Emerging Critics

Summer Reading from Heather Scott Partington

By Heather Scott Partington

We asked the first class of NBCC Emerging Critics to tell us what they’ve been reading this summer. Here’s the first response:

In my other life I teach high school; June and July are mine, and I try to read what I want. Often this means I want to study some aspect of craft. I’m kicking off this summer with Joan Acocella’s excellent collection, Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints, which makes my dance-and-criticism-loving heart sing. After that, I’m hoping to absorb everything I can from Brief Encounters, the nonfiction anthology edited by Judith Kitchen and Dinah Lenney.

Summer is also when I’m free enough to read work by the amazing writers I know. This year the list includes Elizabeth Crane’s short story collection Turf, Tod Goldberg’s Gangster Nation, and hopefully Grace by Natashia Deón. Of course, I have an overly-ambitious and ever-growing list of books I want to run through in long, warmish days by the pool. Right now that includes Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Nathan Hill’s The Nix, Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers, J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, and George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo.

Heather Scott Partington is a writer, teacher, and book critic. She is a recipient of the Emerging Critics Fellowship from the National Book Critics Circle. Her writing has appeared at The Los Angeles Times, Ploughshares’ Blog, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a contributor to Goodreads, Las Vegas Weekly, and Electric Literature. Heather holds an MFA in Fiction from UC Riverside’s Palm Desert Campus. She teaches high school English and lives in Elk Grove, California with her husband and two kids.