The Book of Delights
Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights is a genre-defying book of essays—some as short as a paragraph; some as long as five pages—that record the small joys that occurred in one year, from birthday to birthday, and that we often overlook in our busy lives. His is a meditation on delight that takes a clear-eyed view of the complexities, even the terrors, in his life, including living in America as a black man; the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture; the loss of those he loves. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: the way Botan Rice Candy wrappers melt in your mouth, the volunteer crossing guard with a pronounced tremor whom he imagines as a kind of boat-woman escorting pedestrians across the River Styx, a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, pickup basketball games, the silent nod of acknowledgment between black people. And more than any other subject, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world—his garden, the flowers in the sidewalk, the birds, the bees, the mushrooms, the trees.This is not a book of how-to or inspiration, though it could be read that way. Fans of Roxane Gay, Maggie Nelson, and Kiese Laymon will revel in Gay’s voice, and his insights. The Book of Delights is about our connection to the world, to each other, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. Gay’s pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight. 

The Book of Delights Details

TitleThe Book of Delights
Author
ReleaseFeb 12th, 2019
PublisherAlgonquin Books
ISBN-139781616207922
Rating
GenreWriting, Essays, Nonfiction, Poetry, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography

The Book of Delights Review

  • Laurie Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    Poet Ross Gay has written an exquisite collection of short essays. He is a master of observations, opening many of the essays with close attention to the details in his world then taking the reader along with him on a stroll through time, tenderness, and joy. Everybody in the whole world should buy and read this book. It was the perfect book with which to end 2018 and approach 2019 with some steadfast hope.You should also check out his event calendar and go listen to him when he is within a seve Poet Ross Gay has written an exquisite collection of short essays. He is a master of observations, opening many of the essays with close attention to the details in his world then taking the reader along with him on a stroll through time, tenderness, and joy. Everybody in the whole world should buy and read this book. It was the perfect book with which to end 2018 and approach 2019 with some steadfast hope.You should also check out his event calendar and go listen to him when he is within a seven-hour drive of your house: http://www.rossgay.net/calendar(I was fortunate enough to get an ARC at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association tradeshow.)
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  • Billie
    January 1, 1970
    I really needed this right now. I am grateful to Ross Gay for embarking upon a project to record one delight every day for a year and then finding a way to share those delights with all of us. Thank you, Mr. Gay, for being a light. The world needs you and people like you very much right now.February 3, 2019: So, I spent the last couple of days listening to the audiobook on my commute and, if possible, I might be even more in love with the book the second time around. If a book could be a hug, th I really needed this right now. I am grateful to Ross Gay for embarking upon a project to record one delight every day for a year and then finding a way to share those delights with all of us. Thank you, Mr. Gay, for being a light. The world needs you and people like you very much right now.February 3, 2019: So, I spent the last couple of days listening to the audiobook on my commute and, if possible, I might be even more in love with the book the second time around. If a book could be a hug, this book is a big, warm, lingering hug from a good friend on a bad day. So much love for this book that is, on the surface, not my kind of book.
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  • Jaime
    January 1, 1970
    This was, for lack of a better word, delightful. Or “delight-full,” quite literally. Gay’s warm prose is compulsively readable, and his eye for detail brings you deep into the little things. Sentences would bring me up short with their simple, obvious brilliance. Or observations would make me smile as I turned the page, nodding my head yes. At a time when we could all use some beauty, this was perfect.
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  • Beck
    January 1, 1970
    Having really liked Ross Gay's Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, I was very excited to read The Book of Delights. I absolutely loved it. Gay recorded daily delights for a year, and then collected them in this book of what he calls essayettes. (I would argue some could also be considered prose poems.) Gay has an incredible ability to see the absolute good in humanity, and he also stops and appreciates nature in all of its forms. I expected a lot of nature pieces due to his poetry, but what I didn't Having really liked Ross Gay's Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, I was very excited to read The Book of Delights. I absolutely loved it. Gay recorded daily delights for a year, and then collected them in this book of what he calls essayettes. (I would argue some could also be considered prose poems.) Gay has an incredible ability to see the absolute good in humanity, and he also stops and appreciates nature in all of its forms. I expected a lot of nature pieces due to his poetry, but what I didn't expect was that this book would be so funny. I kept giggling and reading parts aloud. I also deeply related to the essay about having to fix things in whatever way possible. There are more sobering entries as well, reflecting on racism and inequality. Ultimately this book really did make me think about all the little delightful things I gloss over in my own life, and I appreciated that. Everyone should read this. Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy!
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  • Karin Schott
    January 1, 1970
    This becomes the problem with a little book like this, you want to gobble it down. Sorta like potato chips. You promise yourself you'll only eat a handful. Enjoy their flavor, perhaps think on the salt on your tongue and before you know it, you've eaten the whole bag!
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  • Gretchen Lida
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book to teach us to look up and be rebellious enough to find beauty where we were told there was none. It is filled with Tiny essays, perfect for a read a day or to read all at once.
  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    Who doesn't want to read a collection of essays title The Book of Delights?! I parceled out these wonderful observations so that they would last. Reading one or two over my morning coffee were the perfect way to go into my day. Some of my favorites: Writing By Hand, Infinity and My Garden (Book). I guess I'll just have to start over!
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  • S. A. Hackett
    January 1, 1970
    As a 1st time reader of Gay’s work, I loved the simple and interesting real experiences he had that nerved him to write essays for a whole year. This ‘Book of Delights’ made me appreciate the little things and our journey as humans in a world where we’re all trying to live one day, one step, at a time. Buy this book!
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  • Georgette
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent reminder about how the small things in life are the things that bring the most delight.
  • James
    January 1, 1970
    (Rounded up from 3.5 stars)Poet Ross Gay challenged himself to write an essay every day for a year about something he found delight in. He edited the results down to this book, which is enchanting in its enthusiasm. From the joys of animal and plant interaction in his garden to his memories of dealing with family and friends to simply something that catches his eye, he finds a lot to delight him, even if it is sometimes tempered by consumerism, racism, and other cultural violence. In the end, hi (Rounded up from 3.5 stars)Poet Ross Gay challenged himself to write an essay every day for a year about something he found delight in. He edited the results down to this book, which is enchanting in its enthusiasm. From the joys of animal and plant interaction in his garden to his memories of dealing with family and friends to simply something that catches his eye, he finds a lot to delight him, even if it is sometimes tempered by consumerism, racism, and other cultural violence. In the end, his joy is infectious and the book is like reading the diary of a friend's ecstasy and joie de vivre. [I received an advanced e-galley of this book from Netgalley. The book is due to be published February
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  • Michelle Olms
    January 1, 1970
    Great book
  • Alexcia Massey
    January 1, 1970
    It is an odd, wordy book. I would recommend it because the concept is cool and it is delightful to read about others experiences.
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