The Very Best Books I Read in 2022

I am lucky to work in a profession that allows me time to read. Actually, it’s pretty much part of my job to read professional development books. I’m always looking for new strategies to share with teachers.

Of course, I also read out of necessity for my doctoral work. And that reading will only increase in the next few years. Still, I am committed to reading as much as possible since I am working on my books (you gotta read if you want to write). More on that later in this post.

I’ve participated in reading challenges for the past few years, but I thought I’d publish a list of the best books I read this year. I wanted to do this partially as. a way to remind myself of the books I’ve read and what I learned from them and encourage more of you to read more in the next year. You can’t go wrong by reading more, and if you plan the time, I promise you’ll be astounded by how much you can read in a year.

Here, in no particular order, are the books that I loved the most in 2022:

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

In her fascinating 2018 book, The Library Book, Susan Orlean recounts the story of the Los Angeles Public Library and its remarkable journey from destruction to rebirth. On April 29th, 1986, a devastating fire consumed the Central Library of Los Angeles, destroying hundreds of thousands of books and leaving much of its infrastructure in ruins. Through extensive research and interviews with those who lived through this tragedy, Orlean sheds light on how the library could be rebuilt despite such immense destruction (Read More).

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson

In his riveting narrative, Robert Kurson captures the true story of two relic-seeking divers’ incredible discovery off the coast of New Jersey in 1991. John Chatterton and Richie Kohler are presented with an opportunity to unearth a mysterious secret hidden for over 60 years – a German U-boat from World War II. Through their perilous journey, they set out to identify the submarine and uncover the human bones on board (Read More).

Quiet by Susan Cain

The world of psychology is constantly evolving, but one concept remains the same: the idea that introverts and extroverts exist on a spectrum. In her book Quiet, Susan Cain dives into how this dichotomy has been viewed through the ages and how embracing both types of personalities can lead to a healthier, more well-rounded society (Read More).

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson’s novel, Oathbringer, is the third installment in the best-selling Stormlight Archive series. This epic fantasy novel follows Dalinar Kholin and his quest to protect Roshar from the Voidbringers. The novel features a wide array of fascinating characters, a thrilling world, and a gripping plot that will keep readers hooked until the very last page (Read More).

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

The Rage of Dragons is an exciting new fantasy novel by author Evan Winter. It’s a story about a young man who embarks on a quest for revenge after suffering a major personal loss. But this isn’t just another tired, Eurocentric medieval fantasy—this story draws inspiration from African cultures and offers readers something fresh and unique (Read More).

Truman by David McCullough

Presidential biographies are often a great source of information for understanding the character and accomplishments of the presidents who have shaped our country. David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Truman, serves as a particularly informative and in-depth look into the life and legacy of President Harry Truman.

This book is an important resource for learning about Truman and provides insight into his optimism, diligence, perseverance, political talents, and acumen. Let’s dive deeper into the book and explore what makes it so special. Read More

Final Words

I read 102 books in 2022 (tying my count from 2021) and plan to read at least that many in 2023. Starting in January 2023, I’ll send out my reading recommendations each month based on what I’ve read.

I release a newsletter every Friday with 10 Things I think are worth sharing across my various interests. Once a month, I send an additional reading recommendation list as well. The newsletter is free, and you can sign up right here.

One last thing…

I’ve been thinking about writing books for a long time. Then, I decided I would get ready to write books & stories. Now, it’s time to make that happen.

I’m launching the Patreon page for my books/stories/connected world of The Heretic Chronicles. I aim to have the first novel ready to publish (self-publish) by the end of 2023. Along the way, there will be behind-the-scenes previews, short stories, and more for patrons. If you’d like to support this work (or want to hang around and watch the train wreck!), head on over to my Patreon page and sign up (for as little as $1/month!)

Thanks for being here in 2022, I’m looking forward to bringing you more content than ever in 2023.

MP

The Rage of Dragons: Brilliant and Exciting African-Inspired Fantasy

The Rage of Dragons is an exciting new fantasy novel by author Evan Winter. It’s a story about a young man who embarks on a quest for revenge after suffering a major personal loss. But this isn’t just another tired, Eurocentric medieval fantasy—this story draws inspiration from African cultures and offers readers something fresh and unique.

