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One Book, One Community looks at a ‘Book of Delights’ by Ross Gay

Program is part of the Utah Humanities Book Festival

The Park City and Summit County libraries, along with Dolly's Bookstore, have selected Ross Gay's "The Book of Delights" for this year's One Book, One Community read. One Book, One Community is a program that strives to improve Utah communities through reading, literature and conversations with authors and among each other.
Courtesy of the Park City Library

Park City and Summit County libraries will open a new chapter for the One Book, One Community this month.

The libraries, along with Dolly’s Bookstore and the Utah Humanities Book Festival, have selected Ross Gay’s New York Times best-seller, “Book of Delights” as this year’s book.

Gay is an essayist and poet and English professor at Indiana University. He wrote an essay almost every day for one year and published the writings as a book, said Kate Mapp, Park City Library adult services librarian.



“The book was published in 2019, so it isn’t a COVID reflection,” Mapp said. “But a lot of the topics he writes about really speak to what we’ve gone through in the past year — Black Lives Matter, racism and the difficulties surrounding those conversations.”

Gay finds delight in each topic he writes about, even though he addresses some heavy themes, Mapp said.



“He may talk about racism and then go off on a tangent about something that made him happy, and then bring the thoughts back around to the original topic,” she said. “It’s a feel-good book, but also helps you think deeply about society.”

Summit County Library Director Daniel Compton also felt “Book of Delights” was a good choice.

“It is a good read, especially after the tumultuous 2020, and the things we are still going through,” he said. “With everything going on in the world, this book gives us a second to pause, look around and see what we’re grateful for, even if they are small things that we may sometimes take for granted.”

The book is available at Dolly’s Bookstore and at Park City and Summit County libraries. It can also be downloaded as a virtual book or audio book through the Libby app, Mapp said.

“If you do download the book, I would suggest the audio version, because it is read by Ross Gay,” she said. “When you listen to him reading, you can pick up on a lot of nuances and streams of consciousness. You get to know him as a person.”

Those who wish to read Gay’s words will also enjoy the prose, because the book is a casual read, Compton said.

“You can read the book in chunks, because it’s not a long narrative novel,” he said. “It’s easy to read a couple of essays a day.”

One Book, One Community will culminate with Gay’s author presentation at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6, via Zoom and Facebook Live, and both libraries will host free related activities that will lead up to that event, according to Mapp and Compton.

A community book discussion about “Book of Delights” is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Park City Library’s outdoor Reading Garden, Mapp said.

“We will touch on some of the difficult conversations that are found in the book, talk about Ross Gay as a person and discuss the experiences we had while reading the book,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you haven’t finished the book or haven’t started it and want to find out more, we would just like people to come to the event.”

In keeping with the journaling aspect of “Book of Delights,” Compton thought it would be a good idea to provide readers a journal-making kit, which can be picked up at the Summit County Library’s Kimball Junction branch from Sept. 20-29.

“People just visit the Summit County Library website and register for a kit,” he said.

Those who receive kits will then be able to take part in a journaling class at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, at the Kimball Junction branch, Compton said.

“The class will be taught by one of our librarians, Rachel Spohn,” he said. “The class will give people ideas, prompts and tips on how to record things in their lives that are important to them.”

The plan is to hold the class in person, but if that changes, the library will let registrants know, Compton said.

A couple of days before Gay’s virtual presentation, the Summit County Library Kamas Valley branch will host a virtual group discussion at 4 p.m. on Oct. 4, he said.

The One Book, One Community is part of the Utah Humanities Book Festival, a program that strives to improve Utah communities through reading, literature and conversations with authors and each other, according to its mission statement.

“For the past 10 to 12 years, Summit County Library, Park City Library and Dolly’s Bookstore have partnered to have everyone read one book, host discussions and invite the author in for a lecture,” Mapp said. “It’s one of our biggest events and one of our favorite events of the year, because, along with the local author events, these presentations speak to the community through a great collaboration across libraries and other organizations. It’s neat to partner with them to bring a quality program to the community.”

Additional Utah Humanities Book Festival events in Park City and Summit County

• Phyllis Barber, “The Desert Between Us,” 11 a.m., Sept. 11, Park City Library

• Emma Greally, “Utah’s Latin America in Black and White,” 6 p.m., Sept. 13, Park City Library

• Emma Greally, “Utah’s Latin America in Black and White,” in Spanish, 6 p.m., Sept. 14, Park City Library

• Dr. Roberto Cintli Rodriguez and artist Jorge Rojas, “Our Sacred Maiz is Our Mother/People of Corn,” 7 p.m., Sept. 15, Kimball Art Center

• Book discussion about Ross Gay, “Book of Delights,” 10 a.m., Sept. 18, Park City Library Reading Garden

• Christian McKay Heidicker, “Scary Stories for Young Foxes,” 7 p.m., Sept. 21, Park City Library

• Elisabet Velasquez, “When We Make It,” 7 p.m., Sept. 29, Park City Library

• Eli Knapp, “Dead Serious,” 7 p.m. Oct. 2, Park City Library

• Journaling Workshop, 6:30 p.m., Sept. 30, Summit County Library Kimball Junction branch

• Book discussion about Ross Gay, “Book of Delights,” 4 p.m., Zoom with the Summit County Library

• Ross Gay,” Book of Delights,” 7 p.m., Oct. 6, Zoom with the Park City Library

• Melissa Marsted, “The Mystery of Luci’s Missing Lantern,” 10 a.m., Oct. 9, Park City Museum

• Tiffany Rosenham, “A Girl From Nowhere,” 7 p.m., Oct. 12, Park City Library

• Daniel Cureton, “Monster Brain: Conversations with OCD,” 6 p.m., Oct. 14, Park City Library

• Wendy Troxel, “Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep,” 6:30 p.m., Oct. 20, Park City Library

• Tope Folarin, “A Particular Kind of Black Man,” 7 p.m., Oct. 28, Park City Library

For information, visit parkcitylibrary.org, thesummitcountylibrary.org, dollysbookstore.com and utahhumanities.org


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