The Great Outdoors: Spring Idea Books

As the weather starts to get warmer, I start itching to get outside, not only to walk (you might remember I’ve rhapsodized about walking in the past) but also to take pictures (I especially love a good nature scene) and just frolic! I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re in the same boat, given the year we’ve all had. Today I’m recommending some books to how to enjoy the outdoors as spring dawns, and so my first pick is this 2020 book: Photo Basics by Joel Sartore. Published by National Geographic, it gives great ideas on how to capture great images indoors and out; perfect for flowers poking out of the melting snow or late afternoon sunlight.

If you’re like me and you take photos while walking out in nature try these: Great Iowa Walks, an oldie but a goodie, giving some ideas of walks you can take in the state; or, in the same spirit, try Biking Iowa for bike-friendly trail rides. For quick getaways, try Great Iowa Weekend Adventures by Mike Whye or the Iowa Curiosities guidebook, available both in print and on Overdrive. To find Quad City-specific trails and adventures, check out qctrails.org for an interactive map and robust search experience.

If you’re looking to branch out and take a backpacking trip, you might like Backpacker Hidden Gems: 100 Greatest Undiscovered Hikes Across America, highlighting less-known hiking trails all across the country, or the more local Best Easy Day Hikes Cedar Rapids: Including Iowa City and Cedar Falls/Waterloo. But either way, you may want to take along Be Prepared: Hiking and Backpacking by Karen Berger. More of a cyclist? Take your bike off-road with Mountain Bike Master by Mark Langton.

If you want to focus on an urban/suburban fitness aspect, you could try Walking for Fitness by Nina Barough, or Bicycling Bliss by Portia Masterson. Don’t feel your stamina is up to going outside just yet? Ease into the outdoors with a DVD walking workout like Walk Strong: Burn Fat and Have Fun. If you’re looking for a lifestyle overhaul focused on walking and the outdoors, try The Finnish Way by Katja Pantzar.

Get the whole family involved with 101 outdoor adventures to have before you grow up by Stacy and Jack Tornio. For a deeper dive into camping and fun outdoor skills, try How to Play in the Woods by Robin Blankenship, Born to Explore by Richard Wiese, or I Love Dirt by Jennifer Ward. You could also start a family garden with Plant, Sow, Make & Grow by Esther Coombs. Then, take it to the next level with The New Gardener’s Handbook by Daryl Beyers.

Whatever activity or method you choose, don’t forget to get outside this spring! Between the vitamin D in sunlight, energizing physical activity, and opportunities for togetherness, the benefits are many and the risks are few. Any of these titles will give you a place to start, but do whatever works for you and brings you joy.

The Librarians: Season One

the-librariansThe Librarians is an American fantasy-adventure television show that premiered in 2014. If the title sounds familiar, it should! This show is a direct spin-off of The Librarian film series starring Noah Wyle as Flynn Carsen. (Look below for the list of The Librarian movies available for check-out).

This television series begins by introducing viewers to Eve Baird, a NATO agent who bumps into the librarian Flynn Carsen, a meeting that sends the two off on a new journey together. Baird becomes the librarian’s new guardian and, after a quick and dirty introduction to the Library and its magic, is immediately helping Flynn on a rescue mission. It turns out that someone is killing off potential Librarians and they need to be stopped.

Hijinks ensue and we soon find Flynn off to the find the Library after it disappears and is lost in time and space in an effort to save itself from the Serpent Brotherhood. Baird is left to protect the new Librarians and help Jenkins, the caretaker of the Library’s branch office, train the newbies. Meet Jacob Stone, Cassandra Cillian, and Ezekiel Jones: three people who were invited by the Library to interview for the Librarian position that was ultimately given to Flynn Carsen after the three didn’t show up for their auditions. They are each geniuses in their own rights with quirks and specialized knowledge that allow them to solve problems and escape from tricky situations seemingly at the last moment. Throughout the first season, this foursome, plus Jenkins at times, finds themselves set off on adventures to rescue ancient mysterious artifacts. These artifacts have magical powers and either the evil Serpent Brotherhood wants to snatch them up for themselves or they are somehow disrupting normal everyday life. Either way, this show is rife with comedic and stoic moments as the Librarians rush to solve problems, work together, learn new things, save the world, and keep magic alive.

This show is full of history lessons and quirky/off-the-wall humor, much like The Librarian movies are. When you think you are just enjoying a new television show, you’ll realize that you are in fact learning something new, whether it’s about Nikola Tesla, Shakespeare, King Arthur, Santa, Egyptian Gods, the minotaur, or a variety of other historical, mythical, or magical things. This show is full of librarians after all, so you’re going to learn something new!

Once you finish the first season, be sure to go and put the second season on hold! (The third season is still on television.)


This television show is based on/is a direct spin-off of The Librarian film series starring Noah Wyle. This is a series of three movies: The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines, and The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice.

librarian-quest-for-the-spear librarian-return-to-mine librarian-curse-for-judas-chalice