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Night Moves

Night Moves

The revolutionary culture critic delivers an edgy, exhilarating tribute to Chicago, friendship, and the music that ultimately formed her voice.

September 2018
Active (available)
184 pages | 4.5 x 7 |

Written in taut, mesmerizing, often hilarious scenes, Night Moves captures the fierce friendships and small moments that form us all. Drawing on her personal journals from the aughts, Jessica Hopper chronicles her time as a DJ, living in decrepit punk houses, biking to bad loft parties with her friends, exploring Chicago deep into the night. And, along the way, she creates an homage to vibrant corners of the city that have been muted by sleek development. A book birthed in the amber glow of Chicago streetlamps, Night Moves is about a transformative moment of cultural history—and how a raw, rebellious writer found her voice.

  • Introduction
  • friends, bikes, the long night
  • bands, shows, water with ice
  • Chicago
  • Acknowledgments

Chicago, Illinois

Jessica Hopper is a music critic and the author of The First Collection of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic. She was formerly the Editorial Director at MTV News, and an editor at Pitchfork and Rookie. Her essays have appeared in Best Music Writing for 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2011. Her book The Girls' Guide to Rocking was named one of 2009's Notable Books For Young Readers by the American Library Association.


"Hopper digs into the minutiae of her neighborhood in order to find reasons to love it more. The prose itself feels free, like being young in a city—the length and moodiness of the days, the sudden highs and lows, the importance of seemingly unimportant things."

"Night Moves isn’t your typical memoir and maybe that’s because Hopper isn’t your typical writer. Her precise attention to detail, infatuation with the Midwest, and her uncompromising, all-encompassing love of music make this book a joy to read. Though the book is short, your favorite entries will stick with you long after you finish."
Paste Magazine

"[Night Moves is] the perfect book for recapturing that lightning-like feeling of being young and wild and free, of feeling music in every part of your body."

"A slim memoir born out of a Chicago music critic’s personal journals from the 2000s—complete with bad nights, good punks, bad lofts, good sets, bad weather, good music, and a keen observer’s eye."

"This lovely and succinct memoir by music critic Jessica Hopper reads as if the coolest girl you know has let you take a peek at her personal diary."

“In this lively and funny collection, [Hopper] bears vivid witness to an industrial punk landscape that is both crumbling and evolving beneath her bare feet.”

"[Night Moves] offers a specific and singular glimpse of the city, and a window into a point in time that now seems long past."
Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“Rather than bogging readers down with the mundanity of the everyday, Hopper cuts right to the good stuff again and again, like a Lungfish record. Unlike Higgs and company, though, there’s no repetition here, just a collection of lovely moments depicting a time in a place with a tight group of friends.”

“Hopper is ever-quotable, gut-checkingly deep, and laugh-out-loud funny.”

“Jessica Hopper opens the window to a past that might have been my past, or your past, or the past of someone you know. It is a book of poems, it is a memoir, it is a living journal, all at once. This is the best writing—personal, but with two arms held wide open to invite you in. Night Moves is a book teeming with generosity. It gives and gives and asks only for an eager imagination in return.”
Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us

“In this vivid collection of snapshots from Hopper’s life as a beneficent renegade rock girl, she manages to communicate so much more than what happened and what she thought about it. She takes you with her, on every steamy summer bike ride, to every jukebox and rock show and dive bar in her wild, sweet young life.”
Lizzy Goodman, author of Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001–2011

“A series of beautiful, impressionistic dispatches from a Chicago that no longer exists, Night Moves captures Jessica Hopper’s metamorphosis from doyenne of the Midwestern punk-lit demimonde into a significant American cultural voice. Charting a scuffling journey through the city of big shoulders, Hopper details its concrete meadows, its shattering defeats and daily miracles.”
Bob Mehr, author of the New York Times bestseller Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements

“Jessica Hopper's Night Moves reads like a diary—immediate and urgent. Hopper and her friends prowl the streets of Chicago on bicycles, always moving, surrounded by both the city and a cocoon of occupied affection. It's full of music and pets and friendship and made me feel as if the heating bills in Chicago would be worth it, if one could have this sort of busy, free life. The book exists in that space between fact and fiction, between novel and memoir—but I knew right away that every word was true.”
Emma Straub, best-selling author of Modern Lovers

“A gorgeous paean to indie-punk, the aughts, Chicago, and thriving as the only girl at the sausage fest. Night Moves explores day-to-day life as an art form — a life lived in that weird gulch between corporate cog and full-on flaneur, pulsing toward a goal with nothing but friends, bikes, illuminated bar signs and the occasional sublime moment to keep you going.”
Alina Simone, author of Madonnaland: And Other Detours into Fame and Fandom