14 Fall Book Picks From L.A.’s Coolest Bookworms

Although L.A.’s weather is still far from chilly, we’re wholeheartedly embracing the transition of summer to fall. Just like the beginning of the new season induces cravings for a new autumnal wardrobe, an updated beauty arsenal, and even a fresh haircut, it also demands some new reading material.

Yes, sunny summer afternoons spent reading on the beach are pretty much paradise, but you just can’t deny how good it feels to escape from your hectic schedule by curling up on the couch with something warm and pumpkin-y and diving in between the pages of a really good book.

To help you spice up your bookshelf this season, we turned to some of L.A.’s coolest bookworms to clue us in on their fall book recs. The result is a compelling mix of fiction and nonfiction, from a fascinating book on meditation to one that will make you laugh out loud.

Whatever your reading style, you’ll find a literary soul mate among these 15 awesome page-turners.
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1 of 15
The Tastemaker: Gladys Tamez
The Gig:
Gladys Tamez hat designer
The Fall Read:
Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone, by Johnny Ramone

I’m reading Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone, which was given to me by his widow, my client Linda Ramone. I am interested in trailblazers and fearless experimentation. Johnny and the Ramones created something distinctive and timeless by translating their anger into inspiration, and the result was one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll bands in the world. It’s not enough to just be positive; you have to have a vision, maintain focus, and force that vision out into the open. This book shows that backed by love, hard work, and a dream, you can change the world forever.”
2 of 15
The Tastemaker: Sarah Davis
The Gig:
Fashionphile founder
The Fall Read:
Mitford at the Fashion Zoo, by Donald Robertson

“I just finished Rework and #GirlBoss, but the book that just totally took me by surprise is Donald Robertson’s not-just-for-children book Mitford at the Fashion Zoo. I bought it for my 9-year-old, but this was clearly designed with a wink to fashion lovers of all ages. As we read it together, she reminded me midway that it was way past her bedtime. But with Donald’s cheeky illustrative style and fabulous characters — like fashion editor Panda Summers and designers Zap Possum, Shark Jakobs, and Mikael Boars — I couldn’t put it down! The tale of poor Mitford, the accident-prone newbie fashion assistant who saves the day at Fashion Zoo Week, is a fun read, even for those of us who don’t just love reading children’s books.”

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3 of 15
The Tastemaker: Joy Cho
The Gig:
Oh Joy founder and creative director
The Fall Read:
Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling

“I have a hard time reading fiction books (unless I’m reading to my kids), but a real book about a real person where I can learn, laugh, relate, or be in awe [of] someone else’s life is the kind of book I can get behind. I love Mindy Kaling, so I’m looking forward to reading her new book, Why Not Me? We’re in an incredible day and age where the ‘girl next door’ doesn’t have to look like your average ‘girl next door’ anymore. She can be funny, smart, irreverent, and confident, and she can look just the way she was made to look. I love that.”
4 of 15
The Tastemaker: Chelsea Shukov
The Gig:
Sugar Paper co-founder
The Fall Read:
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo

"I stumbled across this book and picked it up because I loved the idea: Keep only what brings you joy. Yep, it’s as simple as that. This is the seemingly radical theory by author Marie Kondo. The book is a truly charming take on decluttering. It provides interesting insight and straightforward methods for streamlining life. I highly recommend it.”

5 of 15
The Tastemaker: Elin Dannerstedt
The Gig:
NCLA founder
The Fall Read:
Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann

“I am currently reading this book and I love the detailed imagery of the ’60s hair, makeup, and outfits. It’s amazing to think of New York in that time period. I find it fascinating how showbiz worked back in the day. I also find it interesting to see where women stood in the workplace and inspiring to see how far we’ve come.”

6 of 15
The Tastemaker: Sarah Boyd
The Gig:
Founder of Simply Inc. and co-founder of the International Style Institute
The Fall Read
: Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth, by Jenny McCarthy

“Prepping to be a first-time mom and an entrepreneur isn’t what I expected. I thought I’d have hours in the day to nest, read up, and enjoy my pregnancy. Well, I think I’ve sat still a total of 30 minutes (just long enough to feel the baby’s first kicks). That being said, I knew I needed to get some honest and blunt advice on what to expect throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and actually raising a human. I turned to no other than funny gal Jenny McCarthy, and I breezed through this book on my most recent plane ride. Between this book and my girlfriends, I will know the real-deal side of pregnancy that no one talks about.”
7 of 15
The Tastemaker: Vanessa Mooney
The Gig:
Vanessa Mooney jewelry designer
The Fall Read:
Bossypants, by Tina Fey

I love this book because it is so real, not to mention completely hilarious! Tina Fey shares her stories that demonstrate pure ambition for the creative girl who wants it all. It is totally relatable. She perfectly reveals such real experiences of being a girl in contemporary society. Life can be stressful, so I love taking the time to relax with a lighthearted book that makes me laugh, reminding me to keep it simple and keep it funky.”


