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Benjamin Alire Saenz Books In Order

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Publication Order of Aristotle and Dante Books

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Benjamin Alire Sáenz Standalone Novels

Carry Me Like Water (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The House of Forgetting (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
In Perfect Light (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Names on a Map (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
He Forgot to Say Goodbye (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Last Night I Sang to the Monster (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Benjamin Alire Sáenz Poetry Collections

Calendar of Dust (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Flowers for the Broken (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dark and Perfect Angels (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Elegies in Blue (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dreaming the End of War (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Book of What Remains (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Last Cigarette on Earth (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Benjamin Alire Sáenz Picture Books

A Gift from Papá Diego (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para soñar (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dog Who Loved Tortillas (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Story of Me (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Benjamin Alire Sáenz Non-Fiction Books

Finding Your Literary Voice (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon

Benjamin Aire Sarez was born on August 6 1954 at Old Picacho, New Mexico. He is the fourth out of seven children. Saenz was brought up on a small farm, which is located in Mesilla, New Mexico. He attended Las Cruz High School and graduated in the year 1972. After completing his high school education, he joined St. Thomas Seminary, which is located in Denver, Colorado, where he majored in philosophy and humanity. In the year 1977, he studied theologyin Belgium at the University of Louvain. He later on served as a priest in El Paso for several years before later on leaving the order. In the year 1985, he decided to return to school, thereby attending the University of Texas, where he majored in English and Creative writing.

A year after, Saenz was awarded with a Stagner Fellowship. While attending Stanford University, Saenz under the guidance of one Denise Levertov was able to complete his very first book, Calender of Dust, which was mainly poems. Before he completed his PHD, Saenz decided to move back to the border where he began teaching at the University of Texas in the MFA program. Saenz’s very first novel, Carry Me Like Water, is a saga which brought together the American latin tradition of magic realism and the Victorian novel. In the year 2005, Saenz curated a show of photographs. Towards the late 2000’s Saenz announced that he was gay. At this point in time, he was aged 54 years.

Throughout many interviews, Saenz acknowledged that he experienced difficulties coming into term with his sexuality since ever since he was a child, he has always been sexually abused. It was during this period that he began exploring the LGBT themes especially in his writings, as a channel that he could be able to work his way as being gay. In the author’s fifth book of poems, The Book of What Remains, Saenz writes to the central truth of life’s ever changing memories. Set on the Mexican border, the contrast between the border’s harsh politics and deserts austere beauty mirror’s the capacity of humanity for both cruelty and generosity.

Up to date, Saenz is a teacher of Creative writing at the critically acclaimed Texas University. He is also the co-host of KTEP produced online show and radio on writing and writers. In the year 2013, Saenz was the recipient of the Faulkner Award for fiction, for Everything Begins. He made history by becoming the very first Latino writer to receive the award. He is also the recipient of two awards during the 2013 Lambda Literary Award in two major categories. In the year 2014, Saenz was announced as a winner of the prestigious NSK Children’s literature awards.


Aristotle and Dante is one of the best performing books by Benjamin Alire Saenz. In this book we are introduced to Aristotle who is an angry teenager with an older brother in prison. Dante is a boy who knows it all and has an exceedingly unusual way of looking into the world. When Aristotle and Dante first met at a swimming pool, they appeared to have nothing in common. However, since they were loners, they started to spend their spare time together and in the process created a special kind of friendship. The type of friendship that last a lifetime and also changes the world. It is through the friendship that was created that Aristotle and Dante are going to learn the imperative truth about who they really are and the men they ought to become in the future. The friendship between Dante and Aristotle is a balancing friendship between tender and sweet, serious and playfulness, full of interactions and always questioning the world.

This is basically a beautiful story about friendship. The story is basically narrated from Aristotle’s main point of view. Aristotle is a loner who loves to wallow in loneliness and is always in a constant state of anger as well. He is angry at the secrets that his family keeps from him. His father who is not talkative and open also angers him. Dante on the other hand is the exact opposite of Aristotle. He is not only quick to laugh but to play also as well. Apart from being a crier he is also a philosopher and an artist. Eventually as it turns out, the two are not o different from one another. As the story progresses, Aristotle becomes conversant with philosophy and poetry. The letting go of the anger that Aristotle possess becomes the main driving point of this novel, one that not only comes with life-discovery but also self-discovery.

It is exceedingly interesting the manner in which Aristotle’s narrative is to some extent unreliable, though this is not on purpose since it is exceedingly clear that Aristotle mainly represents his feellings and does not tell others about several other things. This story is an intelligent, smart and an engaging coming of age narrative that gives a deep thoughtful exploration of identity and sexuality. As it eventually turns out that both this characters are gay, though it takes Aristotle almost the entire book before he came into terms with his sexuality. On the other Dante is exceedingly comfortable with who he is as a person and about his sexuality as well. Apart from sexuality, the author has explored their other sides such as they are Mexican Americans.

Both of these characters are closing to adulthood, and the author has done an excellent job of competently evidencing the moments that a person tries to define who they are and also how they want to be eventually. Apart from family history, there is also social expectations and restrictions of what a man should be. This book also addresses bigotry and violence together with acceptance and love as well. Each of the character in this installment has been fantastically displayed and if you are a fan of novels that involve families, then this can be the perfect choice.

Aristotle and Dante is a book about family, ho exactly one should relate to them especially upon finding out that you are now becoming an adult. The author has also given a lot of care to Dante and Aristotle’s parents. With that said, Ari and Dante did not only discover the secret about the Universe by they also discovered who they were and who they were supposed to be when they became adults.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Benjamin Alire Saenz

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