Author, Allison Hawn recommends: Books from Middle School and Beyond

As part of a series of recommendations from authors, we’re hearing from short, humorous, non-fiction writer, Allison Hawn.  First, a little background on Allison:

Allison grew up wanting to be a velociraptor. When that fell through, she settled for being an author, social worker, self-defense instructor and escapade collector. Allison has been called, “A Magnet for Weird.” Her first book Life is a Circus Run By a Platypus was published this year. Allison lives in Spokane, Washington where she works to help people in tough spots find employment and lives a new adventure daily.

I would never demand that anyone read certain books. I might guilt you into reading them by letting you know that your life will be diminished if you miss them.  Your life will lack a certain luster, breakfast cereals won’t taste the same, you might start losing your hair.  Without further ado, here is my list of books from childhood and beyond that have shaped me as a member of the planet Earth:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien  

I first read this in second grade.  Bilbo, is, to my mind, the best kind of hero. He is the reluctant, more scared than a rabbit being chased by a wolf on a mini-bike, hero. Bilbo does not want adventure, glory or danger. He does not stand, hands on hips, cape blowing in wind to swoop in and save the day. Thanks to Bilbo, I have accepted that sometimes I am going to be the reluctant, bumbling, forgets to wear socks out of her apartment type person, and yet I can be effective.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

I have never understood why we don’t make children in school read this. Who doesn’t love watching a person plopped down into the middle of the Middle Ages?  This is probably the funniest work by Mark Twain, and an excellent read for those who don’t wish to take life too seriously. It’s nice to step out of your own life and into a situation that would be completely foreign to you. I try to live my life in such a way as to find something unfamiliar and new every day.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

A book from my middle school years.  To say that I was unpopular in school is an understatement. Anderson’s book not only made my unpopularity OK, but gave permission to my sarcasm and creative releases (such as writing) to flow so that I wasn’t a tight little ball of hormonal angst.  Like Anderson’s main character, I survived being a social outcast to become a productive member of society. Well, I’m productive if given caffeine anyway.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Carroll’s genius is in making nonsensical things make an odd sort of sense. This author’s writing has influenced my own more than any other.  Carroll’s whimsical and downright mad writing style have influenced the way that I view the world.

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner

No book has ever created harmony between my loves of social policy, humor and fairy tales quite like this one.  Reading my favorite fairy tales as animal rights activists, feminism and modern universalist movements get thrown into the mix makes me happier than the thought of a thousand unicorns tap dancing to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”   

You can find Allison Hawn online: 

Allison Hawn’s book is available at: Amazon Barnes and Noble
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