The Best of 2010
Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Johnsen has written for a variety of publications on Yemen including, among others, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National. He is the co-founder of Waq al-Waq: Islam and Insurgency in Yemen Blog. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen.
Before 2010 fades even further into the distance, I wanted to bring you Waq al-waq's first (and possibly only) best of list. That is, my pick for the two best books of 2010. One fiction and one non-fiction (Choices are limited to books released in 2010 that I actually read.)
Sorry for the delay in posting. Waq al-waq is a behind in everything at the moment, possibly related to the lack of an intern.
Not surprisingly for those of you looking for good reads on Yemen and not finding much - outside of Mackintosh-Smith and academic tomes, neither of these deal even remotely with Yemen. But don't worry, I'm told that 2011 will be the year of the book on Yemen. I already know of at least half a dozen books on Yemen that are due to be released this year. But that will have to wait.
Here are this year's winners.
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. - S.C. Gwynne
This is history as I like reading it, compelling and character driven. Gwynne has a great feel for narrative nonfiction and his prose pulls you along. This isn't one of those books that has great information but is a drag to read. I also have a soft spot for history on the American west, since as a kid that was all I read. If you didn't read this book in 2010 it should be on your list in 2011.
The Imperfectionists - Tom Rachman
I picked this up after a glowing review in the New York Times and I couldn't put it down, finishing it one sitting. Like the best fiction, you put it down feeling as though you have gotten to know the characters in the novel. Slightly gimmicky, the final 50 pages are predictable and a bit dry, but that could also be because it was 3 am when I was finishing it. Still, by far the best new novel I read in 2010.
Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.
- A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
- This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
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