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Multnomah County Library announces Everybody Reads 2021 selection

Multnomah County Library will launch its 19th annual community reading project Everybody Reads with acclaimed author and poet Ross Gay and his collection of essays, The Book of Delights. 

The Book of Delights presents a compilation of daily, lyrical essays written by Gay over a year. Gay’s observations and reflections are a reminder and joyful celebration of everyday wonders that often go overlooked. His essays drift across a wide range of topics from the natural world to his experience living in America as a Black man. 

Gay is an acclaimed and award-winning poet. His 2015 book of poetry, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, among other awards, and was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry. 

Everybody Reads 2021 invites the community to explore daily, ordinary wonders and be awake to the beauty around us. The Book of Delights offers delight and attentiveness, and a chance to reflect on difficult subjects and discover humor, joy and charm. The library will distribute thousands of copies of The Book of Delights through libraries and high schools across Multnomah County next month as part of the project. Everybody Reads will culminate in a virtual author lecture with Ross Gay, presented by Literary Arts, on Thursday, April 8. 

The Book of Delights is a needed burst of sunshine at a time heavy with rage, sorrow and pain,” said Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke. “Ross Gay encourages us to exercise our delight muscle every day and to ‘attend to the ways we make each other possible’.”

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.  

How to participate

Through a shared reading experience, we will discuss issues that matter, learn from each other and promote greater understanding.


Patrons can check out The Book of Delights now. Extra copies of the books will be available next month at all neighborhood libraries, and downloadable audiobooks are available from the library catalog, thanks to the generous support of The Library Foundation.


Beginning next month, share your thoughts at an online book discussion. 


Attend an online program. The library will announce dates and locations at multcolib.org.

Be inspired.

Gay will present a virtual lecture on Thursday, April 8 at 6 pm. Tickets are available from Literary Arts.

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.

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