5 Sessions via Zoom Thursdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT March 4 to June 24, 2021
The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group at a 15% discount.
3/4, 4/1, 4/29, 5/27, 6/24
From Hitchock to the Coen brothers, the books selected for this group have captured the attention of filmmakers (and moviegoers) through the decades. Explore five gripping crime fiction novels set in the context of American history and culture.
Session I: Compulsion by Meyer Levin
A fictionalized account of the Chicago 1924 “thrill killing” of young Bobby Franks by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. An entry in Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet, the book is “cop neo-noir” set in 1950s Los Angeles. The book is influenced by Ellroy’s own biography and Hollywood history. Adapted as a movie by the same title, starring Orson Welles as famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow, released in 1959. The case was later inspired three other movie adaptation, including Alfred Hitchcock’s post-World War II film, Rope (1948), starring James Stewart, and Murder by the Numbers (2002) starring Sandra Bullock, and Swoon (1992), that returned to the original details of the case.
Session II: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
The book is set on the Mexican-Texas border and involves a drug deal gone wrong, a man who seizes a dubious opportunity, and the relentless hit man on his trail. It was adapted as a Coen Brothers film by the same title in 2007, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem.
Session III: The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
Set in Boston, 1919, the novel focuses on the Coughlin family, their African American housekeeper, and an African American ball player who migrates from Tulsa to Boston during this turbulent year. Lehane draws on the details of the real-life Boston police strike and the Great Molasses Massacre. A movie featuring the youngest Coughlin son (Live by Night) has been made. However, The Given Day, the first book in the family saga, has been developed as a movie concept but is still pending.
Session IV: Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley
This series of fourteen short stories featuring ex-prisoner Socrates Fortlow is set in Los Angeles in the 1990s. It was adapted as an HBO cable network film starring Laurence Fishburne as a convicted murderer who faces a challenging reentry into his community.
Session V: Double Indemnity by James M. Cain
This slender novel is based on the real-life 1920s Ruth Snyder-Judd Gray murder case in New York City. Moved to Los Angeles, the book was adapted as a 1940s film noir featuring Barbara Stanwyck as the femme fatale and Fred MacMurray as the insurance salesman who come together to kill her husband. The movie also starred Edward G. Robinson as the insurance investigator.
Frankie Y. Bailey, Ph.D. is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY). She studies crime and justice in American culture, focusing on crime history, mass media/popular culture, and material culture. Frankie is the author, co-author, or co-editor of a number of books on crime and media/popular culture and on local history. Her recent scholarly publications include Crimes of the Centuries: Notorious Crimes, Criminals, and Criminal Trials, a three-volume encyclopedia co-edited with Dr. Steven Chermak. She is the author of five mystery novels featuring Southern crime historian Lizzie Stuart (Death’s Favorite Child, A Dead Man’s Honor, Old Murders, You Should Have Died on Monday, Forty Acres and a Soggy Grave (currently being reissued), and two alternate-history police procedural novels featuring Albany, New York police detective Hannah McCabe (The Red Queen Dies and What the Fly Saw). Frankie’s current non-fiction projects are a reference book about gangster movies and a book about four hundred years of dress and appearance in American crime and justice. She is also working on a historical thriller set in 1939 and her sixth Lizzie Stuart mystery.
Frankie is a past EVP of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime National. She is the project director of the Justice and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century project in the School of Criminal Justice.
About this series
Whether you’re looking to catch up on great novels or you’re interested in exploring a new writer or literary period, our reading groups offer high-level literary discussion led by experts in the field.
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm EDT - 2:00 pm EDT April 21, 2021
Crossing the Lines: Mixed Genre Workshop with Dawn Raffel (Sold Out)$395
Once a week Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT April 21 to May 26, 2021
Poetry and Translation with Erín Moure$395
Once a week Thursdays, 11:00 am EDT - 1:00 pm EDT April 22 to May 27, 2021
Creative Nonfiction with Porochista Khakpour (Sold Out)$150
Friday - Sunday 2:00 pm EDT - 4:00 pm EDT April 23 to April 25, 2021
KidsWriting Genre Workshops: Spring 2021$50
Every Other Week Saturdays, 1:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT April 24 to May 8, 2021
Bringing Music Back Alive with Rafi Zabor$150
Once a week Saturdays, 2:00 pm EDT - 4:00 pm EDT April 24 to May 8, 2021
Two Characters Walk into a Bar: A Point of View Workshop with Kelli Jo Ford$125
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 2:15 pm EDT May 1 to May 2, 2021
NEA Big Read: A Lesson Before Dying Reading Group and Workshop for TeensFree
Once a week Saturdays, 12:00 pm EDT - 2:30 pm EDT May 1 to May 22, 2021
Closer to the Truth: Translating Memory Into Fiction with Debra Jo Immergut (Sold Out)$495
Once a week Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT May 4 to June 22, 2021
Unlocking Your Novel by Looking Within with Chelsea Bieker (Sold Out)$150
Friday - Sunday 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT May 14 to May 16, 2021
Experimental Writing for Non-Experimental Writers with Porochista Khakpour$150
Saturday & Sunday 2:00 pm EDT - 5:15 pm EDT May 22 to May 23, 2021
Lining Up the Bones of a YA Story with Emily X.R. Pan$125
Saturday & Sunday 2:00 pm EDT - 4:15 pm EDT June 5 to June 6, 2021
The Spoken Role with Charles Bock$125
Friday & Saturday 6:00 pm EDT - 8:15 pm EDT June 11 to June 12, 2021
NEA Big Read: From the Desk of Zoe Washington Middle Grade Reading Group
Saturday, 1:00 pm EDT - 2:30 pm EDT June 12, 2021
Introduction to Writing the Short Story with Elizabeth Wetmore$600
Monday - Thursday 1:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT July 12 to July 22, 2021