The cover of “Long Stories Cut Short.” Credit: Courtesy of Frederick Luis Aldama

A new book at the Wexner Center for the Arts Bookstore aims to bridge the gap between the spiritual and physical borders for Latin American people in America.

Frederick Luis Aldama, distinguished professor of English at Ohio State, wrote “Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands,” a fictional compilation of short stories.

The book features short stories that are 750 words or less in length, all of which touch on themes of family, romance, migration and the eccentricities of everyday life. Each story offers a snapshot of what it means to exist physically and spiritually in the borderlands of the Americas today, according to a press release. Aldama said the borderlands can be physical, like a border between countries, or a spiritual border for Latinos adjusting to life in a different culture.

Aldama, who specializes in Latino pop culture, has authored, co-authored or edited a combined 26 books, most of which focus on teaching cultural theory and Latin American cultural phenomena. “Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands” is his first published book of fiction.

“I love novels, but I also love comics and the short form for narrations, and combining these two allows for the massive expansion of the imagination when it comes to a rich understanding of what it means to be Latino,” said Aldama, who co-founded SÕL-CON Black and Brown Comics Expo.

Aldama also is the founder and director of LASER, Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research, a mentorship program for Latino students from ninth grade to undergraduates in college. Aldama said his motivation to found LASER and write his most recent book comes from the same place — to help young Latinos realize their full potential and create a segue between the American and Latin American cultures. He said this also is why the book mixes stories in Spanish and English.

“I wanted people to understand that we are a very complex, rich community with very different kinds of people that make up those communities,” he said.

Matt Reber, manager and buyer for the Wex bookstore, said the community the Wex serves can learn a lot from Aldama’s book release and gain some insight into the happenings of the Latino community.

“Being a creator and pulling back the screen on these issues gives (Aldama) a voice that our America needs a little bit more of,” Reber said.
On Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Aldama will read selections from his latest release at the Wexner Center Store. A book-signing will follow the reading.