The Rage of Dragons (The Burning Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Winter, Evan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 578 Pages – 02/12/2019 (Publication Date) – Orbit (Publisher)

The book follows Tau, a young Omehi warrior. Tau is a “lesser” in his society and has little chance of achieving greatness in his life. The story really kicks off as he embarks on his journey to seek revenge against those responsible for murder. Along the way, he meets interesting characters and encounters unexpected obstacles that test his courage and determination. He also discovers secrets about himself that he never knew before—secrets that could change the course of his mission forever.

What really sets this book apart is the incredible world-building that Winter has done. Through subtle details woven throughout the narrative, we get to experience this fascinating fantasy world through Tau’s eyes. From the vibrant culture to the frightening creatures, there are so many things to discover in this world that it becomes easy to immerse in. Additionally, Winter does an excellent job with character development—each character has their own backstory and motivations driving their actions, making them feel more real to readers than just two-dimensional stereotypes or tropes often found in fantasy books.

In addition to its rich world-building and characters, The Rage of Dragons also features plenty of action scenes that keep readers engaged throughout the story. Winter deftly moves between multiple storylines without sacrificing tension or character development, allowing readers to progress through Tau’s journey while also taking detours into side stories involving other characters in this large world. These side stories add depth to both Tau’s arc but also show us more about how different people live in this world – which only serves to make it more immersive for readers as they dive deeper into this fantastic tale.

Conclusion

The Rage of Dragons provides readers with an exciting new take on fantasy storytelling by drawing inspiration from African cultures instead of traditional Eurocentric settings and characters. Evan Winter does an excellent job creating a believable world filled with interesting characters whose motivations drive intense action scenes throughout the book’s narrative arc.

An Exciting Look at Oathbringer

Brandon Sanderson’s novel, Oathbringer, is the third installment in the best-selling Stormlight Archive series. This epic fantasy novel follows Dalinar Kholin and his quest to protect Roshar from the Voidbringers. The novel features a wide array of fascinating characters, a thrilling world, and a gripping plot that will keep readers hooked until the very last page.

Oathbringer: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive (The Stormlight Archive, 3)
  • Signed
  • Hardcover Book
  • Sanderson, Brandon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1248 Pages – 11/14/2017 (Publication Date) – Tor Books (Publisher)

The Foes That Dalinar Kholin Must Face

Dalinar must draw upon all of his strength, courage, and wit to succeed in his mission. He must battle against the mysterious Voidbringers who seek vengeance for their ancient wrongs. These foes are powerful and relentless in their pursuit of destruction. They are led by an entity known as Odium who has set out to destroy everything that stands in its way. On top of this challenge, Kaladin Stormblessed must grapple with coming to terms with the newly kindled anger within himself and amongst his parshmen allies. It is uncertain whether he can control these newfound emotions or if they will consume him completely.

Examining Urithiru and Dalinar’s Mission to Bring Unity to Alethkar

As well as facing numerous foes on Roshar, Dalinar also embarks on a mission to unify his homeland of Alethkar under one banner. To do this, he needs guidance from the enigmatic city of Urithiru, which lies hidden high in the mountains of Roshar. With Shallan Davar leading an investigation into its wonders, Dalinar hopes to not only bring together Alethkar but also unite all nations across Roshar under one banner for peace and prosperity. However, it soon becomes clear that there is more at stake than just unifying Alethkar; this mission could determine the fate of all those living on Roshar for many years to come.

Conclusion

Oathbringer promises excitement at every turn as we follow Dalinar Kholin on his journey across Roshar. Readers can expect thrilling battles against powerful enemies, thought-provoking explorations into morality and identity as Kaladin confronts inner demons and challenges himself emotionally, and gripping investigations into Urithiru’s magical secrets as Shallan Davar leads her team deep into unknown territory.

Unlocking Your Potential Through Quiet: An Introduction to Susan Cain’s Groundbreaking Book

The world of psychology is constantly evolving, but one concept remains the same: the idea that introverts and extroverts exist on a spectrum. In her book Quiet, Susan Cain dives into how this dichotomy has been viewed through the ages and how embracing both types of personalities can lead to a healthier, more well-rounded society. Let’s explore why this book is so important for introverts and extroverts alike.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
  • Cain, Susan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages – 01/29/2013 (Publication Date) – Crown (Publisher)

The Rise of the Extrovert Ideal

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that over time, society has placed an increasingly larger emphasis on extroversion as being the “ideal” personality type. Additionally, she claims that in many circles, there has been a stigma attached to introversion—that quieter people are seen as weak or less capable than their louder counterparts. To back these claims up, Cain provides several examples from our shared history to further illustrate her point.

