About the book:
In the year 2017, Ross Gay embarked on a project to pen down daily delights for a year. The essays had some basic rules – begin and end on his birthday, August 1. Write daily. Draft them quickly, and write them by hand.
The essays were compiled into the New York Times Bestseller, The Book Of Delights published in 2019.
He returned to the project five years later on August 1, 2021. Sharing a new chronicle of small, daily wonders in The Book of (More) Delights. A book we need in these unsettling times.
We all are well acquainted with the benefits of a gratitude journal. Some of us maintain one too.
How about finding joy in the mundane and not-so-mundane? A free walking stick library at a Vermont trailhead. The pleasure of refusing the ubiquitous scannable QR code menus. The joyous squeal of a small child being thrown into the air. The aroma of freshly baked cookies. Blowing dandelions. Fluffball bunnies and squirrels.
“We do not sing about what delights us, what we love, only for ourselves. It’s for each other that we sing about what we love“
True to its name, the book is truly a delight to read. Consider it a book to turn to when you are having a bad day. To be comforted and affirm the joy in the world. It is not a book to be read in one sitting but one to take it slow and savor. A book that you can return to time and again. It hones your own delight radar to appreciate the simple joys of life. Some essays make you introspect. Some make you nostalgic. Some bring a smile to your face.
Apart from the 81 essays, it also includes an appendix of brief delights. Tiny delights that include people talking to their dog, a new book, or simply the word “belong”.
That said, the essays are not all sunshine and rainbows. The author also addresses racism, toxic masculinity, consumerism, lack of human interaction, and the continuous threats to our natural world.
“For the record, I do not think of this as looking on the bright side. I think of it as looking at everything.”
As much as I enjoyed reading the book, it does have its issues. Given the spontaneous nature of penning down the thoughts, the writing in some of the essays feels disjointed. Some feel repetitive too, but then, one cannot judge a person’s joy and gratitude. One does not connect with all the delights. That is what makes us human.
I would definitely recommend the book. It is indeed a powerful read. This is a book that inspires you to pen down your own daily delights. It has inspired me. I have also got my copy of the author’s Book Of Delights and will be picking it up soon.
About Ross Gay
Ross Gay is the New York Times bestselling author of the essay collections The Book of Delights and Inciting Joy and four books of poetry. His Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award; and Be Holding won the 2021 PEN America Jean Stein Book Award. Gay is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project and has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University.
I received a digital copy of the book from Algonquin Books for the blog tour. All opinions are my own.