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13 Books You Should Read In 2014

13 Books You Should Read In 2014

If you’re an avid reader and a proud a proud bookworm – which I sincerely hope you are – then you are no doubt wondering what the big books of 2014 are going to be. Over at Maptia, they have created a thorough list of the books you can look forward to delving into over the next twelve months. Happy reading!

Great books give our senses a workout. They make us laugh, cry and expand our emotional horizons, provide us with new perspectives, teach us about different realities, free us from feeling tranquillised with trivialities, and above all make us feel gloriously alive! Just in case your left-brain needs convincing—did you know that reading also keeps you mentally sharp, can chill you out and relieve stress, and can even increase your capacity for empathy

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

— Dr. Seuss

I already love books’, we hear you cry out. ‘But there are so many… I just don’t know where to start…’ —Ah ha! That is precisely why we have reached out to a few of our good friends with impeccable taste, and with their help, have compiled a short-list of thirteen somewhat under-appreciated but remarkable gems written in the last hundred years that deserve a place on your bookshelf for 2014.

1. The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman

Suggested by Mike Sowden—Head Bloke at Fevered Mutterings

“A parody, a tragedy, a farce and a sheer delight from start to finish, The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a spoof novel that has become just as popular within mountaineering circles as the real-life adventures it lampoons. It’s the story of what happens if you assemble the wrong men in the wrong place at the wrong time, of the consequences of having an expedition leader with the social IQ of Mr Bean, a route-finder with no sense of direction, a physician who is always ill, and graduates of Oxford and Cambridge deliberately put in the same tent together because they’d ‘have a lot to talk about’. Bill Bryson writes the foreword in the latest edition; it’s one of his favourite books.”

—Mike Sowden (@mikeachim)

Find the Ascent of Rum Doodle here.

2. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Suggested by Tim Ferriss—Four Hour Renaissance Man

“Starting in 2004, I traveled the world for roughly 18 months. The lessons learned formed the basis for much of The 4-Hour Workweek. On my journey—from the back alleys of Berlin to the hidden lakes of Patagonia—I had next to nothing: one suitcase, one backpack, and only two books. One of those books was Walden by Henry David Thoreau (naturally), and the other was Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. Vagabonding easily remains in my top-10 list for life-changing books. Why? Because one incredible trip, especially a long-term trip, can change your life forever.

Vagabonding teaches you how to travel (and think), not for one trip, but for the rest of your life. In my own dog-eared copy, I have notes, underlines, and highlights on practically every page, ranging from the tactical (how to pack intelligently, what to bring, what not to bring, where to go, etc.) to the philosophical (the Upanishads, how to slow down after a lifetime of rushing and caffeine, etc.) Using the Rolf’s tips, I was able to explore many of them for 2-3 months at a time at my own pace, unrushed and unworried. It was a dream come true.”

—Tim Ferriss (@tferriss)

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Check out the video trailer for Vagabonding below:

3. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee

Suggested by Alastair Humphreys—Explorer, author and passionate microadventurer.

“This is the adventure I have wanted to do all my life. To be so footloose and carefree, living by your wits (busking in this case), and walking slowly across a landscape. Not only is it a great journey, it is also beautifully told.”

—Al Humphreys (@Al_Humphreys)

Find As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning here.

4. Cold by Bill Streever

Suggested by Duncan Geere—Freelance journalist and Wired contributor

“It’s not easy to write poetically about science, but Bill Streever manages it wonderfully in Cold. The book is split into twelve chapters, named after the months of the year, and in each he explores a different facet of the world’s coldest places, peppered with personal anecdotes, historical references and scientific facts. The dark accounts of the deaths of early Arctic explorers are balanced out by the tales he tells of communities and wildlife that thrive in places you’d never expect to be able to support life. It’s a little Alaska-heavy, but highly recommended for anyone fascinated by the polar regions.”

—Duncan Geere (@duncangeere)

Find Cold here

5. Edgelands by Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley

Also suggested by Duncan Geere, as he couldn’t quite resist a double recommend!

