Fiction Holiday Picks
The New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Delights and Inciting Joy is back with exactly the book we need in these unsettling times.
“Yes, please. I'll have another dose of delight.” —Margaret Roach, New York Times
In Ross Gay’s new collection of small, daily wonders, again written over the course of a year, one of America’s most original voices continues his ongoing investigation of delight.
For Gay, what delights us is what connects us, what gives us meaning, from the joy of hearing a nostalgic song blasting from a passing car to the pleasure of refusing the “nefarious” scannable QR code menus, from the tiny dog he fell hard for to his mother baking a dozen kinds of cookies for her grandchildren. As always, Gay revels in the natural world—sweet potatoes being harvested, a hummingbird carousing in the beebalm, a sunflower growing out of a wall around the cemetery, the shared bounty from a neighbor’s fig tree—and the trillion mysterious ways this glorious earth delights us.
The Book of (More) Delights is a volume to savor and share.
“Ross Gay’s eye lands upon wonder at every turn, bolstering my belief in the countless small miracles that surround us.” —Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate
The winner of the National Book Critics Award for Poetry offers up a spirited collection of short lyrical essays, written daily over a tumultuous year, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders.
In The Book of Delights, one of today’s most original 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 acknowledgment 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 else, 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.
In these gorgeously written and timely pieces, prizewinning poet and author Gay considers the joy we incite when we care for each other, especially during life’s inevitable hardships. Throughout Inciting Joy, he explores how we can practice recognizing that connection, and also, crucially, how we can expand it.
In “We Kin,” Gay thinks about the garden (especially around August, when the zucchini and tomatoes come in) as a laboratory of mutual aid; in “Share Your Bucket,” he explores skateboarding’s reclamation of public spaces; he considers the costs of masculinity in “Grief Suite”; and in “Through My Tears I Saw,” he recognizes what was healed in caring for his father as he was dying.
In an era when divisive voices take up so much airspace, Inciting Joy offers a vital alternative: What might be possible if we turn our attention to what brings us together, to what we love?
Taking a clear-eyed look at injustice, political polarization, and the destruction of the natural world, Gay shows us how we might resist, how the study of joy might lead us to a wild, unpredictable, transgressive, and unboundaried solidarity. In fact, it just might help us survive.
“A gift that’s meant to be shared . . . [This book] inspires us to look beyond the miseries of our era to envision a more welcoming future.”―The Washington Post
Nonfiction Holiday Picks
The New York Times-bestselling guide to botany and booze celebrates its 10th anniversary with an updated edition—now including a guide to planting your very own cocktail garden to go with more than fifty drink recipes. This fascinating, go-to text about the plants that make our drinks is the ideal gift book for every cocktail aficionado, the perfect drinks book for every plant-lover.
Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.
Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs—but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history.
This charming concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology, and mixology—with delightful drawings, tasty cocktail recipes, and fun factoids throughout—will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.
“A book that makes familiar drinks seem new again . . . Through this horticultural lens, a mixed drink becomes a cornucopia of plants.”—NPR's Morning Edition
“Amy Stewart has a way of making gardening seem exciting, even a little dangerous.” —The New York Times