A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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 spirited collection of short lyric essays, written daily over a tumultuous year, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders.
Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, cradling a tomato seedling aboard an aeroplane, the silent nod of acknowledgement between the only two black people in a room. But Gay never dismisses the complexities, even the terrors, of living in America as a black man or the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture or the loss of those he loves. More than anything other subject, though, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world – his garden, the flowers peeking out of the sidewalk, the hypnotic movements of a praying mantis.
The Book of Delights is about our shared bonds, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. These remarkable pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight.
‘These charming, digressive “essayettes” surprise and challenge more than a reader might expect . . . experiences of “delight,” recorded daily for a year, vary widely but yield revealing patterns through insights about everything from nature and the body to race and masculinity.’ New Yorker
‘Pure balm for your soul. Savor one at a time every morning, this summer, or wolf them all down en masse on a gorgeous sunny day.’ Celeste Ng
‘A reminder of what the personal essay is best at: finding the profound in the mundane . . . His delight is infectious. It’s hard to read Gay and not to be won over.’ Seattle Times
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