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
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:
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."
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.
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:
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.
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.
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