A little help from a friend

Jack Smiles and I have been friends for 20 years. But we’re more than just friends. We’re writing buddies. When we worked together in the same newsroom, we’d often ask each other to listen to a sentence we just wrote, or to come up with a better verb than the one we were using.
One day I told Jack had had shared with my students the old Dorothy Parker comment, “I hate to write, I love to have written.”
“I know what she means,” Jack said. “But I disagree. I actually like the process. I like tracking down information. I like figuring out how to put it all together.”
“You know,” I said, “so do I.”
I’ve been telling students about that conversation ever since.
As writers, Jack and I know the value of reading. When on the opening page of his latest book “Broken,” Don Winslow printed, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that,” by Stephen King, I couldn’t wait to share it with Jack.
I’m not sure if that prompted him to write a little something about books, but he did. And then sent it to me to use as, in his words, “a guest blog.”
At first, I declined. “Use it somewhere yourself,” I wrote back. “Start a blog of your own. You’d be great at it.”
“Nah,” he said. “I wouldn’t know how to go about doing that. You use it.”
So, I am.
The following is by Jack Smiles, guest blogger for today.
I have to admit, I’m kinda hoping he makes a habit out of this.

From Smiles:
I got books
I bought books at yard sales, estates sales, flea markets and used bookstores. There was such a store near my house called “10,000 Books.” Probably could be called 9,950 thanks to me. Baseball, travel, war, animals, television, the Beatles, and other ‘60s and ‘70s rockers were my favorite subjects. I was also gifted a lot of books on those same subjects. I have books where they belong, on shelves in our living room and home office, and where they don’t, in boxes in closets, in totes and stacked on the floor next to my side of the bed.
I’m in my 70s now and I have a ton of books. And I don’t think I’m using “ton” euphemistically. My 1948 copy of “The Library of Health” is 1800 pages and it alone weighs eight pounds. Today it could fit on a chip the size of a grain of sand with room for the Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes, of which I have two.
I used to think it was cool to find, for 5 or 10 bucks, a coffee table copy of “The British Invasion” or “Maps of Civil War Battles” or “The Immortal John Lennon” published at 40 to 60 dollars.
Now I think it would be cool to be get rid of them, but I can’t. I lugged a hundred of them to my yard for a tag sale and nobody even looked at them. Nobody reads anymore, books at least, and everybody has a device in their pocket to tell them anything they need to know.
We’re getting a dumpster soon. Hope I don’t injure my back.

Ed Ackerman