For instance, she cites examples from early twentieth-century education systems which favored loud students over those who were more contemplative and reflective in their approach to learning. She also touches upon how certain organizations have implemented policies specifically designed to encourage outgoing behavior and discourage quietness in the workplace.

Exploring How Quiet Encourages a Deeper Understanding of Introverts

The core message of Quiet is that every single person is capable of greatness—no matter if they identify as introverted or extroverted. This message comes through clearly throughout the book as Cain shares real-life stories of individuals who have overcome adversity by tapping into their inner voices and using them as tools for success. By reading these stories, readers are encouraged to recognize just how powerful it can be when we embrace both sides of our personalities and use them together in harmony rather than focusing solely on one side or another.

Conclusion

Ultimately, there is no one “right” way to be—introversion and extroversion are equally valuable traits that should be embraced within ourselves and recognized among others in our lives. QUIET offers an eye-opening look at how society has come to value one type over another and encourages us all to take steps toward recognizing both qualities as necessary components for a thriving society.

Uncovering a Historical Mystery: “Shadow Divers” by Robert Kurson

In his riveting narrative, Robert Kurson captures the true story of two relic-seeking divers’ incredible discovery off the coast of New Jersey in 1991. John Chatterton and Richie Kohler are presented with an opportunity to unearth a mysterious secret hidden for over 60 years – a German U-boat from World War II. Through their perilous journey, they set out to identify the submarine and uncover the human bones on board.

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
  • Kurson, Robert (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages – 05/24/2005 (Publication Date) – Random House Trade Paperbacks (Publisher)

The Discovery of a German U-boat

In Kurson’s description of Chatterton and Kohler’s initial findings, readers will be drawn into this thrilling narrative as if they were there with them. They embarked on their mission as passionate recreational scuba divers who were searching for sunken relics from wars past. What they discovered was an unidentified submersible structure resting on the ocean floor which led to further investigations into what it could possibly be. After combing through debris littered around it, they made an unsettling discovery – human remains inside the vessel. This evocation of the era of U-boat threats during World War II is truly powerful and serves as a reminder that these war stories are far from just history books pages.

Research Efforts to Identify Submarine China & Human Bones

Chatterton and Kohler quickly understood that reliable information about their find would not come easy, so they assembled a team consisting of historians, scientists, and marine archeologists to assist in their research efforts. By examining items such as submarine china bearing Third Reich insignia, valuable clues were uncovered about its origin. As the investigation continued, speculation arose surrounding what could have caused human bones to be aboard this particular vessel at its time of sinking in 1945. Through this remarkable journey of adversity and unlikely success stories, Kurson masterfully captures all aspects of this enthralling real-life mystery.

Conclusion

From start to finish, Kurson writes with incredible detail that makes destruction palpable and allows readers to truly experience each chapter as if they were part of it themselves. He paints a vivid picture that pays homage to how Chatterton and Kohler were able to uncover such a mysterious secret which was thought lost forever in time – or worse yet – remained buried forever beneath the waves like many other ships whose stories will never be known or honored in such an impactful way. “Shadow Divers” is both humbling and inspiring, leaving behind a poignant reminder that history is not always as it appears on paper or in textbooks.

A Love Letter to Libraries: Susan Orlean’s The Library Book

In her fascinating 2018 book, The Library Book, Susan Orlean recounts the story of the Los Angeles Public Library and its remarkable journey from destruction to rebirth. On April 29th, 1986, a devastating fire consumed the Central Library of Los Angeles, destroying hundreds of thousands of books and leaving much of its infrastructure in ruins. Through extensive research and interviews with those who lived through this tragedy, Orlean sheds light on how the library could be rebuilt despite such immense destruction.

