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Summer Tales 2022

This guide helps students find fun reading material during the summer session.

What is Summer Tales?

Rutgers students love reading––well, not necessarily for class, but reading for pleasure counts! The self-paced Summer Tales reading program is your opportunity to explore short stories and poems. No background in literature is required to enjoy and appreciate reading.

Our theme this summer: Contemporary perspectives on trauma

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. And yet you'll find (we hope!) that they provide an opportunity for rich, near-inexhaustible conversations. As they say about classic games like chess and poker, these works take "minutes to learn and a lifetime to master."

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.

Books We Read

The project Books We Read was inspired by our past experiences connecting readers with books. In our posts, Rutgers librarians, staff, and students share their reading experiences. New posts are published weekly with new book recommendations or ideas for what to read.

Select the Book Cover to Go to the Record and Access the eBook

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.).

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

The "Summer Tales" program is sponsored by the New Brunswick Libraries and the Division of Continuing Studies at Rutgers University.
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