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Tiffany Markman latest feb 13. jpg By Tiffany Markmancopywriter, editor and mom to an almost-three-year-old, who tries to balance her workaholism with cuddles, books, caffeine & reining in her intrinsic kugelry. Follow her on twitter.

In an uncertain world, there is little as satisfying as a sure thing. For me, a sure thing is a guaranteed good read. And this year, a guaranteed good read is – once again – the ageless, timeless, taboo-less Guinness World Records 2014.

Like last year’s version, 2014 features ‘Augmented Reality’, with a free ‘See it in 3D’ app, ‘See it 3D’ and ‘See the video’ features, and the ability to photograph yourself with a record holder. [Disclaimer: I downloaded the app and tried this, but it’s possible that a) it’s a bit complex or b) I’m a bit stupid, ‘cos I couldn’t work it.)

This is Mrs Wheeler. Yep, Mrs Wheeler. Pretty, isn’t she?

This is Mrs Wheeler. Yep, Mrs Wheeler. Pretty, isn’t she?

Like every year’s version, there are amazing earth facts, animal extremes, weird human body stuff, firsts, greatests, biggests, engineering feats, scientific achievements, and lots and lots and lots of (quite boring for me) sports records.

There’s also an awesome section in the beginning that explains how records are applied for, adjudicated and even challenged. Fascinating stuff!

Here are some of the strangest, grossest, and random-est, for your enjoyment:

  1. Largest termite (African war-like termite; the size of a Coke can)
  2. ‘Angriest birds’ (Yes, really!)
  3. Longest metal coil passed through the nose and mouth (Gross!)
  4. Most baking trays buckled over the head in one minute (Why?)
  5. First human infected with a computer virus (Huh?)
  6. First domestic chair in space (UK, 2004)
  7. Highest population on death row (Pakistan, 2011)
  8. Fastest 100m sprint in [gold] high heels (14.531 seconds; 2012)
  9. Stretchiest skin (You’ve just gotta see this picture. Yikes.)
  10. Holder of the most Guinness World Records (155; Ashrita Furman, USA)
guiness book of records 2

Julia Plecher tries not to sweat. It’ll completely destroy her up-style.

And here are some interesting categories:

1. Mind and Memory
2. Magic
3. Skateboarding
4. Balancing Acts
5. Mail and Email
6. Social Networking
7. Photography
8. Advertising
9. Videogames
10. Combat Sports

In our house there’s a 9 year old and a 2 year old. The 9 year old was absolutely gobsmacked by this book and spent a week of afternoons glued to it. The 2 year old had no idea what she was looking at but played along – and liked the animals.

This is always a great year-end gift choice for those aged 7-plus, or for adults who simply won’t be able to help themselves. (We keep ours in the guest loo.)

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