Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A good book can warm up even the coldest moments

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so...

Hey, it’s February, and we live in Ohio, Bunky. So get over it.

Of course the weather outside is frightful. What did you expect? Warm breezes wafting over the palm trees along Lake Erie?

It has been a miserable winter, one of the worst in history, so be prepared to deal with it. Enjoy the weather...indoors.

There is a lot to do indoors. Yes, football season is over, and baseball doesn’t start for a few weeks, but if you are determined to watch TV there should be some great golf this afternoon from Pebble Beach.

Even better, listen to some music. Or read a good book (after you are finished with the paper, of course.)

Speaking of music, the lady of the house decided to seek out some records by Andrea Bocelli, so I drove her over to Barnes and Noble the other day.

(They are actually compact discs, but to me, anything circular that has music on it I still call — and will always call — a record. The 78 and 45 rpms are obviously records, but so are LPs and CDs. A cassette tape hardly qualifies as a record, but it contains recorded material, so in a way, I guess, it is a record. But I digress.)

To be fully factual, I first drove her to the Mall for her obligatory stops at the makeup counters at Macy’s and Dillard’s. But I knew where the record store was.

Right across from Dairy Queen, I said. “That’s where you got me that Frank Sinatra six-pack for my birthday a couple of years ago.”


We went there. It is now an elephant store. I asked around. Last year it went by three letters. I forget what they were. Before that it was Camelot.

Now it is something in which I have not the slightest interest. So we went to B&N.

She discovered four Andrea Bocelli records (CDs) which she absolutely had to have — two for herself and two as gifts.

One is also a DVD “combo.” What a treat that will be! What an unexpected bonus!

(My understanding is that a DVD is something like a movie. You plug it into the silver box next to the TV, push all the right buttons, then sit back and relax. A talking movie — in living color.)

When the great comedian Fred Allen once said he was suspicious of radio because he didn’t trust furniture that talks, he had no idea what might lie ahead. Furniture that not only talks, but has color pictures of people singing. What next?

Well, she joined the B&N club so that her future purchases would be at a discount, and guess what?

On the way out I saw a display of two books I have been wanting but never got around to purchasing.
They were “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy,” by Bill O’Reilly.

That’s what I want for my birthday this year, I told her.

And presto, it was done. She bought both of them, and now I will start reading them — in the dead of winter — as a way of getting through the dreary days between football season and baseball season.

For all I know, I may be the last person in the country to read “Killing Lincoln.”

When I am finished, I may write a fawning letter to O’Reilly telling him how much I liked it, and add a footnote to guarantee my note will be printed on his “Factor” program.

“OK, wise guy,” I will say, “now when are you going to write ‘Killing Garfield’ and ‘Killing McKinley.’ We have some Ohio guys who were assassinated, you know.”

I have two other books I am already working on in this horrible winter of epic proportions. One was a gift from a former mayor of Willoughby Hills, Mel Schaefer, “as a token of my appreciation to you for your many years of friendship and support.”

Mel is a great guy and a Great American. And the book, “Life Is a Gift,” by Tony Bennett, is a great book. I will be finished with it soon.

My other new book is by an unlikely author. He is my friend Damon Rodehorst, son of Wayne Rodehorst, the first president of Lakeland Community College.

The book is called “Keystate,” and though I have read just a couple of chapters, I would say Damon has a bright future as an author. All he really needs is a publisher and an agent.

His novel is loosely based on an experience he had running a company near Pittsburgh. His company was Keystate Oil, and the book is a story of corporate greed, corruption and financial manipulation – and the Russian Mafia.

Damon says his book is fiction, and the real characters are now in jail.

Swell. I hope I get finished reading the book before they get out.


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