Modern Delight is a collection of short essays by some of today’s eminent authors, artists, actors, politicians, comedians and celebrities on what gives them delight. The inspiration for the book came from JB Priestley’s Delight which has been re-released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication.
The book gave me immense pleasure – I read a few ‘delights’ each night and frequently found myself laughing, or sharing quotes with my husband. Even the ones which weren’t funny left me with a warm, glowing feeling.
My favourite essay was the one in which Harry Hill (a British comedian) delights in the tormenting of telemarketers.
‘Hello, to who am I speaking please?’
‘It’s to whom am I speaking. You could say “Who am I speaking to?” But not to who am I speaking please.’
‘To whom…I mean, who am I speaking to?’
‘To whom am I speaking?’
‘I’m calling from – Replacement windows.’
‘At last!!’ (as if calling to someone in another room) ‘Darling! fantastic news! – Replacement windows have called us!’
The mad conversation continues and I was crying with laughter by the end.
If you aren’t a fan of comedy then there are a lot more serious, thoughtful delights. I loved Lionel Shriver talking about ‘when anything goes right’ and agree completely with Clive James’s delight in the second-hand bookshop, but one of the most amazing delights was Charley Boorman talking about harvesting potatoes with his motorbike for which he thought after reading at Motorbike Sport. I wasn’t sure this was possible, so was very excited to see this video, proving it to be true!
There are over 80 contributors and I think this book would make a lovely gift. All profits raised from the sale of the book will be donated to Waterstone’s charity partners, Dyslexia Action and the London Library. Unfortunately, this book is only available from Waterstones in the UK, but if you are able to get hold of it, then I’m sure you will be delighted!
Have you read the original Delight?
What would your modern delight be?