Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ready for Fall

September, 2012

Every year at about this time I start to get excited for fall and begin to anticipate the upcoming season -- the weather, the clothes, the food, the colors, the holidays. I am ready for fall. Do you feel this way? Here in Los Angles the heat is intense but I am dreaming of a chill in the air, cozy sweaters, autumn leaves, and fires in the fireplace. It all sounds heavenly right now. Fortunately the September issues of many magazines are out and there are some very exciting things coming up. Here are a few that have got my heart racing...


"The Imitation Game" starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Photo via here

Benedict Cumberbatch seem to be everywhere these days. In the film The Imitation Game he plays Alan Turning, the English mathematician who helped crack Nazi Germany's Enigma Code during World War II.  On the heels of his great role as Sherlock Holmes, he is once again playing a brilliant problem solver. Perfect casting. I can't wait to see this one.


Photo via here

Fall and new books just seem to go together. Here are a few that sound very intriguing:


Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Everyone in the book world is excited about a new book by Marilynne Robinson. This is the third in her much-praised Gilead trilogy.

The Dog by Joseph O'Neil
I loved Netherland by Joseph O'Neil. His latest book is about a New Yorker who moves to Dubai to escape his problems and finds himself strangely at home. If it's anything like "Netherland," it will be filled with beautiful writing, witty insights and sharp commentary about the modern world.

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel
After wowing the literary world by winning the Booker Prize two years in a row -- for "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies" -- Hilary Mantel has written a collection of contemporary short stories.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
This new novel by Ian McEwan (one of my favorite writers) is about a prominent London judge who faces the ruling of her career. The case is about people using religion to refuse medical care for their children and the life of an exceptional teenage boy hangs in the balance. This one sounds so good!  


Photo via here

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Yotam Ottolenghi is the owner of Ottolenghi restaurants in London and also a cookbook author. His book Jerusalem was one of the most popular cookbooks in recent years. Filled with fabulous middle eastern recipes, it is a must for the creative cook. His newest book "Plenty More" is a sequel to "Plenty," which was filled with delicious and beautiful recipes for vegetables.

Make It Ahead by Ina Garten
A new book by Ina Garten is always an occasion. After all these years, she is still my go-to in the kitchen. I have purchased my ticket for her book tour in November. I went two years ago when she was promoting her earlier book "Foolproof" and she was fabulous! In person she is elegant, very funny, and always down-to-earth.

Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes from Our Kitchen by Zoe Nathan
Zoe Nathan is a celebrity of sorts here in Los Angeles. She is a young baker who has three very popular cafe/restaurants in Santa Monica and has just come out with a cookbook. People are very excited about this. She is one of the many amazing young women in Los Angeles who have developed successful businesses and continue to inspire all of us!

Photo via here

A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse by Mimi Thorisson
Mimi Thorisson is the creator of the beautiful blog Manger. She lives with her family on a farm in Bordeaux where she cooks and entertains with great flair. She shares her recipes and life style on her blog. Her new book "A Kitchen in France" is divided into four seasonal chapters and is part cookbook, part memoir. This book promises to be a beauty!


Natalie Massenet's house in London
Photo via here

The design magazines at this time of the year often feature inviting and cozy interiors. Fall is a favorite time for nesting and I love the idea of warming up a house with a little touch of red. Did you see this piece in Architectural Digest on Natalie Massenet's house in London? She is the founder of Net-A-Porter. The red chairs in her dining room/library are a perfect touch. And don't you love a dining room filled with books? Go here to read more.


This is a popular time of year for lectures and book signings. I can never get enough of UCLA Professor Charles Batten's lectures and beginning in September he will be giving a fascinating series of talks on the subject "Caught in the Act." Each of the novels in this series presents "the mysterious relations of moral choice and circumstantial compulsion, of will and fate, in the lives of its characters." Our first book is "The Picture of Dorian Gray." The others are: "Lord Jim" by Joseph Conrad, "Ethan Frome" by Edith Wharton, and "The Ambassadors" by Henry James. Go here to find out more. As a side note, I just finished "The Secret History" by Donna Tartt and think it definitely falls into this category!


Swan Lake
Photo via here

The Australian Ballet will be bringing their groundbreaking production of "Swan Lake "to Los Angeles this fall. The original production starred Rudolf Nureyev and Margo Fonteyn and played at The Music Center over fifty years ago. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Music Center at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and to celebrate their big 50th they are bringing back this critically acclaimed production. I already have my ticket to this one!


Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at the Tate Modern in London
Photo via here

Probably the art exhibition I am most excited to see this fall is Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at MOMA.  It originated at the Tate Modern and is opening in New York in October. In the 1940's, Matisse turned exclusively to cut paper as his primary medium. He cut painted sheets into forms of different sizes and shapes and arranged them into compositions. This was a blockbuster show at the Tate. I hope to make it to New York to see this one.


The play Wolf Hall in London
Photo via here

If you can get to London this fall, the theatrical offerings are incredible. Hilary Mantel's books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies seem to have taken over the London stage. They have been turned into plays and are now running at the Aldwych Theatre on alternating night. They are so popular that the run has been extended -- through October 4.

Happy September!

By the way, have you read The Secret History by Donna Tartt? What an excellent book! I loved it.


  1. That's a long trip for you to see Matisse, but it's worth it! I went back for a second visit last week (terribly crowded now it's close to the end) as I couldn't get that wall out of my mind ... wish they could leave it there permanently! Do make sure you allow plenty of time. It's interesting to read Matisse's own words in the Jazz section - but his writing is whimsical and it took me quite a while to get round!

    1. Meant to add, for those who can't make it to London there's a BBC serialisation of Wolf Hall coming up - with a very good cast.

    2. Hi Mary, so glad to hear your impressions on the Matisse. I hope to be able to see this, it looks stunning. And how fabulous that a BBC series based on Wolf Hall is coming to the BBC. Such good television coming up!

  2. I recently finished Home, so I'm excited to learn there's a new novel by Marilyn Robinson! Also can't wait to see The Imitation Game.

  3. I definitely want to see Swan Lake, my favorite ballet, and the music is so beautiful too. Just bought our tickets. I do hope we have a real fall and winter this year, I'm very tired of the heat. I did read The Secret History and I did like it, but not as much as The Goldfinch. Looking forward to The Imitation Game as well, it was a sad summer for movies.

  4. So excited to see that Wolf Hall has been extended until October 4 - I've sent the information to the friend I am traveling to London with and hope that we can go.
    I am looking forward to the Mimi Thorisson book as I Iove her blog and would like to try some of her recipes.
    I've read The Secret History and thought it was stupendously good, though like Kathy above I did enjoy The Goldfinch more.

  5. Such a great list to look forward to! I second Mary on the Matisse - it's a fantastic show, I was lucky to catch it in London over the summer.

  6. A perfect prelude to Autumn and all its splendor, Sunday.
    Here, the trees are slowly starting to change and while it is still hot and humid, there is a definite change in the air. Anticipation.

  7. MIMI's BOOK for SURE!
    Also, that BAREFOOT CONTESSA and I are GREAT pals in LA CUCINA!
    When is the book signing and where?Also, SWAN LAKE guess I could look that up!I saw them both dance too but it couldn't have been 50 years ago......I would have been 4!Perhaps, I need to POP down SOUTH and meet you too!

    1. Contessa, that would be fun! Let me know when you are coming south.

  8. The Children Act sounds so good, and I'm sure the new Ina Garten book will make its way into my cookbook collection. How wonderful that you will get to be part of the book tour! It's nearly 90 degrees here today, but I'm ready to pull out my fall decor... it's my favorite season, after all. The pumpkin spice later will need to wait for a cooler day though. And yes, The Secret History is excellent!

  9. If you have time during your NYC visit I would love to meet you!

  10. Didn't go to Tate Modern this time in London, but we saw a lot of Matisse cut-outs when we were in Paris--definitely worth checking out.

    Can't wait for Mimi Thorisson's book! Her blog makes me want to move to the French countryside with a bunch of kids and dogs, even though I don't like children, I certainly wouldn't want to live full time in the country, and one dog is about more than I can handle. I think her blog taps into a lot of peoples' lifestyle fantasies. The recipes are usually sound yummy, too!

  11. I've missed your inspiration! Lovely recommendations to get into the spirit of autumn!

  12. As always, I love your recommendations. I'm ready for some fall nesting!

  13. Love your fall table and the books sound wonderful. Love following Manger and can't wait to get her book and the Matisse exhibit…can't wait!!

  14. Love those fall images. Can't wait for the new Marilynne Robinson, thanks for the reminder. Maybe we can squeeze in a re-read of Gilead before it is published!

  15. The Imitation Game won The People's Choice award at TIFF last week! Counting down the days until it shows at one of the cinemas around here. This time of year is my absolute favourite for the bounty of so many wonderful things, fabulous post!