation Assistant, Grand St. Branch

Looking for a New Hobby for the New Year?: Birdwatching

23 Dec

The pandemic has changed us in a lot of ways. Some of us have become aware of the things we took for granted, some of us have experienced a great shift in our priorities, many of us have gone through great grief and anxiety. This period has been very unsettling for me, but one positive thing it brought me has been a new appreciation for nature. 

When we began quarantining way back in March, I began paying more attention to what was out my window. I noticed birds that I had never seen before. Where had they come from? How come I had never noticed them before? Suddenly, I found myself interested in birdwatching. 

When you get a new hobby, you often get obsessed with finding new information on the subject, and the library has a ton of resources for this pursuit in particular! 

On Kanopy, Birders: The Central Park Effect is a great look into activity of birdwatching. Kanopy also has a very informative series entitled The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America, which is part of The Great Courses. This means you won’t spend any credits watching videos from this series! 

The Bird Watching Answer Book, available on eBCCLS, is a great resource if you’re starting out with backyard birds and feeders. Then, hop onto Hoopla for an enormous variety of resources! A few titles you can check out from Hoopla include The Birds of New Jersey, The Warbler Guide, Birdsong for the Seasons, Identifying Birds of Prey, and that’s just the beginning of it! The Hoboken Library also carries the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America, which is a wonderfully illustrated and enlightening field guide. 

Birding has really helped me get my mind off of these stressful times and it has made me feel more connected to our planet than ever before. If you want to give it a try, a lack of resources is no excuse. The library’s got you covered! 

Written by:
Sam Evaristo
Circulation Assistant, Grand Street Branch

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