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Book Recommendations

Need a good book?

Get reading with these recommendations from members of the Harvard community.

“Detransition, Baby”

By Torrey Peters

“This novel follows the lives of three women, transgender and cisgender, and shows how their experiences intertwine around a pregnancy. Relationship dynamics and societal pressures impact their voyage into the possibility of parenthood. It is a thoughtfully written story about love from a perspective not often explored.”

Scott Murry
Harvard Library

“The Seed Keeper”

By Diane Wilson

“This book is set in Minnesota and centers around several generations of Dakhóta women from 1862 to 2002. These women have carefully preserved and passed down seeds, which have endured despite the devastating loss of their culture and traditions through violence.”

Mary Kiesling
Harvard Divinity School

A woman wearing a yellow jacket stands outside with her hand resting on a white column

“We Want To Do More Than Survive”

by Bettina Love

“I’m currently reading Bettina Love’s ‘We Want To Do More Than Survive,’ which would be a great read for DIB educators and enthusiasts. It’s a powerful appeal to build transformative educational homeplaces rooted in abolitionist pedagogies for liberation.” – DeAnza Cook, Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

“The Stardust Thief”

By Chelsea Abdullah

“Based on various stories from “The Arabian Nights,” this is a fully modern fantasy novel set in the medieval Middle East. It’s fun, engaging, and full of adventure—perfect for a summer read!”

Amanda Hannoosh Steinberg
Harvard Library

“Living a Feminist Life”

By Sara Ahmed

“This book is a generous and grounded meditation on how we create feminist theory by living a feminist life at home and at work. Ahmed reflects on her own experience becoming a feminist and studying the edges and impasses of diversity work in the university. Vital summer reading for all willful subjects!”

Carolyn Bergonzo
Harvard Radcliffe Institute

“The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters”

By Priya Parker

“The book offers ways to think about how and why we gather together in groups, and about the importance of making gatherings meaningful. Parker offers examples of ways in which we can all make gatherings, meetings, and events worth people spending time together.”

Ann Whiteside
Harvard Library

A woman wearing glasses and a blazer poses for a headshot in front of a window


by Geraldine Brooks

“If you want a summer read that breaks your heart and sets it leaping at the same time, this is the book for you. It is phenomenal, just like the horse and his caretaker at its center.” — Jocelyn Kennedy, Harvard Law School Library Executive Director

“Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science”

By Jessica Hernandez

“I plan to read ‘Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science’ by Jessica Hernandez. I’m really interested in learning more about climate literacy at the intersections of science, environmental policy, and indigenous knowledge.”

Brenda Tindal
Harvard Museums of Science & Culture

“Under the Whispering Door”

By T.J. Klune

“This is the story of a lawyer who unexpectedly finds himself a ghost and the ferryman whose tea house he ends up at. Through their conversations, the novel explores grief, loss, and what makes a life well-lived. Although the book deals with heavy themes, the overall tone is as kind and gentle as the tea shop at which it’s set.”

Kai Fay
Harvard Library

“Finding Me”

By Viola Davis

“This summer I’m eager to read ‘Finding Me,’ a memoir by actress and producer Viola Davis. As a filmmaker and minister, I am inquisitive about the shaping of Davis as an exquisite artist, a Black woman creative, and the trek that inspired this ‘love letter’ to herself.”

Arleigh Prelow
Harvard Divinity School

“Station Eleven”

By Emily St. John Mandel

“I enjoyed this dystopian science fiction novel because it told the story through a few different characters’ points of view while they navigated a flu pandemic in the Midwest. I liked how the author wrote the book from present and past perspectives, so you could see how each character got to where they are and how all of their stories intertwine.”

Joshua Garvey
Harvard Library

A man holds a stack of books on one hand and another book in the other

“In Search of a Beautiful Freedom”

by Farah Jasmine Griffin

“Farah Jasmine Griffin’s ‘In Search of a Beautiful Freedom’ is a collection of essays by a remarkable scholar and talented essayist. She adds clarity to how art and literature convey untold and sometimes ignored beauty in modern and contemporary African American writings, music, film, and artwork.” — Terrence L. Johnson, Harvard Divinity School

“The Design of Everyday Things”

By Don Norman

“I’m currently enjoying reading ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ by Don Norman. This book delves into the fascinating realm of design and human interaction with everyday objects.”

Shunyuan Zhang
Harvard Business School


By John Casey

“This is the story of a down and out commercial fisherman struggling to make it on the waters off Rhode Island. As a backdrop is his construction of a new commercial fishing boat in his backyard into which he’s sunk all his hopes and dreams. A rich novel perfect for those looking for a summer read that will take them to the shore, and offshore. Best, though, that you’re not spooked by hurricanes.”

Al Powell
Harvard Gazette

“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue”

By V.E. Schwab

“This story felt like it was creating a mythos as it was told, spanning centuries of Addie’s life as we learn what it means to be remembered. This feels more like a late summer, early fall book if you are a seasonal reader like me!”

Meg McMahon
Harvard Library