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Reading Groups

Speedboat and Sleepless Nights and 1970s New York with Mike Levine

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Four Sessions Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST April 4 to April 25, 2023

Online via Zoom

The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group at a 10% discount from our Bookstore. Please allow 2 weeks for shipped books to arrive.


Meeting Dates:
4/4, 4/11, 4/18, 4/25
Online via Zoom

Renata Adler’s Speedboat (1976) is a time capsule of New York’s literary milieu in the 1970s and a timeless piece of electric prose. Adler captured the cultural and political turbulence of the period, rendering it in the fragmentary observations of an intellectually restless narrator, Jen Fain. As with many classic novels, Speedboat makes us question what a novel is. So does Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights (1979). Like Speedboat, it is nearly plotless, often resembling Hardwick’s heralded essays more than a novel, and it hews closely to Hardwick’s own eventful life (with a narrator named Elizabeth). Inimitable portraits of New York City, both novels now enjoy a reputation for changing our understanding of what women can write – and can be.

Registrants should read to page 89 of Speedboat in advance of the first session.

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  • mike levine

    Mike Levine

    Mike Levine

    Mike Levine is an independent editor. He was previously an acquisitions editor at Northwestern University Press. Among the authors he published were Jen Beagin (Whiting Award winner), A. E. Stallings (National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, finalist), and Stephen Karam (Pulitzer Prize in Drama, finalist). He has also been a senior editor at the Great Books Foundation. Since 2000, he has taught literature and film seminars in several continuing education programs. He has a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in English from Rice University.