A good friend recommended that I read a book called Delight by J B Priestley.
Although I’m reasonably well read, I’d never read any Priestley (unless I had some force fed at school, but I don’t recall) so I took up the recommendation and ordered this book. Apparently Priestly was a notorious curmudgeon and classic miserable Yorkshireman (not that we’re all that way out, but we have our moments) and this book was a reaction against that. He decided to write about the things in life that delighted him and in which he found joy.
Interesting then, to read the preface by Priestley titled ‘the grumbler’s apology’ – where he makes no bones about how miserable he had and could be and that, ‘rest assured, if I looked miserable on the outside, I was feeling far worse inside’.
Although the book was written in 1949, there are many timeless delights as you would expect and some that are definitely of their time. It’s a book perfect for dipping in and out of at times when you have a few minutes as the book comprises a series of essays on a wide variety of subject matter.
A few that have stood out for me so far are:
Fountains – everyone likes them and they still continue to draw people to them
Waking to smell bacon – of course
Coming home – even though we moan endlessly about it, it’s still home
Shopping in small places – even in 1949, small shops were a delight and still are
Bragging – we imagine that we’re being modest, but we’re not really and we secretly like it
On top of all this great stuff, it’s a beautifully packaged little book printed on lovely ivory paper and the typography is exquisite. It’s designed in a timeless, classical format and typeset in an Eric Gill font, Perpetua. In fact, that’s another delight to add to all of the others.