A friend of mine directed me to Michael Hingston’s tumblr, Too Many Books in the Kitchen. That’s where I first read about his book The Dilettantes. Having gone to the same university, I was immediately interested in this book.
And that was before I read about how he wrote the book.
He always wanted to write a book but life got busy and he realized he’d never have the time to devote solely to writing. So he set himself a goal of having a book written by a date in the future and calculated that to have x amount of pages written by then, he’d have to write something like 150 words a day. Which is totally doable right? A hundred and fifty words a day doesn’t seem like this massive overwhelming task. I’ve almost accomplished it right here.
Fast forward a couple of years and Michael Hingston’s first novel was published today.
Even cooler for the book nerd that I am – I read it last week, marking the first time I’ve ever read a book before it was published.
So The Dilettantes is about a couple of editors of the Simon Fraser University student paper, The Peak. Alex is finishing his last year at the school, while Tracy is still slogging through trying to figure out what the end goal actually is. A free daily newspaper is setting up shop on campus, threatening the revenue streams of The Peak, putting it in very real danger of closing. Alex and Tracy try to come up with something that will save the newspaper while grappling with all of those issues so familiar to Millennials, namely: what the hell am I going to do with my life?
Hingston makes it sound like any of us can write a book, if we just write 150 words a day. But we can’t because we’re not all brilliantly hilarious and insightful like Michael Hingston. This book perfectly captures what it was like to be a student at Simon Fraser University and I loved that. I actually think it perfectly captures what it’s like to be a university student right now, or even a recent graduate. So much uncertainty, tainted with a very healthy dose of cynicism about the world and the people around you.
Some of you may know that I don’t normally like Canadian fiction – just something about it that doesn’t work for me. But The Dilettantes is an exception. It’s smart and funny and you should just read it.
Remember, it comes out today!