Sale
The Library Book
  • Orlean, Susan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages – 10/01/2019 (Publication Date) – Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

The Fire at the Los Angeles Public Library

The blaze that consumed much of the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles started around 11 pm on April 29th, 1986, and burned until dawn. By then, it had destroyed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Unfortunately, the building was also left in ruins; its fire-resistant materials had failed to contain the blaze, spreading quickly throughout the library’s many floors and departments.

The Effects of the Blaze

When news of the fire reached Angelenos, many feared that their beloved library was gone for good; however, remarkably enough, it was able to be rebuilt in just over two years due to an outpouring of support from citizens across Los Angeles. While reconstruction efforts were underway, there were still significant obstacles to overcome — they had to reconstruct an entire building and replace hundreds of thousands of lost books.

The Inspiring Stories Behind Rebuilding Efforts

Throughout her narrative, Orlean introduces us to some truly inspiring stories about those involved with rebuilding efforts after the fire. Harry Peak—a young actor, embroiled in a complex case involving arson—and Gene Scott—the eccentric pastor who spearheaded fundraising efforts—are two prime examples whose stories help demonstrate how a community can come together during difficult times and achieve seemingly impossible feats.

Charles Lummis’ Impact on the Rebuilt Library

We also learn about Charles Lummis — one of America’s first conservationists — whose legacy remains alive today at the rebuilt Central Library in downtown Los Angeles. Before becoming a conservationist, he served as a librarian for five years at what is now known as Lummis House; his dedication to reading left a lasting impression on patrons before and after his tenure there. His influence can still be felt today at Lummis House and other libraries across California thanks to initiatives he championed, such as public access points for children living in poverty-stricken areas or those without access to technology or internet service.

Conclusion

Susan Orlean’s The Library Book is ultimately a love letter to public libraries everywhere; she highlights their essential role in society by telling us stories about those involved with rebuilding efforts after the devastating fire that consumed much of downtown LA’s Central Library in April 1986. We are reminded that libraries are more than just places where we go for information or entertainment; they are bastions for knowledge that provide access points for people regardless of their race or economic background and help foster communities within our cities and towns worldwide.

Understanding Harry Truman Through David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning Biography

Presidential biographies are often a great source of information for understanding the character and accomplishments of the presidents who have shaped our country. David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Truman, serves as a particularly informative and in-depth look into the life and legacy of President Harry Truman.

This book is an important resource for learning about Truman and provides insight into his optimism, diligence, perseverance, political talents, and acumen. Let’s dive deeper into the book and explore what makes it so special.

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Truman by David McCullough (1993-06-14)
  • David McCullough (Author)
  • Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

The Size and Scope of “Truman”

This 936-page work took McCullough eight years to write and was published in 1992. It stands out from other presidential biographies due to its size, depth of research, and narrative style—it reads more like a novel than a history book.

In this biography, McCullough details Truman’s humble beginnings as a failed farmer in Missouri, his rise to become one of the most influential presidents in American history, and his numerous accomplishments during his two terms in office.

Key Facts Uncovered by McCullough

In researching this biography, McCullough unearthed many facts that weren’t previously known about Truman’s life—including stories told by family members, friends from childhood days, letters that had been buried away for years in archives or forgotten boxes—and used them to paint an intimate portrait of a man who was determined to serve his country well despite all odds being against him. This helped shape Truman’s legacy as one of strong moral conviction and unwavering commitment to duty even when faced with adversity or unpopular opinions.

Detailed Analysis of “Truman”

McCullough does an impressive job analyzing just how unique Truman’s political talents were. He explains how he could make decisions amidst heated debates without ever wavering from his core values or losing sight of what was best for the nation as a whole (even if those decisions proved unpopular). He also offers readers insight into why Truman was so respected by people on both sides of the aisle—his ability to see the bigger picture while still paying attention to every detail made him stand out among all other presidents before him.

Finally, readers can appreciate how meticulously researched this biography is; every fact is backed up by extensive evidence found through debate transcripts, interviews with people who knew Truman personally throughout various phases of his life, etc., making this book an invaluable resource when studying Truman’s presidency today.

Conclusion

David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography “Truman” has stood out among presidential biographies since its debut in 1992 thanks to its size and depth of research and its narrative style, which reads more like a novel than a history book.

