The Book of Delights

By Ross Gay,

Book cover of The Book of Delights: Essays

Book description

As Heard on NPR's This American Life
'The delights he extols here (music, laughter, generosity, poetry, lots of nature) are bulwarks against casual cruelties . . . contagious in their joy' New York Times

The winner of the NBCC Award for Poetry offers up a…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Book of Delights as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Sometimes you read a book that creates a seismic shift in how you view the world—The Book of Delights is that book.

Ross Gay shines light on wonderful little things in a poetic, deep, and introspective way that doesn't sidestep the fact that life is hard and ugly sometimes. Since reading this book, I’ve found myself noticing delightful things on a daily basis—a much-needed grounding practice when you’re feeling devastated by the state of the world.

In Ross Gay’s linked essay collection, The Book of Delights, the desire to record joyous observations, and to examine the complexities and “underbellies” of such quotidian moments—becomes, as the book progresses, an act of political commentary, and unexpected engagement of social justice. The essay, “Bird Feeding,” shows Gay obsessively watching a man feed a pigeon until their bodies—that of the man and that of the bird—seem to fuse together. “How often do you get to see someone slow dancing with a pigeon!” Gay exclaims, revealing the often-hidden tenderness that can exist between human beings and wild birds.   

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