Saturday, July 31, 2010


Several years ago when I wrote this poem for the opening of a small indie bookstore, I thought about the value of books and the waning sales at that time. Young people were caught up in video games instead of reading, while others spent most of their time working for the so-called "good life." Many of the wonderful classics, novels, and nonfiction books languished on shelves, gathering dust instead of inspiring dreams and changing lives. Hence "Books" was born.

Sadly, the struggling indie store went out of business a few years ago after a big chain moved into town and claimed the limited number of readers with its large inventory, variety coffees, and inviting areas to sit and read. Now, with the advent of ebooks, Kindle, etc., we are seeing a growing interest in books. Therefore, we writers and editors need to rethink the impact that books can have on lives and, by extension, on the need for quality reading for young and old alike. After all, that's our job, isn't it?


Where can you find the very best zoo?
Where can you learn exactly how to?
Where can you plan a flight to the moon?
Where can you seek the ways of a loon?

Where can you take a trip to the past?
Where can you join a big Broadway cast?
Where can you play in a Wild West show?
Where can you go that no one did go?

Where can you find unbeatable strength?
Where can you travel both breadth and length?
Where can you meet the great and the small?
Where can you grow to be ten feet tall?

Where can you find ways to get wealthy?
Where can you learn how to grow healthy?
How can you walk where ancestors trod
Or sail with Wynken, Blynken, and Nod?

You might be very surprised to know
That no matter where you want to go,
You have only to open a book—
Take a moment now for a quick look!

You can be mighty, you can be meek,
You can be plain, or you can be chic;
But it matters not which way you choose,
For you decide if you win or lose.

When you read a book, you grow inside,
Expand horizons, relish the ride,
Hitch your wagon to a rising star—
Who you want to be is who you are.

Read to your parents, read to your child,
Read to yourself, by books be beguiled;
Travel the world, the universe grand,
Your passport is the book in your hand.

by Linda Lane

I thought the picture might be fun . . . ah, to be 18 again! Linda Lane has written poetry since early in her elementary school days. In more recent years she graduated to novels, and then to editing. She loves to work with other writers to help them reach their goals and live their dreams.


  1. An alternative way to see it is that books is just a medium carrying the written word. Books became an efficient medium when Gutenberg invented printing (before that monks wrote copies of the Bible and other texts by hand). Today we have even more efficient media, like internet and e-books. Even though books and bookstores may be threatened, the written word is not, as you can see for instance from the millions of blogs around the internet. The written word itself is a lot more important than the medium used to spread it, I think >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  2. Reading to others is such a wonderful thing. My mother lost her vision in her last years and we enjoyed many books together. I would read and we would discuss after. Thanks for the reminder of how important books are to us.

  3. Oh, gorgeous photo Linda ;-)

    Cold As Heaven makes a really good point about media. But I do love to curl up with a chunky paperback!

    Word 4 Writers on HearWriteNow
    Blood-Red Pencil

  4. Good point about the importance of the words and not the medium, Cold as Heaven, but I'm glad paper books will not be gone entirely until after I am.

    Linda, enjoyed the poem and love the picture. Looks like a HS graduation picture from the same era I graduated.

  5. I'm a book-guy myself, and prefer to read stuff printed on old-fashioned paper. But I've also found that audio-books are very convenient. Then I can for instance paint the fence and listen to a play by Henrik Ibsen on my iPod at the same time >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  6. Ebooks, Kindles, and the like came into their own some years after this poem was written. I do, however, agree that electronic media offer alternative ways to enjoy good books and in no way demean their value.

  7. beautiful blog..pls visit mine and be a follower.. thanks and God bless..

  8. Books and reading are so important. I enjoyed the poem. Thanks for sharing!

  9. What a perfect poem, Linda -- I love books, so your words mean a lot to me.

    Also enjoyed the photo -- I've been looking at a lot of 50-year old graduation photos since I'm using them on the name tags for our high school reunion in September. A lot of fun, as long as I don't think about the changes too much. :)

  10. A wonderful poem Linda. What a great photo too.

    I don't think books will ever become obsolete. Rather the written word. The history of mankind is proof positive of it.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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