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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

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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