Cover: TL;DR: A Very Brief Guide to Reading and Writing in University, by Joel Heng Hartse.  Illustration: a bright pink lightning bolt on a yellow background, with the title in blue superimposed on top.
168 pages, 5 x 8
2 illus., 2 tables
Release Date:01 Aug 2023
Release Date:01 Aug 2023


A Very Brief Guide to Reading and Writing in University

SERIES: On Campus
UBC Press, On Campus

TL;DR is also available as a free, open access PDF. Click the green download button on the left, or visit the special open access page to download.

You’ve just been assigned your very first university paper, but you don’t know how to begin. Stressed about failing? Worried that you’ll have to pull an all-nighter to get the work done on time? And what even is APA style? When you’re already dealing with information overload, how can you possibly craft a paper well so you get the results you need? If you feel uncertain, stuck, or overwhelmed, be encouraged, because this book has the tools you need to get that assignment done. TL;DR’s quick, simple chapters will help you identify your audience, create an outline, get a handle on grammar and sentence structure, correctly quote a source, and write a strong conclusion. Written with simplicity and flexibility in mind, TL;DR can be used as an alternative or supplement to a textbook, a self-study guide, and a quick reference for specific writing topics. If you want to know what professors expect you to write – and why – so you can get those grades with as little pain as possible, this is the book for you.

TL;DR (too long; didn’t read): This book will show you how to write better papers, and it’s short, so you should read it!

This book is for students planning to go to university or college or in their first or second-year of post-secondary. Writing instructors and other teachers will also appreciate its concise, accessible, no-nonsense approach that will help their students grasp writing essentials.

TL;DR is a short and smart survival guide on writing academic papers with years of office-hours wisdom to back it up. This book is a must-have for any first-years feeling lost in their writing courses. It demystifies the rules of academic writing and will save you hours of scrolling and scrambling on search engines. Winona Young, former editor and writer at The Peak, Simon Fraser University’s official student newspaper
TL;DR is the friendly insider giving you the real scoop on what to do when you write assignments. If you’re anxious about writing, this is the book for you! Boba Samuels, director, Health Sciences Writing Centre, University of Toronto
In down-to-earth language, Joel Heng Hartse lets students in on the real secrets to successful college-level writing. I wish I'd had this book when I started my university studies. Betsy Gilliland, associate professor, Second Language Studies, University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa

Joel Heng Hartse is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses related to academic writing, literacy, and teaching English as an additional language. His other books include Perspectives on Teaching English at Colleges and Universities in China and Dancing about Architecture is a Reasonable Thing to Do. He is president of the Canadian Association for Studies in Discourse and Writing. He lives in Vancouver.

A Note for Students

A Note for Instructors



1 Stuff You Should Know before You Start





2 Reading and Writing about Other Texts

Academic Reading



Paraphrasing and Quotation





3 Writing “The Paper”

What “The Paper” Is




Thesis Statements





Making Changes

4 Other Stuff You Should Know





Further Reading

Instructor Appendix

Find what you’re looking for...
Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Free shipping on online orders over $40

Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.