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The Book of Delights

The Book of Delights

Book - 2019
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"In The Book of Delights, one of today's most original literary voices offers up a genre-defying volume of lyric essays written over one tumultuous year. The first nonfiction book from award-winning poet Ross Gay is a record of the small joys we often overlook in our busy lives. Among Gay's funny, poetic, philosophical delights: a friend's unabashed use of air quotes, cradling a tomato seedling aboard an airplane, the silent nod of acknowledgment between the only two black people in a room. But Gay never dismisses the complexities, even the terrors, of living in America as a black man or the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture or the loss of those he loves. More than anything else, though, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world--his garden, the flowers peeking out of the sidewalk, the hypnotic movements of a praying mantis. The Book of Delights is about our shared bonds, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. These remarkable pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, [2019]
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781616207922
Call Number: 814.6 G2857e 2019
Characteristics: xii, 274 pages ; 19 cm


From Library Staff

While acknowledging the many challenges of modern life, the author's daily writing practice illustrates that the more we pay attention to life's delightful moments, the more we'll find to be delighted about. The Book of Delights is Multnomah County Library’s Everybody Reads title for 2021. Detail... Read More »

2021 Everybody Reads

Everybody Reads 2020. We need this right now.

Everybody Reads: Ross Gay, April 8, 2021

From the critics

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Feb 16, 2021

The opposite of delightful. Quite annoying, in fact. These are more hastily jotted journal entries than essays.

JCLChrisK Jan 27, 2021

Poet Gay decided he would adopt a practice for a year of paying attention to what delighted him and writing a daily "essayette" recording his related thoughts. This is his compilation of those journal entries. He writes in the prologue how the habit helped him develop a kind of "delight radar," as he became more aware of the delightful aspects of life at all times and happier for it, and his joy is apparent on every page.

Gay writes with an intentionally free-flowing, rambling style. It captures the personality and spontaneity of his process, and readers come to know him, in some ways intimately, over the course of entries. Sometimes he stays focused on the delight, describing it in depth and what he takes from it; more often he meanders into related thoughts spurred by the moment, delving into memories or meditative, sometimes heavy, territory. Each digression brings its particular rewards. Themes emerge: gardening, friends and family, public spaces, physicality, racism, music. Gay comes across as personable and at least somewhat gregarious. Most importantly, Gay comes across. The pages portray a living, breathing, tangible person, modeling an inspiring process that brings readers their own significant share of delight.

Jan 02, 2021

The podcast, This American Life, did an episode inspired by this book. The 8-minute interview with the poet is marvelous.

Jan 26, 2020

NOTE: THIS BOOK IS NOT for those who SPEED READ through books.

LET IT BE KNOWN: This book is for those who are up for savoring language; those who appreciate nuance in situations, relationships and life itself; and those ‘lean into’ being stimulated to think, reflect and find joy!

This book is to be delighted. Delight comes in many forms. Ross Gay, author The Book Delights, doesn’t provide us with the “jump for joy” kind of delight.
His is more of a worldly journey of a black man’s year and where he found “gems” (my word – I am thinking Gay might find a ‘ten times better’ word) to acknowledge in a grateful way. The journey will take readers into gardens, onto park benches and beyond as this published poet, this teacher of college students at Indiana University - reviews the days in his life from a given year. The result is 100 short essays of reflection by a gifted writer.

You may find that you deeply appreciate Gay’s use of language. You may find yourself charmed, re-affirmed, gently nudged to grow in a positive direction, and/or a bit challenged by the complexity [and the possibly of finding delight through influence, opinion or other surprising stimuli] of the provocative juxtaposition on events, circumstances or opportunities.
His poetry books include: Bringing the Shovel Down and Against Which.

I recommend this book! Enjoy!

Dec 05, 2019

Maybe I'll use one of the free calendars I get to record something that delights me every day.


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