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Summer Tales 2020

Summer Tales was launched to create virtual communities for students taking classes remotely promising short mental breaks from coursework through a fool-proof method of distraction.
The Summer Tales Book Club of the 2020 Summer Session is closed. We are looking forward to seeing you at other fun programs and events in the summer of 2021. To stay tuned, visit our site Books We Read.

Summer Tales At A Glance

Three sessions - three short stories
5/26/2020 - 6/19/2020 Neil Gaiman: How to talk to girls at parties
6/22/2020 - 7/17/2020 F. Scott Fitzgerald: Sleeping and waking
7/20/2020 - 8/12/2020 Joyce Carol Oates: Where is here?


How Does This Work?

  • Read the short story.
  • Think about the story and how you can relate to it.
  • Share your thoughts in the discussion thread.
  • Read what others posted and respond in the discussion thread.
  • See more in the Canvas course - REGISTER TODAY!

Summer Tales brought to you by Summer Session and New Brunswick Libraries

The program "Summer Tales" is sponsored by the New Brunswick Libraries and the Division of Continuing Studies at Rutgers University. All students enrolled in summer courses are welcome to join any of the available sessions.

Madam Pince of Summer Tales

Profile Photo
Judit Ward
Library Contact for SEBS/NJAES
Liaison to the Center of Alcohol Studies
Subjects: Alcohol Studies

What was Summer Tales?

From the original description:

Reading "Summer Tales" is your opportunity to explore virtual communities with a fun summer program. Join us to take short mental breaks from your heavy coursework through a fool-proof method of distraction: reading short stories and discussing related issues with fellow students. No background in literature is required!

How To Read Well

When people think about discussing literature, often they'll revert back to the way they were taught to read in high school: that every story has a "point" or a "message" that you must identify, and every point has to be connected to a larger argument about What This Story Means. 

In order to be a good discussion participant, you'll have to "unlearn" this way of reading!

Instead, imagine the discussion like you're walking out of a theater with your friends or family who just watched the same movie. 

  • You might ask a question about a part that confused you, to see if everyone else was just as confused. 
  • You might talk about a favorite scene, or a character whose motivations seemed interesting (or unconvincing). 
  • You might just talk about how the movie made you feel, and see if it made other people feel the same way. 

It's a conversation without a particular goal in mind; you just respond to other people's experience while sharing your own and see where it takes you!

A discussion starts with noticing:

  • “I found it hard to be sure why X acts this way.” 
  • “This story jumps around in time a lot.” 
  • “Y seems like a really important moment here.” 

Each of these is an implicit opportunity for a further question: how does the text do this, or why?  In fact, articulating a question can be just as valuable to a discussion as providing an answer.

Quick Links: Book Talk

Top Benefits from Summer Tales

First, why read over the summer? If you're already someone who reads for pleasure, you know what that pleasure is like; if you're not, then you'll have to trust us that it's a lot of fun to read when you don't have to worry about a quiz or a paper.

If picking up a work of literature can feel like wandering into a gym full of body builders, think of this as a judgment-free, no-pressure fitness program

Some practical benefits:

  • Becoming a better reader will serve you well in any field of study, and practically any career. 
  • Reading good books also makes you a better writer and speaker, more able to capture and command people's attention with your words.
  • Talking about books you've read can also help you make a good first impression on people, from first dates to job interviews.
  • Being a reader is a quality people admire (as long as you're not too smug about it)!

We've chosen short stories in part because they're short: easy to finish no matter your reading pace and easy to hold in your mind all at once when discussing so that we can all be on the same page, literally and figuratively.  As they say about classic games like chess and poker, these stories take "minutes to learn and a lifetime to master."  Come read with us!

Quick Links: Help from the Libraries

  • Chat: There is a librarian online 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. any day of the week.
  • Email: Send questions via email. Most questions get a response within 24 hours!
  • Research Guides: Our subject research guides will help you find a wealth of information on your topic. 

Summer Tales from Books We Read



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