cover image The Book of (More) Delights

The Book of (More) Delights

Ross Gay. Algonquin, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-64375-309-6

Poet Gay once again engages in a daily “delight practice” in the enchanting encore to The Book of Delights. In 81 brief essays, Gay turns his perpetually wonder-struck eye on the people and places around him, constructing an elaborate ode to the art of close attention. For example, in “The Lady in the Tree,” he spins a trip to the laundromat into a hallucinatory romp; in “Dream Dancing,” he falls into a synergistic dance with young people in a park; and in “One Million Kisses,” he overcomes his reservations about small dogs by caring for his mother-in-law’s “pipsqueak pup.” Through it all, Gay’s lyrical, stream-of-consciousness style—which always remains on the right side of saccharine (“Before you go there,” he addresses the reader, “I’m not being optimistic. I’m just paying attention”)—lends potentially mundane subject matter, such as stopping for lunch on a road trip or observing neighborhood garden gnomes, a shimmering, near-magical quality. These unforgettable vignettes will enhance readers’ appreciation for their own surroundings. Agent: Liza Dawson, Liza Dawson Assoc. (Sept.)