“Just Passing Time” and “The Best American Series”

Book Reviews by Michelle Goetzl

If you are searching for some down-home traditional storytelling, you will find that in Richmond County’s J.A. Bolton and his collection of short stories, “Just Passing Time.” The book, published by St. Andrews Press, tells tales about country living in North Carolina with a distinctly Southern voice.

Bolton’s book harkens back to a time that we often feel has disappeared, a time when we were not so burdened with technology and when people sat around the campfire after dinner and told stories.
“Just Passing Time” is a love letter to the art of storytelling and to a simpler life. As the back of his book promises, the short tales are filled with “coon hounds, fishing crappie, a tater pie, rattlesnakes, hunting, gigging suckers, an old truck, the Greatest Generation, cowboys, and much, much more.”

His stories are meant to entertain readers of all ages. If you’ve ever loved a hunting dog or taken pleasure in a good day of fishing, you will probably enjoy Bolton’s stories, regardless of whether you are 5 or 95. And if you have lived in North Carolina for most of your life, his stories will take you back to a time when farming was still the main industry and children spent hours of their days just playing in the woods.

If you are a fan of short pieces of writing, fall is also the time that the latest edition of “The Best American Series” arrives in bookstores. This series has been around for years and continues to put together anthologies of amazing writing.

For the short story aficionado, “The Best American Short Stories” is a personal favorite. This collection has been published every year since 1978 with a different guest editor, and therefore a different flavor, every year. When you don’t have the ability to get lost in a full novel, short stories are a wonderful way to escape reality for short time.

Sports lovers have been enjoying “The Best American Sports Writing” for 25 years. The articles themselves are often timeless and touch on sports triumphs and tragedies.
A love for travel? “The Best American Travel Writing” allows readers to get a window into worlds they perhaps haven’t been able to see for themselves and experience the scope of humanity that is this large world we live in.

“The Best American Series” has something for everyone. Each book gives readers tastes of a wide array of writing published in magazines and newspapers over the past year. Fiction or non-fiction, this series has stood the test of time.


Goetzl writes an online blog—“Books My Kids Read.” She loves books and sharing that love of reading with children. She can be reached at booksmykidsread@gmail.com