Dilettante: True Tales of Excess, Triumph, and Disaster (Hardcover)

Dilettante: True Tales of Excess, Triumph, and Disaster By Dana Brown Cover Image
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Description


A witty, insightful, and delightfully snarky blend of pop culture meets memoir meets real-life Devil Wears Prada as readers learn the stories behind twenty-five years at Vanity Fair from the magazine’s former deputy editor

Dilettante offers the best seat in the house into the workings of one of the great cultural institutions of our time.”—Buzz Bissinger, New York Times bestselling author of Friday Night Lights

Dana Brown was a twenty-one-year-old college dropout playing in punk bands and partying his way through downtown New York’s early-nineties milieu when he first encountered Graydon Carter, the legendary editor of Vanity Fair. After the two had a handful of brief interactions (mostly with Brown in the role of cater waiter at Carter’s famous cultural salons he hosted at his home), Carter saw what he believed to be Brown’s untapped potential, and on a whim, hired him as his assistant. Brown instantly became a trusted confidante and witness to all of the biggest parties, blowups, and takedowns. From inside the famed Vanity Fair Oscar parties to the emerging world of the tech elite, Brown’s job offered him access to some of the most exclusive gatherings and powerful people in the world, and the chance to learn in real time what exactly a magazine editor does—all while trying to stay sober enough from the required party scene attendance to get the job done. Against all odds, he rose up the ranks to eventually become the magazine’s deputy editor, spending a quarter century curating tastes at one of the most storied cultural shops ever assembled.

Dilettante reveals Brown’s most memorable moments from the halcyon days of the magazine business, explores his own journey as an unpedigreed outsider to established editor, and shares glimpses of some of the famous and infamous stories (and people) that tracked the magazine’s extraordinary run all keenly observed by Brown. He recounts tales from the trenches, including encounters with everyone from Anna Wintour, Lee Radziwill, and Condé Nast owner Si Newhouse, to Seth Rogen, Caitlyn Jenner, and acclaimed journalists Dominick Dunne and Christopher Hitchens.

Written with equal parts affection, cultural exploration, and nostalgia, Dilettante is a defining story within that most magical time and place in the culture of media. It is also a highly readable memoir that skillfully delivers a universal coming-of-age story about growing up and finding your place in the world.

About the Author


Dana Brown is the former deputy editor of Vanity Fair, where he was responsible for hundreds of feature stories on topics ranging from geopolitics to business, pop culture to crime, and high-society scandal to the art world, a number of which were recognized by the National Magazine Awards. He has also written and developed films and television pilots for Miramax, Hulu, AMC, Imagine Entertainment, and CBS. He lives in New York City.

Praise For…


Dilettante is a salute to an industry and its practitioners, those who were making a meaningful cultural contribution even while they were trying their damnedest to drain Condé Nast’s fathomless expense account.”Shelf Awareness

“I got to work with Dana Brown when I was asked to edit Vanity Fair’s comedy issue. As I got to know him a bit, I kept thinking—Oh the things he’s seen! While Dana was too discreet to tell me the good stuff back then, I’m so glad he’s chosen to share it all now in this amazing, insightful, and funny memoir.”—Judd Apatow

“Dana Brown’s unlikely rise to deputy editor of Vanity Fair is a fairy tale. But if he started out as a dilettante, he became much more than that, shepherding culture-defining stories into the pages of America’s glossiest monthly. Impossible to put down, Dilettante is an irresistibly juicy memoir.”—Nancy Jo Sales, New York Times bestselling author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

“In writing his story, Dana Brown has not only written about movie stars, power brokers, cocaine-fueled parties, alcohol-fueled parties, alcohol-fueled cocaine, New York at its zenith, New York in the morning (when it was shaky), New York in the evening (when it was riding high), Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter, the magazine industry when it was worth calling an industry, but also the story of Generation X, the second-greatest generation, which is the story of America’s last great good time. It’s a power ballad of a book. It’s ‘November Rain.’ I loved every single page.”—Rich Cohen, bestselling author of Tough Jews and Sweet and Low

“A scintillating memoir, elegantly written, witty, self-deprecating, observant, chronicling how a great magazine is put together, giving the intimate detail that provides a unique social history of two decades of New York and Hollywood.”—James Fox, bestselling author of White Mischief and co-writer of Life by Keith Richards

“An immensely engaging memoir and inside view of the magazine world . . . [Brown] offers grounded and insightful observations—not only about the internal workings at Vanity Fair, but also major shifts in a media world rapidly transitioning to digital platforms and up-to-the-moment information content alongside rapidly evolving American cultural tastes.”Kirkus Reviews

Dilettante is a coming-of-age story written with grace and humor and poignance. It is searingly honest without the typical suspects of snark and smirk. It is a window into a different place and time when the world of New York and magazine publishing gleamed with dazzle and glamour. Dana Brown splendidly reminds us of how much fun and serendipitous it all was.”—Buzz Bissinger, New York Times bestselling author of Friday Night Lights
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593158487
ISBN-10: 0593158482
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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