Ideas and advice for venturing outdoors
Time to head outdoors and enjoy springtime. These books offer ideas for activities close to home.
AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, DC: Sixth Edition, by G. Martin Moeller, Jr., 383 pages, Johns Hopkins University Press softcover, 2022
This comprehensive guide covers more than 400 structures of distinction in the nation’s capital. Whether you’re an inveterate local sightseer or have avoided crowded tourist destinations, you’re bound to find new neighborhoods to visit. You may have walked past buildings a multitude of times without realizing their significance.
AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington begins with an introduction to the District — its history and architecture from 1791 to 2021.
The guide outlines 19 walking tours in all, from the highly popular Mall and Capitol Hill to the less well-trod Foxhall and Meridian Hill. You’ll be guided through neighborhoods, such as Shaw and NoMa, that are off the beaten track. Explore the Capitol Riverfront and Logan Circle.
Read a concise account about the origin and development of each neighborhood, accompanied by a historic archival photo. Each tour begins with a map showing your itinerary, ranging from six to 40 stops.
Individual stops are then illustrated with postage-stamp-sized black-and-white photos. A short description including date, history and architect accompanies each photo.
In the final chapter, you’ll find an additional 30 structures that are not included in walking tours but merit stand-alone mention.
Moeller, who is in his 60s, is an independent curator and editor of ArchitectureDC, AIA’s quarterly magazine. A resident of Logan Circle, he has written both previous editions of this guide.
50 Things to Do in the Urban Wild, by Clare Gogerty, 144 pages, Princeton Architectural Press hardcover, 2022
Observing nature uplifts spirits and calms the soul. You may be looking for new ideas on how to spend time outdoors without traveling a distance. Or perhaps you’re searching for projects to pursue together with your grandchildren.
50 Things to Do in the Urban Wild is the perfect instruction book, offering creative ideas for city dwellers and suburbanites.
Learn how to construct a weathervane and a rain gauge. Identify the constellations in the night sky. Build a home for bats or a hedgehog highway for small underground creatures. Master the names of cloud formations and what kind of weather they may portend.
You’ll find practical information on several types of gardens, such as herb gardens and container gardens, cultivating houseplants, planting microgreens and mini orchards, as well as utilizing shed roofs and walls for planting.
Author Clare Gogerty moved from London, where she worked as a magazine editor, to a small town in Herefordshire in the West Midlands of England. There she raises chickens and writes books. Illustrator Maria Nilsson, whose charming blue-and-white drawings accompany the text, lives in London.
This is a Book for People Who Love Birds, by Danielle Belleny, 146 pages, Running Press Adult hardcover, 2022
Birds enrich our lives with beauty and song. This compact book is a primer for those who are intrigued by our feathered friends and wish to acquaint themselves with the science of ornithology. In time, you may become a full-fledged birder, as birdwatchers are now called.
This is a Book for People Who Love Birds provides readers with a solid orientation before they delve into the pages of a field guide. You’ll be prepared to take flight armed with basic information.
The book highlights 40 North American bird species. Each profile includes an illustration, scientific name, habitat range, and a delightful exposition on the behavior that makes that bird unique.
Learn about birds, their biology, the source of their songs and their ability to fly and navigate. Urban birders-to-be need not despair. You’ll find practical tips on where to find birds in your vicinity; after all, 85% of U.S. birders enjoy their pastime within one mile of home.
Author Danielle Belleny is a Texas wildlife biologist. She is a member of the Black AF in STEM Collective, which inspires Black environmental professionals and encourages wider audiences to engage in nature. The book’s charming illustrations are by Torontonian Stephanie Singleton.