Alexander Danner is Porter Square Books’ graphic novel expert, and he has a penchant for literary sci-fi and magical realism. He also wears several literary hats: Alexander co-wrote Comics: A Global History, 1968-Present with Dan Mazur, teaches at Emerson College, and is currently working on a radio drama. Some of his top books of the moment include:
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Alexander describes Chiang’s book as a science fiction of linguistics with a heartbreaking plot: a linguist makes first contact with alien culture, but learning the language alters her perception of time.
The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli
According to Alexander, Luiselli’s second novel (which was written in conjunction with juice factory workers in Mexico) is a wild, fun, compelling story featuring an auctioneer selling teeth.
Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio by Jessica Abel
Alexander recommends this book for anyone who has an interest in a behind-the-scenes look at journalistic radio. It’s also great, Alexander said, because it is a comic about radio.
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
Alexander picked this book and laughed. “She’s so hard to even discuss, she’s so good.” One of Alexander’s favorites in this collection, he said, is about a superhero convention and a dentist convention (we are back to teeth again) taking place in the same hotel.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Of North’s book, Alexander writes: “With a premise in the great tradition of Groundhog Day, North has created a unique species of humans who live in eternal loops—returning to their moment of birth after each death, the entire world seemingly reset, all their failures and accomplishments erased, but with memories intact. They live lives free of consequence, free to follow new paths, new ambitions, new loves each time. Until one among them does the unthinkable, and finds a way to change the world permanently.”
Thanks to Alexander for these recommendations, and to Intern Kaitlin Astrella for interviewing and transcribing this feature.