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Amazing Lesser-Known Books of 2012 that You Should Read

Amazing Lesser-Known Books of 2012 that You Should Read

The books that most people gravitate toward these days are generally the ones that are publicized the most. Though word of mouth is all well and good when it comes to discussing great reads with a few friends, it’s the media moguls who tend to dictate which books will be promoted to the masses, and which will be tucked into relative obscurity.  The New York Times Best-Seller list is the primary resource for ideas about what to read next, with Oprah’s Book Club coming in at a close second… and though they’re both decent resources when it comes to finding something new to delve into, their recommendations tend to be based on how many people have read a book, rather than the quality of the story itself.

If you’re an avid reader, but want to shy away from the overly-lauded pieces that everyone else on the planet has inhaled, consider some of the titles listed below. They’re some of the best books of 2012, and though they haven’t received quite as much media attention as those on the NYT list, they are most certainly worth looking into. No pun intended, I swear.

Fiction

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry- A Novel

    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel, by Rachel Joyce

    Every so often, we come across an antihero who is so awkwardly endearing that we just want to scoop him out of the book and invite him in for tea. Harold Fry is such a character, and this tale about his impromptu journey across England is both surreal enough to be believable, and genuine enough that the reader can relate to it. Fry is amazingly human, and his adventure takes us on a life-changing journey through the labyrinths of our own hearts.

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    Non-Fiction

    Quiet- The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

      Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

      If you or a close friend of yours would be described as an introvert, you might have more than a passing interest in this book. Often made fun of for being “too shy” or “too quiet”, introverts tend to pull away from the spotlight and prefer solitude over hyper-socializing, which is anathema to most modern societal expectations. This book is a fascinating study regarding the power and potential of introverts VS the extroverts that seem to be so idealized by American culture. There are tips on how to negotiate introvert/extrovert relationships, and fabulous, encouraging success stories about famous introverts who have changed the world.

      Sci Fi/Fantasy

      The Pattern Scars, by Caitlin Sweet

        The Pattern Scars, by Caitlin Sweet

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        Winner of the Canadian Bookie award for best Science Fiction, Fantasy or Speculative Fiction, this novel follows the story of a young woman named Nola, who was born into abject poverty, but managed to escape it with the help of those who recognized (and later, manipulated) her gift of prophecy. This isn’t a “unicorns and pixie dust” sort of fantasy book: it draws the reader through seedy interactions with brothel workers, psychopaths, and murderers, and intersperses blood magic and murder with devastating betrayals. The novel is dark and luminous at turns, and you never know if the next page will bring unimaginable heartbreak and terror, or dream-inspiring beauty.

        Graphic Novel

        Freakangels Box Set by Warren Ellis

          Freakangels Box Set by Warren Ellis

          The Freakangels web comic by the ever-brilliant (and oft-terrifying) Warren Ellis was published as a box set last month, and if you’re a fan of any of his work, this is a must-read. Written by Ellis and illustrated by Paul Duffield, the story revolves around twelve Londoners with startling psychic abilities: they accidentally flooded the world when they used their powers in unison a few years ago, and are now struggling to survive in the ruins of Whitechapel as something ominous creeps ever-closer…

          Cookbook

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          Food in Jars- Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, by Marisa McLellan

            Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, by Marisa McLellan

            The self-sufficiency revolution is gaining in speed around the world, with people re-acquainting themselves with knowledge and abilities that haven’t been cool since their great-grandparents’ time. Interest in homesteading is at an all-time high, and one of the most popular practices these days is canning one’s own food—preserving everything from fruits and vegetables to soups, seasonings, and even desserts. This book guides you through small-batch canning throughout the year for maximum production with minimum stress.

            Children’s Lit

            The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver

              The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver

              Anyone who has a younger sibling has likely wished that they were different, somehow: maybe less annoying, or more fun to hang out with, or even less inclined to break things and blame it on us. If we were to wake up one morning to discover that a Spindler (read: huge, evil spider with hands) has stolen our little brother’s soul for the Queen of the underworld, would we fight to get it back so he’d be normal and whole again? Even if that meant he was going to be his usual, annoying self?

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              (This book is geared towards ages 8 and up, but it’s also great for younger people with high reading abilities)

              These are just a few of the many gorgeous books that were published in 2012. If your preferred genre wasn’t represented here, or if you’re looking for even more books to explore in the New Year, head on over to Goodreads for recommendations tailored just for you.

              What was your favourite read of 2012? Let us know!

              Featured photo credit:  Vintage old books on wooden deck via Shutterstock

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              Last Updated on January 17, 2019

              8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

              8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

              In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

              Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

              Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

              Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

              Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

              The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

              There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

              How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

              According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

              Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

              Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

              The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

              Listen carefully:

              We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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              The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

              Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

              8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

              There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

              Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

              1. Pray Daily

              You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

              When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

              Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

              Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

              2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

              A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

              By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

              Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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              If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

              This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

              How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

              3. Smile Often

              Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

              Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

              Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

              The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

              4. Organize Your Working Desk

              A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

              When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

              Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

              Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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              5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

              I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

              Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

              What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

              6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

              God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

              I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

              I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

              7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

              You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

              How do you do that? This is my formula:

              First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

              If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

              If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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              If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

              Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

              8. Go Exercise

              Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

              The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

              You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

              12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

              The Bottom Line

              It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

              It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

              Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

              More Resources About Mindfulness

              Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

              Reference

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