Multnomah County Library invites the community to participate in Everybody Reads 2021 celebrating Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights.
Free copies of The Book of Delights are available to pick up at all library locations without a library card (while supplies last), or download the e-book or audiobook from the library catalog. The library encourages readers to discuss the book with friends, coworkers and neighbors. Weather and power may affect some library location operating hours this week. Check the library website for details.
The library will host a series of free online events and activities from March 1 through April 1. Events include Drawing for Delight, a reading and Q&A by Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani, and more. The library also encourages readers to share their own #DailyDelight on social media. View the full event schedule and project guide on the library’s website.
Gay will give a virtual talk, followed by a conversation with local bestselling author Lidia Yuknavitch, on Thursday, April 8 at 6 pm. Tickets are available from Literary Arts.
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.
Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry and an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Gay teaches at Indiana University.
Everybody Reads, a community reading project of Multnomah County Library, is made possible in part by The Library Foundation with author appearance made possible by Literary Arts. Programming support is also made possible in part by Pamplin Media Group and Oregon Public Broadcasting.