“The Book of Delights” by Ross Gay is 2021 One Maryland One Book Selection
Maryland Humanities’ Statewide Reading and Discussion Program Enters Fourteenth Year
(Baltimore, MD) —Maryland Humanities is pleased to announce the selection of The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay for the 2021 One Maryland One Book program. The Book of Delights is a collection of lyrical essays. Gay wrote one essay per day over a year and took the time to find “delights” in his everyday life. The essays range in topic from the beauties in nature to what it is to be a black man in America. Readers can look to Gay’s collection as a guide to finding their own daily “delights.” The book was chosen by a committee of librarians, educators, authors, and bibliophiles in February from more than 160 titles suggested last fall by readers across the state for the theme, “Hope.”
“Strife on a global scale makes me people hunger for hope, which is what makes The Book of Delights a perfect selection for One Maryland One Book this year,” says Lindsey Baker, Executive Director at Maryland Humanities. “Ross Gay also doesn’t shy away from life’s hardships. It’s is the first book of essays ever chosen for the program, giving Marylanders a wide range of topics to discuss. We look forward to hearing about these conversations.”
Gay says: “I’m so grateful that The Book of Delights was chosen for One Maryland One Book. It feels lucky to get to share this collection of questions and wonderings with you all for so many reasons (one of them that my big brother was an English teacher in Frederick a couple decades ago!). And I’m really looking forward to the conversations we’ll have about the book this fall.”
About the Book
In The Book of Delights, one of today’s most literary voices offers up a genre-defying volume of lyric essays written over one tumultuous year. The first nonfiction book from award-winning poet Ross Gay is a record of the small joys we often overlook in our busy lives. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, cradling a tomato seedling aboard an airplane, 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 any 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.
About the Author
Ross Gay is the author of The Book of Delights, a genre-defying book of essays, and four books of poetry, including his most recent, Be Holding, a love song to legendary basketball player Julius Erving—known as Dr. J—who dominated courts in the 1970s and ‘80s as a small forward for the Philadelphia ‘76ers. Gay is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine “Some Call it Ballin’.” A founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project, Gay has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University.
About One Maryland One Book
When we read a great book, we can’t wait to share the experience and talk about it with others. That’s one of the joys of reading.
In that spirit, through our Maryland Center for the Book program, Maryland Humanities created One Maryland One Book (OMOB) to bring together diverse people in communities across the state through the shared experience of reading the same book. We invite readers to participate in book-centered discussions and related programs at public libraries, high schools, colleges, museums, bookstores, and community and senior centers around the state.
OMOB programs, including an author tour, take place each year in the fall. A calendar of free public events—including the Author Tour—will be available online beginning this summer.
One Maryland One Book is presented in partnership with Enoch Pratt Free Library and is sponsored by The Institute of Museum and Library Services via the Maryland State Library as well as PNC Foundation and BGE, with additional support from M&T Bank, an anonymous donor, and the Citizens of Baltimore County.
About Maryland Center for the Book
The Maryland Center for the Book (MCFB)—an affiliate of the national Center for the Book in the Library of Congress—develops and supports literary programs and outreach activities that engage citizens across Maryland in literature and reading. As a program of Maryland Humanities, MCFB highlights our region’s literary heritage and calls attention to the importance of books, reading, literacy, and libraries.
Want to discuss the book now or get updates on upcoming events? Join the conversation on the Maryland Center for the Book Facebook page. Connect with Maryland Humanities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.