“We’re very familiar with the concepts of cities and countryside, but what happens in between? The answer can be found in Edgelands, by poets Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley. The pair journey into what they call “England’s true wilderness”—the forgotten places on the peripheries of cities that most people ignore as they whiz through in trains, buses and cars, where nature encroaches on the man-made. What’s particularly compelling about Edgelands is how the authors compile and rework other writers’ thoughts on the boundaries between humanity and the natural world, from Wordsworth to Mabey. It’s a well-researched, fascinating window on the places that your parents warned you not to go.”

—Duncan Geere (@duncangeere)

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Find Edgelands here.

6. Macroscope by Piers Anthony

Suggested by Alex Berger—Chief Virtual Wayfarer

“My dad introduced me to Macroscope when I was in my teens. The story, which revolves around the use of a space telescope similar to a super powerful version of the Hubble telescope, helped me view the world from above. The book paints a narrative where through the use of the Macroscope the researchers are able to watch and explore the social development of two alien races. Races not dissimilar from our own. This combined with my natural traveler’s curiosity and love of space to send my mind racing; exploring how our nations, religious structures, history, gender relations, and other quirks might be viewed by an alien race. In so doing, it gave me new insights and passion for exploring the subtle differences from person to person, region to region, and culture to culture. It also nurtured my intense curiosity about new cultures, new people, and then of course, what might be out there and as yet undiscovered on one of the countless planets located within the tens of billions of galaxies in the universe.  It is also fascinating to think about how much the world has changed since the text was originally written in 1969. We now have the Hubble Space Telescope, things like Google Earth, and other tools that, while far from the power of the Macroscope, offer similar opportunities to explore the universe around us.”

—Alex Berger (@alexberger)

Find Macroscope here.

7. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer

Suggested by Audrey Scott—Chief Storyteller at Uncornered Market

“Who knew you could learn so much about globalization, economics and politics from soccer? Franklin Foer uses his love of soccer and journalism background to take the reader around the world examining soccer clubs and their culture and history from Argentina to Ukraine. The depth that he is able to go into to explain socioeconomic and geopolitical shifts connected to globalization through the lens of soccer is remarkable. And, it’s not always pretty—he shows how the soccer culture of a place has contributed to racism, corruption and even violence. Whether you’re a soccer fan or not, you’ll enjoy the stories and learn a lot in the process.”

—Audrey Scott (@umarket)

Find How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization here.

8. At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig by John Gimlette

Suggested by Jodi Ettenberg—Writer and Soup Expert at LegalNomads

“I love it because it’s a well-written and engaging take on a complicated country and its tragic historical turn, with personal details woven into the chapters.”

—Jodi Ettenberg (@legalnomads)

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Find At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig here.

9. How to be an Explorer of the World: A Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith

Suggested by Jonny Miller— cofounder here at Maptia

“Keri Smith is convinced that everything in the world is fascinating. She persuades you that even the most mundane objects and places are worthy of your attention, if you are willing to ask the right questions. From attaching places to fictitious stories, to giving seemingly mundane objects superpowers—Keri peppers the book with fresh perspectives that will restore your childlike sense of astonishment for the everyday and leave the wheels of your imagination spinning long after you put it down.”

—Jonny Miller (@jonnym1ller)

Find How to be an Explorer of the World: A Portable Life Museum here.

10. Wild: An Elemental Journey by Jay Griffiths

Suggested by Dean Fischer—cofounder here at Maptia

“Wild provides a completely unique and enthralling view of our world. Jay Griffiths takes us along on her external and internal journey over seven years to the edges of the ‘civilised’ world, where language is a tool for seeing and where land, water, wind and fire are the anchors to our cultural roots and abounding sources of knowledge. Jay paints our home planet with an unsurpassed eloquence that will awaken the wild side of anybody. Get ready to yearn for wide-open landscapes, for freedom from the ever-encroaching, tainted mindsets of the ‘civilised’ world. Get ready to stand firmly on the side of our fragile, dwindling wildernesses as they burn with what could be their final flame, and fight for their last breath. With unexpected emotional force, the tales of misplaced ideals, misspoken words, and misused knowledge shook me with sadness when contrasted with the complex and emotional depiction of these delicate corners of our planet.”