Its importance lies not only in providing readers with an in-depth look at Harry Truman himself but also giving us valuable insight into his optimism, diligence, perseverance, and moral compass, as well as his political talents and acumen, which enabled him to make difficult decisions without ever wavering from what he felt would be best for America overall–making it essential reading for anyone looking for an understanding about one of our most beloved presidents.

Thursday Assorted Links

“Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.”

Tim Ferriss
  1. Striking findings from 2022 (Pew Research)
  2. Announcing the fifth annual NPR Student Podcast Challenge
  3. ChatGPT and How AI Disrupts Industries
  4. Machines that make you feel more human

How We Might Use ChatGPT in Education

Yes, there’s more to say about ChatGPT and how we can use it in education. I’m doing my best to develop productive uses of this technology to override all the Negative Ninnys out there in Luddite Land.

I won’t have an answer for everyone, but there’s a decent chance one of the ideas I share here could inspire you to use ChatGPT yourself.

Why Some Teachers May Fear ChatGPT and other AI Tools

never be afraid on typewriter
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

First of all, let’s start here: Anytime a new technology is introduced into the world, people are apprehensive. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the education world.

New technologies can be intimidating and scary because they represent change and the unknown. People may be hesitant to adopt new technologies because they are unsure how they will work or fit into their existing way of life.

Additionally, new technologies can sometimes create uncertainty about the future and its impact on society. This fear of the unknown can lead to resistance to change and skepticism about new technologies.

For instance, bicycles were once thought to cause insanity and something called “bicycle face” that was a danger to a person’s health. Weird, I know, but totally true. Fearing new technology isn’t new.

Technology enthusiasts have to keep things in perspective when talking about new tools. Not everyone gets as excited as we do about disruptive tools, and not everyone immediately sees the potential. Patience, brethren. Change comes slowly.

Teachers might be uncertain of how to effectively incorporate ChatGPT into their classrooms, making them feel uneasy. To ensure successful implementation, teachers should become well acquainted with the tool beforehand and develop a strategy tailored specifically to it.

Another reason could be that they are concerned about the potential for the tool to be misused by students, for example, by using it to cheat on assignments or exams. Also, some teachers may be concerned about the impact of using a tool like ChatGPT on students’ critical thinking skills and ability to engage in deep learning and reasoning.

I should probably also mention that every input is being tracked, especially during this “research” phase of ChatGPT. OpenAI doesn’t hide this at all; they tell you that everything you type and every conversation generated is being tracked when you sign up. They even ask you for feedback when you get a generated response. Be aware of what is going on when using a tool like this.

Finally, there may be concerns about the ethical implications of using a tool like ChatGPT in the classroom, particularly with regard to issues such as privacy and the potential for bias in the tool’s responses. We’ve already seen the impact of widespread disinformation and how social media can influence opinions.

In case you’re curious, ChatGPT has some left-leaning and libertarian political bias.

How Can Teachers Use ChatGPT in the Classroom

smiling male mechanic repairing details in garage
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

On the other hand, teaching with ChatGPT offers educators many opportunities. The technology can be used to help students outline or organize their papers, and at its best, can serve as a powerful, fun-to-use digital tutor that works like an improved version of Google. 

Erik Ofgang

There are several ways that teachers can effectively use tools like ChatGPT in the classroom. One way is to use the tool to provide students with additional support and guidance as they work on assignments or projects.

For example, a teacher could use ChatGPT to help students brainstorm ideas, conduct research, or organize their thoughts. Additionally, the tool could provide personalized feedback to students on their work, helping them identify areas for improvement and providing them with guidance on making progress.

Another way that teachers can use ChatGPT effectively in the classroom is by incorporating it into activities designed to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For example, the tool could be used as part of a debate or discussion activity, where students could use it to generate and evaluate different arguments and perspectives on a given topic.

This can help promote deep learning and reasoning and encourage students to think more critically about the information and ideas they encounter.

Additionally, teachers can use ChatGPT to create engaging and interactive learning experiences for their students. For example, the tool could be used to create interactive quizzes or games where students can ask questions and receive answers in real time. This can help keep students engaged and motivated and provide a more dynamic and interactive learning experience.

Overall, the key to effectively using tools like ChatGPT in the classroom is to be creative and to find ways to integrate the tool into teaching and learning activities in a meaningful and engaging way. This can help to enhance students’ learning experiences and promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


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