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8 of 15
The Tastemaker: Kristen Lee Cole
The Gig:
TenOverSix creative director and head buyer
The Fall Read: An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace, by Tamar Adler

“I’m just finishing up An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler (a former chef at Chez Panisse). I’ve been on a real food-lit kick for the last six months, and this one is a gem. It’s a more modern take on M.F.K. Fisher’s
The Art of Eating — and shorter! I love An Everlasting Meal because it’s so poetic but at the same time really practical. It's completely changed my approach to cooking, made it easier and more liberating. It’s a very inspired read for anyone busy and trying to cook more.”
9 of 15
The Tastemaker: Nichelle Hines
The Gig:
Cycle House chief ride officer
The Fall Read:
The Memory of Running, by Ron McLarty

“One of my all-time favorite books is The Memory of Running, by Ron McLarty. It’s the story of an obese Vietnam veteran named Smithy who lives at home and suddenly begins a cross-country journey after a terrible tragedy strikes. I first read this book 10 years ago, and read it again every few years because not only is it touching in a real narrative way, it’s really funny, too. I love this book because I’ve never forgotten how much it made me believe in the resiliency of the human spirit and how we can overcome anything as long as we keep trying. The message is conveyed in such a real and honest way and it makes me feel capable, relevant, and strong. What a great read. It’s been a while. I think I'm going to read it again this fall.”
10 of 15
The Tastemaker: Gray Malin
The Gig: Fine art photographer
The Fall Read: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

“I love my weekend subscription to the print version of The New York Times; it’s become a bit of my Sunday ritual reading through the Times Magazine. My husband also recently got me The Goldfinch, which I have only heard amazing things about. Considering it’s a Pulitzer Prize winner, I’m thinking that the rumors are true, so I’m really looking forward to starting it on my next big trip. It’s always great having a good book for traveling.”
11 of 15
The Tastemaker: Vanessa Prager
The Gig:
Artist
The Fall Read:
Armada, by Ernest Cline

“I’m really looking forward to reading Armada, by Ernest Cline. I have to say I’ve been putting it off because I loved
Ready Player One so much and am afraid the new one won’t live up to my high expectations for the author now. But, oh, well. I also really want to read Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl because Carrie Brownstein is pretty amazing.”
12 of 15
The Tastemaker: Garrett Leight
The Gig:
Garrett Leight eyewear designer
The Fall Read:
Ask the Dust, by John Fante

Every year, I read something by Charles Bukowski. Nobody captures the people of Los Angeles like him. My two favorite books are Ham on Rye and Women. However, this year I’m going to read Ask the Dust, by John Fante. If you haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with Los Angeles. John Fante and Charles Bukowski are two of the most Los Angeles-centric authors of all time. Ask the Dust is considered to be Fante’s best work.”

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13 of 15
The Tastemaker: Melissa Magsaysay
The Gig:
Fashion journalist and author
The Fall Read:
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

“I’ve wanted to read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, for years, and I’m happy to report that it’s finally hit the top of the pile on my nightstand after repeatedly getting pushed to the bottom by books I had to read for work and the occasional baby/parenting guide. The Alchemist appeals to me for the dreamy, winding journey its protagonist sets out on and the insight his journey provides about finding one’s true destiny. I'm not usually one for reading books in the fantasy genre, but I like the deeper meaning of the story and am excited to dig in especially as a nightly escape during this busy Fashion Week and awards season!”

14 of 15
The Tastemaker: Nevena Borissova
The Gig:
Curve founder
The Fall Read:
On Photography, by Susan Sontag

"I am reading (when I can) On Photography, by Susan Sontag. [It features] incredibly touching essays on photography and what, how, and why a photograph carries on in our eyes and minds, and how it affects, inspires, and creates history.”
15 of 15
The Tastemaker: Lisa Bonbright
The Gig:
CEO of Southern California Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre restaurants
The Fall Read:
Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation, by Norman E. Rosenthal

“Right now, I am reading Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation, by Norman E. Rosenthal. A friend recommended it to me, and I found it so compelling and fascinating that I recently took the course and have also started Transcendental Meditation, [which means] meditating for 20 minutes, twice each day. In the book, the author describes his personal experiences with TM, interviews a number of celebrity practitioners of TM, and surveys some of the most interesting of the thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies which demonstrate the multitude of proven health benefits associated with TM. The latter was what I personally found to be the most compelling aspect of the book. My takeaway is that like working out is to our body, TM is to our mind and soul. It's a great, eye-opening read. I highly recommend it.”
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