—Dean Fischer (@deanfischer_)

Find Wild here.

11. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

“There is no book—or should I say books—I have read which have captured my imagination, or my heart, more than the six adventurous and gripping tales in the Earth’s Children Series by Jean M. Auel. Set around 30,000 years before the present day, during the dawn of mankind, The Clan of the Cave Bear is the beginning of Ayla’s remarkable story. Set against the backdrop of a wildly beautiful but sparsely populated and treacherous continent, the vivid descriptions of the landscapes Ayla travels through will have you longing to explore the world around you, and to get closer to nature yourself. The scope and scale that the books encompass is almost impossible to comprehend, and for me, the themes and emotions explored in this ancient story offer an unusual and astoundingly thoughtful insight into the fabric of our society today and our cultural roots as the dominant species on planet Earth. No-one can fail to be moved by Ayla’s journey through life, as she travels across what will one day become Europe, experiencing the people and landscapes around her with curiosity, insight—and above all—courage.”

—Dorothy Sanders (@doro1hy)

Find The Clan of the Cave Bear here.

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What’s that? You’d like more? Oh alright then, here are a couple of absolutely visually stunning and remarkable books chosen by the Maptia Team…

12. Steve McCurry Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs by Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry has spent more than three decades following his curiosity around the globe. You may have heard that during his various adventures he survived a plane crash in Slovenia, as well as armed robbers and bombings in Afghanistan, but what we feel shines through in his photography is his trademark unquenchable sense of wonder and curiosity for the world around him. Harking back to Al Humphreys sentiments on adventuring, Steve believes that compelling photography doesn’t require exotic travel, but that he simply needed to wander and explore. Talking to Art Space he wrote:

“It’s a joy to be alive, and maybe that’s what come through.

Steve’s photography is uplifting and affecting in equal measure, yet Untold Storiesis more than just a visual feast to perch on your coffee table—it is an insightful journey into the life of this remarkable human. To leaf through its pages is to peer behind his world famous lens and dive into the hand scribbled notes and scrapbook-esque momentos from his adventures in every corner of the globe. InUntold Stories you get a sense of the man behind the lens, delving into his philosophies, which we felt were aptly summed up with these timeless words of his:

“Nothing has dented my faith in the human spirit or in unexpected human kindness… the kindest were often those who lived in the harshest of conditions.

If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 30 years and aren’t familiar with Steve’s photography, then his blog should already be loading in your next tab whilst you watch this video below:

13. Before They Pass Away by Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson traveled to the ends of the earth in the hope of immortalising the world’s least-touched tribes. The results are nothing less than spellbinding—Jimmy is like a modern Doctor Who, who makes inter-dimensional voyages possible via his 4×5 large-plate field camera instead of a TARDIS. There is a strong sense of human purpose behind his project, he writes:

“These tribes, although we don’t necessarily have to be personally interested in them, they represent for us an individuality, a balance that we’ve lost.

Even if this ethnographic balance can never be fully restored, we admire Jimmy’s resolve to document and witness tribal traditions that are threatened by the forces of globalisation and couldn’t tear our eyes away from his remarkable and compelling visual catalog.

To end on an entertaining note, check out Jimmy’s TEDx Talk and learn why yellow snow and reindeer make for a hilarious consequences at the edge of the world.

This post originally appeared over on the Maptia Blog; the team at Maptia have just launched their beautiful platform for telling stories about places. The book spine illustrations were done by Ella Frances Sanders, Illustrator in Residence at Maptia.

What’s On Your Bookshelf For 2014? | Maptia Blog

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Siobhan Harmer

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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