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Summer Tales 2021: About

Summer Tales is a virtual community for students taking classes remotely. It promises short mental breaks from coursework through reading and social interaction, two fool-proof methods of distraction.

Thank you for your interest in Summer Tales 2021. The program ended on August 18, 2021.

What is Summer Tales?

Rutgers students love reading––well, not necessarily for class, but reading for pleasure counts!

"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 reading short stories and poems, and then discussing related issues with fellow students.

No background in literature is required!

How Does This Work?

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

Quick Links: Book Talk

Summer Tales At A Glance

6/1/2021 -
6/25/2021         
Carmen Maria Machado: Eight Bites
6/28/2021 -
7/23/2021
Rita Dove: Adolescence-II
Li-Young Lee: Persimmons
Natalie Díaz: My Brother at 3 A.M.
Natasha Trethewey: Rotation
7/26/2021 -
8/18/2021
Julie Otsuka: Diem Perdidi

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.” 
  • "This seems like a weird metaphor for the poet to use."
  • “Y seems like a really important moment here.” 
  • "Why does the poet use a strict meter in this poem?"

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: Help from the Libraries

  • Chat: There is a librarian online 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. every day of the week.
  • Email: Send questions via email. Most questions get a response within 24 hours!
  • Research Guides: Our subject guides will help you find a wealth of information on your topic. 
  • Find Library Materials: Tips for finding specific types of library materials (e.g., articles, video, etc.).

Top Benefits from Summer Tales

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 poetry and 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!

The Summer Tales flyer

The "Summer Tales" program 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.
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