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The Old Scout

December 22, 2008 | 4 Comments

Post to the Host:
I wonder if you have ever thought you might publish all of the essays in The Old Scout in book fashion?

I know hundreds of people here who would rush out and buy copies. Please, if you do this, don't edit a word!

Patience W.
Shaftesbury, England

I don't know what the point of book publication is, Patience, if the entire body of newspaper columns is archived online at Anybody who wishes can read any of them free. The only reason to put them in a book is to have the chance to rewrite them and I don't know if I have the stomach for that or not. They're short newspaper columns, 750 words, not essays and not letters, and I think the only reason to put them in a book is personal vanity, which goodness knows I have plenty of, but am not sure that a collection of hastily-written columns would serve my vanity all that well. But I do intend to publish a collection of sonnets, including the Christmas sonnet I did on the show tonight (Dec. 20).

"The Old Scout" articles are also available here.


Dear GK, Patience has a point; books are more permanent than web archives, more accessible and easier to read than a computer screen or handsful of printouts. Many books have been assembled from newspaper columns, so why not yours? Please consider it, and Merry Christmas!

I agree with Patience and James. Ever try to curl up with a computer to enjoy a good read?

Ever try to balance your lap top on your knees while taking a long hot bath?

Reading bent over a keyboard leads to bad posture.

English majors should strive for something a person will pick up in a good used bookstore 20 years from now.

Thanks to Patience for her post concerning the Old Scout columns!! I found them alright and they're marvelous, but I could not really enjoy them -- I've chosen not to be on the tech fast track in my personal life.

I could boot up, log in, click and clack, set in my office chair and read a few of the columns -- that's NOT for me and, I'm certain, for many of your fans. I'd much prefer a marvelous book through which I can leaf and read a column as it catches my eye.

I agree with Patience, James, and Hedd: A book outweighs a web site in all respects.

Please seriously consider publishing them for the many of us who cling to our books and our love of your life's outlook.


I agree with the above posters -- and with Emily Dickinson:

"There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!"

And with all due respect, Mr. Keillor, not everybody has a computer, or access to one. But even the poorest individual can check out a book from the public library.

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