Bonus Reading List: Allison Baron of Texas Book Festival

The 20th annual Texas Book Festival is coming up on October 17th & 18th, right here in Austin, Texas! With over 300 authors slated to attend, there will be no shortage of inspiration in the coming months of good books to discover and read.


Twenty years is a long time for any festival, and it’s the people behind the scenes who really help make this amazing event successful. That’s why we are digging in a little deeper to shine a light on Allison Baron, public relations consultant at Brenda Thompson Communications. Allison does a magnificent job making sure word gets out about the Texas Book Festival. After my curiosity got the best of me and I asked her what books are on her nightstand, I thought it would be interesting to share some book suggestions from someone who is really in the know.

Allison has worked at Brenda Thompson Communications since 2012, when she was hired as an intern while a student at Texas State University. After graduating summa cum laude, she began working full-time at the firm and was soon promoted to account executive. Allison works on all of Brenda Thompson Communications’ clients, and also manages the intern program. Her areas of expertise include social media strategy and management, media relations, and visual communications. Allison is a member of the Women Communicators of Austin, Public Relations Society of America, National Association of Professional Women, Golden Key International Honor Society, and Alpha Chi, the national college honor society. She has been a volunteer for local organizations including Well Aware, Sustainable Food Center, and All Blind Children of Texas. In her spare time, Allison enjoys reading, traveling, watching live music, and spending time with her two dachshunds, Otter and Tula.


Allison Baron’s Texas Book Festival Reading Recommendations

1. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola
I binge-read this brutally honest memoir from Sarah Hepola in one day, and was left with a book hangover that had me yearning for more—no pun intended. Brilliant and at times disturbing, it will have you wincing in pain with the author on one page and smirking from ear to ear at her outrageously comical drunken misadventures on the next. Overcoming addiction is just one theme of this story, though. It’s also about every woman’s journey to discover who she is and find her true voice. As someone who only drinks on occasion, I found it surprisingly relatable—not to mention refreshing and unapologetically uncensored: everything I appreciate in a good read.

–> Visit with Sarah Hepola on Saturday, from 11:45am-12:30pm at the Central Presbyterian Church. 

1. Cover

2. A Puppy’s Tale by Andy Cotton
I loved this adorable children’s book! Best for little ones (ages 6 and under), A Puppy’s Tale is a bedtime story that follows the life of Jasper, a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, all the way from his lion-hunting heritage in Africa to his new home in Austin. Written by ThunderCloud Subs co-founder and owner Andy Cotton and beautifully illustrated by Emma Hartsock, it’s a true story chock-full of photos of the real Jasper. I’m a sucker for anything involving dogs, and a fan of Cotton’s writing and humor, so this is an instant kid’s classic in my book.

–> Visit with Andy Cotton on Sunday, from 4-4:30pm in the Children’s Read Me a Story Tent at 10th & Congress Ave.

3. Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook by Kristen Miglore

Picture a culinary school with the most distinguished faculty of all time — Alice Waters, James Beard, Julia Child—sharing the greatest tips and tricks of their combined centuries of experience in the world’s most elite kitchens. Kristen Miglore has condensed that caliber of epicurean wisdom down to 100 fundamental “Genius Recipes” in a cookbook that will have you rethinking almost everything you do in the kitchen. The recipes Miglore includes are as varied as their creators, but they’re unified in their simplicity. Most of the recipes include just four or five ingredients, while some have just one, such as a buttery spread made out of fresh corn and a caramel made from sweet potatoes. The author’s tips, combined with introductions and quotes from the chefs who created the recipes plus magnificent photography, elevate this cookbook from a mere recipe compilation to a kitchen bible and road map to good genius cooking.

–> Visit with Kristen Miglore on Saturday, from 3:30-4:30pm in the Central Market Cooking TentAdvertisement

4. Judge This by Chip Kidd
First impressions are everything, and nobody understands this better than author and book cover designer Chip Kidd. His latest book Judge This takes an in-depth look at how we judge the things and people around us. It’s also about how we look at daily objects and what purpose or role they play in our lives. Kidd’s writing is simple, direct, and clear. That is the major reason why the book works on so many levels. And as you’d expect, the pages of Judge This are splashed with visually-engaging examples and graphics, arranged perfectly to help get the points across.

–> Visit with Chip Kidd on Saturday, from 12:45-1:45pm at The Sanctuary at First United Methodist Church (1201 Lavaca, enter from Lavaca St.)

5. Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt
Fish in a Tree was recommended to me by my mom (who’s a special education teacher) after she read and loved it. It’s about Ally, a sixth-grader with dyslexia, and is told from her point of view— giving marvelous insight into how kids can be extremely intelligent and gifted in multiple areas but not possess the skills necessary to read. Not only is this book a must-read for parents and teachers of children with learning disabilities, but it’s also an excellent book for anyone who feels like a misfit. It captures perfectly the pain of not fitting in with kids at school as well as the complete awesomeness of people standing up for others. The author sums it up perfectly with this sentence, as said by Ally: “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

–> Visit with Lynda Mullaly Hunt onfrom  Saturday, 3-4pm in Capitol Extension Room E2.014

Looking for FREE family fun this weekend? Make sure to visit the Texas Book Festival with the kids in tow. Activities include:

  • Where’s Waldo Scavenger Hunt
  • Storybook Character Fashion Show
  • Decorate your own trick-or-treat bag with Do512Family
  • Joe McDermott performance
  • Storytimes in the Children’s Read Me a Story Tent
  • Panels with much loved authors including Lemony Snicket
  • Lucas Miller: The Singing Zoologist
  • Hand to Mouth Puppet Theatre
  • Performances by ZACH Theatre
  • Performance by The Telephone Company

You can find the complete schedule for free family fun here.

The Texas Book Festival is FREE and open to the public and takes place at the State Capitol and surrounding grounds on October 17 – 18, 2015. The Festival from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

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