8 Books for Your Summer Harvard Reading List

It’s summer, which means it’s time to compile your reading list for the beach. Whether you’re into historical fiction, science writing, or mystery, books written by our Harvard Extension faculty or students, or ones set at Harvard will scratch your reading itch.

Books by faculty and students

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965.

William Manchester began a massive undertaking when he decided to write a three-volume set on the life of Winston Churchill. When Manchester fell ill, he turned to Paul Reid, ALB ’90, to finish The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965You can read a Q&A with Reid.

Deer Isle’s Undefeated America’s Cup Crews: Humble Heroes from a Downeast Island

Master of Liberal Arts degree candidate Mark Gabrielson wrote this book that chronicles the 1895 New York Yacht Club’s attempts to recruit Maine sailors and create a winning team. Deer Isle’s Undefeated America's Cup Crews recounts their adventure.

Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life

Shelley Carson, a renowned Harvard psychologist, writes in Your Creative Brain that creativity isn’t only reserved for artists. In fact, Carson outlines how anybody can increase mental functioning and inventiveness. Watch an interview with Carson

Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story

Christina Thompson, instructor of Principles of Editing, wrote a book about an epic love story centered on a Maori man and an American woman. Thompson examines what happens when cultures clash and how families grow together. Read a Q&A with Thompson.

Shotgun Lullaby

The third book by former Extension student Steve Ulfelder was published this past May. Shotgun Lullaby, a mystery set in Massachusetts, follows a novice detective named Conway Sax as he tries to solve a brutal murder.

In a blog post, Ulfelder answered questions about Shotgun Lullaby, his time at the Extension School, and selling his book.

Books set at Harvard University

Can’t get to the Harvard campus but want a taste of what the University is like? The following books are set in Cambridge, featuring scenes from the Yard, conversations between famous alumni, and what Harvard looked like in the seventeenth century.

Love Story

Love Story is the quintessential romance with arguably the worst relationship advice (“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”). The novel, which Al Gore wrongly asserted was based on him and his wife, is set at Harvard where the main male character is studying law and his female counterpart studies at Radcliffe. The epic romance has been read for years and was adapted into a film that has the honor of being the last movie shot on the Harvard campus.

Caleb’s Crossing

This novel tells the story of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard. The protagonist must accompany her brother as he studies at Harvard, where the state of the Yard is drastically different than today. Set in the 1660s, pigs and other farm animals roam the Yard, and Cambridge is a much dirtier place than we find it today.

The Accidental Billionaires

The Accidental Billionaires was the source material for The Social Network screenplay. Local restaurants, academic halls, and other Harvard mainstays provide a compelling backdrop to the Facebook founder’s intriguing story.

What’s on your summer reading list? Did any Harvard books make your to-read pile?

Martin747 replied:

"Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life" sounds great.  That one goes on my list.