Give Me Something To Read Best of 2010

This was my first full year at the helm of Give Me Something To Read, and to mark it, I’ve compiled this list of the best articles and essays I posted through 2010 (limited to those that were actually published in 2010). Best, obviously, is subjective, and what this list comprises is a selection of my favourites and reader favourites (as judged by the number of notes they got on Tumblr). Enjoy! (Hint: Open this in your browser, each link has a read later button next to it.)

What Makes a Great Teacher?

For years, the secrets to great teaching have seemed more like alchemy than science, a mix of motivational mumbo jumbo and misty-eyed tales of inspiration and dedication. But for more than a decade, one organization has been tracking hundreds of thousands of kids, and looking at why some teachers can move them three grade levels ahead in a year and others can’t. Now, as the Obama administration offers states more than $4 billion to identify and cultivate effective teachers, Teach for America is ready to release its data.

Can You Disappear in Surveillance Britain?

David Bond wanted to see if it’s possible to vanish so one day he packed his bag, got into his car and kissed his wife goodbye.

No Angel, No Devil

Once a wife and mother in a deceptively perfect home, Gaile Owens is now the first woman sentenced to die in Tennessee in nearly 200 years.

What Happened When I Went Undercover at a Christian Gay-to-Straight Conversion Camp

What I saw and experienced at JiM both enraged and disturbed me. I had trouble staying in character as I watched one man, as part of his therapy, act out beating his father to death with a baseball bat — just one of several “Are you kidding?” moments. How anyone could believe that a JiM weekend could turn a man straight still baffles me.

The Wrong Man

In the fall of 2001, a nation reeling from the horror of 9/11 was rocked by a series of deadly anthrax attacks. As the pressure to find a culprit mounted, the FBI, abetted by the media, found one. The wrong one. This is the story of how federal authorities blew the biggest anti-terror investigation of the past decade.

Whodunnit?

Criminal profilers were once the heroes of police work, nailing offenders with their astonishing psychological insights. So why did it all fall apart?

Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works

AA and its steps have become ubiquitous despite the fact that no one is quite sure how—or, for that matter, how well—they work. The organization is notoriously difficult to study, thanks to its insistence on anonymity and its fluid membership. And AA’s method, which requires “surrender” to a vaguely defined “higher power,” involves the kind of spiritual revelations that neuroscientists have only begun to explore.

Boom

Lost in the catastrophic aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the gripping tale of the rig workers and the Coast Guard crewmen who rescued them.

The High Is Always the Pain and the Pain Is Always the High

Gambling addiction is a simple disease. Living the addiction is a bit more complicated. A chronicle of dependency in seven parts, by Jay Caspian King, about poker, Lolita, and how to lose $18,000 in 36 hours.

Dog Beat Dog

To pull off the biggest pit bull fighting bust in U.S. history, investigators and their dogs went undercover.

Washington, We Have a Problem

A day in the life of the president reveals that Barack Obama’s job would be almost unrecognizable to most of his predecessors—thanks to the enormous bureaucracy, congressional paralysis, systemic corruption (with lobbyists spending $3.5 billion last year), and disintegrating media.

The Deadly Corruption of Clinical Trials

When you risk life and limb to help test a drug, are you helping science—or Big Pharma? One patient’s tragic, and telling, story.

The Brain That Changed Everything

When a surgeon cut into Henry Molaison’s skull to treat him for epilepsy, he inadvertently created the most important brain-research subject of our time — a man who could no longer remember, who taught us everything we know about memory. Six decades later, another daring researcher is cutting into Henry’s brain. Another revolution in brain science is about to begin.

What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?

A nighttime raid. A reality TV crew. A sleeping seven-year-old. What one tragedy can teach us about the unraveling of America’s middle class.

If you feel like I missed anything, or have a nomination of your own, or indeed disagree with any of my selections, please feel free to send me an e-mail or tweet at me; I’m not averse to updating the list a little.

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