The Book of Delights

Between his 42nd and 43rd birthdays, Ross Gay--a National Book Award finalist for poetry for his Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude--decided to capture as many delights as possible, and spin them out into a series of "essayettes." The result, The Book of Delights, is a kaleidoscopic collection of joy.

Gay renders his delights in joyous, rambling prose: the whirring wings of a hummingbird, the Rothko-like effect of a weathered wooden backboard, the multi-layered affection of nicknames. In multiple essays, he addresses the complications of seeking and relishing delight as a black American, from the ritual of what he calls "The Negreeting" to the fact that his celebration of delight, as a black man, is a deliberate stand against "the commodification of black suffering." As the joys pile up--there's even an essay on "stacking delights"--Gay finds his delight radar growing more sensitive, his eyes and soul ever more attuned to good, to light, to wonder, to joy. Readers may find themselves pulling out pen and paper (another delight) to capture their own enchantments, or--at the very least--relishing every page of Gay's warm, wise, utterly captivating collection. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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