The Book of Delights

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. 

Title:The Book of Delights
ISBN:9781616207922

    The Book of Delights Reviews

  • Sean Gibson

    A delightful buddy read with the delightful Allie, who is working hard to remedy her many Nicolas Cage-related character defects. We are disappointed in her progress, but we choose to believe that hum...

  • Laurie Anderson

    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 al...

  • Billie

    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 y...

  • Ellie

    I loved Ross Gay's volume of poetry, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude so I was eager to read this book of essays. Plus I'm always looking for ways to increase my own gratitude, to notice what is good in...

  • Ken

    These essays are briefer than Fruit of the Loom, most three pages or less in an already-miniature-sized book. If you're looking to compare Ross Gay to stellar essayists like David Shields, John D'Agat...

  • Allison

    Absolutely delightful. Review to come ...

  • Sarah

    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 j...

  • Allie

    Buddy read with the delightful Sean, OG of GR, whose hilarious review can be found here:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Poet Ross Gay turns to prose to capture moments of delight in his daily...

  • Gretchen Lida

    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. ...

  • Jaime

    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. Sen...