The Book of Delightsby Ross Gay Published 12 Feb 2019
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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" Reviews
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.)
Absolutely delightful. Review to come
This is such a delightful book. It's politically engaged, and yet it refuses to be cynical. It's funny, sexy, unabashedly joyful and it inspired me to start my own catalogue of delights. And perhaps just as importantly, Ross Gay has found more ways to talk about the physical feeling of joy than I though possible (some of my favorite: "All the herons in my chest whacking unrepentantly into the sky" and "My heart cooing like a pigeon nestled on a windowsill where the spikes rusted off.")
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.
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.
I enjoyed reading this collection of short essays . Gay wrote an essay a day (mostly) on the little things that brought him delight that day. I dipped in and out of this over the course of a week -- there was something wonderful about a daily practice of noticing and appreciating the little things that can bring us joy if we slow down enough to be aware of them.