The Dilettantes by Michael Hingston Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

The Dilettantes

The Peak: a university student newspaper with a hard-hitting mix of inflammatory editorials, hastily thrown-together comics and reviews, and a news section run the only way self-taught journalists know how—sloppily.

Alex and Tracy are two of The Peak‘s editors, staring down graduation and struggling to keep the paper relevant to an increasingly indifferent student body. But

Alex and Tracy are two of The Peak‘s editors, staring down graduation and struggling to keep the paper relevant to an increasingly indifferent student body. But trouble looms large when a big-money free daily comes to the west-coast campus, threatening to swallow what remains of their readership whole.

It’ll take the scoop of a lifetime to save their beloved campus rag. An exposé about the mysterious filmed-on-campus viral video? Some good old-fashioned libel? Or what about that fallen Hollywood star, the one who’s just announced he’s returning to Simon Fraser University to finish his degree?

With savage wit, intoxicating energy, and a fine-tuned ear for the absurd, Michael Hingston drags the campus novel, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
…more


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    Rick (from Another Book Blog)

    May 16, 2013

    rated it
    really liked it

    Student newspapers are f@#$ing terrible.

    Honestly, are they anything more than a breeding ground for smug, supposed intellectuals? Does anyone really care what some 19-year-old stranger thinks about Jay-Z’s new album, or that student attendance has gone down 4% and we should really do something about that?

    The comics are painfully unfunny, the editorials are well intentioned but ultimately useless, and the articles are so laser-focused they apply to only a tenth of the readership.

    It’s frustrating

    Honestly, are they anything more than a breeding ground for smug, supposed intellectuals? Does anyone really care what some 19-year-old stranger thinks about Jay-Z’s new album, or that student attendance has gone down 4% and we should really do something about that?

    The comics are painfully unfunny, the editorials are well intentioned but ultimately useless, and the articles are so laser-focused they apply to only a tenth of the readership.

    It’s frustrating because they provide an incredible opportunity for young creatives to stretch their muscles and grow into the artists they can be. Student newspapers should allow young writers to take chances, to be weird and inventive and dumb and independent. But instead, they’re relegated to third-hand retellings of whatever Rhianna’s up to, and advertising the campus’s next Top Model competition. Like most news outlets, they’ve been lobotomized by pop culture.

    It’s sad.

    Michael Hingston seems to think so too, which is why his book, The Dilettantes, is the absolute shit. It’s charming, incisive, and witty as all hell. It’s a rallying cry.

    Alex Belmont is the features editor at The Peak, the student newspaper for Simon Fraser University. He’s nearing the end of his senior year and he’s having a crisis of faith. What was it all worth? Where does he go from here? Did he waste his time working at The Peak or was it all building towards something?

    During this existential crisis the campus is bombarded with the new Metro daily paper. Before Alex can blink The Peak is firing employees and lowering page counts, and before he knows it the paper will be a thing of the past. That is, unless he can organize a cockamamie salvage job and prove to the student body that The Peak has a purpose.

    First, though, Alex needs to figure out what that is.

    I’ve been following Michael Hingston for about six months through his columns for the Edmonton Journal (he’s the books columnist there). He’s also one of the better Twitter decisions you’ll ever make. Hingston is a sharp guy, I knew that. I knew he’d write a good book. But did I think he was this sharp, or that the book would be this good? No way. Not yet.

    For a first book, The Dilettantes is ridiculously well crafted. Hingston writes with absolute confidence. He doesn’t pander or boast, he doesn’t meander or leave anything on the table. He’s purposeful, composed, and smart as a f@#$ing whip.

    I’m not a person who earmarks pages. When I do, it’s maybe two or three per book. I earmarked 12 pages of The Dilettantes. It’s that perceptive. It seemed like every other page had me cracking a smile or laughing out loud, or nodding, knowingly, as he hit the nail on the head about some ridiculous college experience. I’ve thought about writing a campus novel of my own at some point. Now, I’m not sure I have to. Hingston already wrote it. The prick.

    Make no mistake, though, this is definitely a “first novel.” Line up an author’s bibliography at the end of their career and you can probably pick out what their first book was. It’s perhaps a little too autobiographical, it’s a bit too observational, there’s not quite enough meat there yet. But don’t get me wrong: this is a good thing. It means that his next book will be even better than this one. When I finished The Dilettantes, one of my first thoughts was, “Wow … I can’t wait to see how good his second book is.” Once Hingston branches out and starts to create, rather than report, the sky is the limit.

    I believe there’s a Giller nomination is in this guy’s future. Yes, I went there.

    I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that Michael Hingston has the chance of being my generation’s Douglas Copeland. He’s that astute, he’s that entertaining, he’s that funny, and he’s that relevant. We don’t have the 21st century equivalent of Generation X yet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Hingston writes it one day.

    The Dilettantes places its reader right in the middle of the fray. If you haven’t had the university experience yet, or struggle to remember what it was like, close your eyes and just imagine a dozen unique voices all struggling to be heard one on top of the other, all at the same time. This so much of what college is, and The Dilettantes gets that. There are many conversations in the book where no characters are credited for lines of dialogue, it’s just bam-bam-bam, one after the other, line after line, with us having no clue as to who is saying what. It’s all just a jumble of ideas and personalities, rolled into one amorphous organism. The struggle of the university student is finding him or herself amid the chaos.

    The funny thing about it, though—and Hingston makes a point of this—is that for most people, they really figure shit out as university is coming to a close. We all think we know what college should be. We’ve seen it movies, we hear about it from friends. So when we get there we try to follow in everyone else’s footsteps, we attempt to replicate the experiences of others, which is so far off from what the college experience should be. This is our time to figure out who we are and what we want, and the sad tragedy of the whole experience is that we finally that out just as university life ends.

    I am such a huge fan of this book. It’s already on my re-read list. It’s short enough (267 pages) and readable enough that a once-a-year rotation isn’t all that ridiculous. The premise is fun, the jokes are a mile a minute (but told with real intelligence), and the cast of characters is loveable enough for the CBC to get a hold of the rights and bastardize it with a terribly-executed TV show.

    In Canada, that’s when you know you’ve made it.

    …more

    Denise Berube

    Aug 08, 2013

    rated it
    really liked it

    Shelves:
    first-reads,
    fiction

    This book made me laugh, even out loud at times. Having never been involved in or even read a student newspaper, Michael Hingston’s thorough descriptions made this part of the campus life easy to comprehend. Beyond the newspaper, the underlying university life was true to form, from Pub Nights, cramming for exams, to wondering where it is all going to take you in the end, it almost made me feel nostalgic.

    Ampersand Inc.

    Jun 18, 2013

    rated it
    it was amazing

    Shelves:
    morgen-s-reads

    This is a lot of fun; if we had followed the Breakfast Club into university (assuming John Bender had made it in to university), you would have the writers of The Peak. The observations of university life are frighteningly spot-on and incredibly funny.