Fall is in full swing and we've identified some of the top books, films and events to make the most of October. Between apple picking and fall foliage tours, check out new memoirs and biographies of classic rockers (Neil Young, Pete Townshend, Bruce Springsteen), and a Pulitzer Prize winner (Richard Russo); a rom-com ("The Big Wedding") starring Diane Keaton and Robert De Niro; and a centennial celebration of the late great Julia Child. Click on our slideshow below for a dozen of our top picks, and tell us what you're looking forward to this month.
October 2: "Waging Heavy Peace: Neil Young"
This <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Waging-Heavy-Peace-Neil-Young/dp/0399159460/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349121173&sr=1-1&keywords=waging+heavy+peace+by+neil+young">new memoir from Blue Rider Press</a> by singer, songwriter, guitarist and musical icon Neil Young begins with his childhood in Ontario, where he learned to love the written word from his father; his battle with polio at age 5; his early days with the Squires; leaving Canada on a whim in 1966 for Los Angeles; and his years with Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
October 2: "The Last Kiss: A True Story of Love, Joy and Loss"
In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Last-Kiss-True-Story-Love/dp/098524786X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348021480&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Last+Kiss%3A+A+True+Story+of+Love%2C+Joy+and+Loss">"The Last Kiss,"</a> a inspiring and poignant tale of love and loss, journalist and mom of two Leslie Brody writes about marrying Elliot, a romantic and brilliant editor with three children. Just six years after their nuptials, they discovered Elliot, 55, had pancreatic cancer. Brody writes of how they made the most of the time together and how their family endured the most difficult of trials.
October 2: "The Man Who Saw a Ghost: The Life and Work of Henry Fonda"
Devin McKinney and St. Martin's Press offers <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Saw-Ghost-Henry/dp/1250008417/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348021713&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Man+Who+Saw+a+Ghost%3A+The+Life+and+Work+of+Henry+Fonda">a new biography of Henry Fonda</a>, the beloved actor whose performances include "The Grapes of Wrath," "Young Mr. Lincoln," "The Lady Eve," "12 Angry Men," and "On Golden Pond." A World War II veteran, Fonda's life was "rage and struggle," McKinney writes: The actor was married five times; the wife of his children, Jane and Peter, committed suicide (and Fonda performed onstage hours later); and he was reportedly a less than compassionate father. McKinney explores what haunted Fonda throughout his lifetime. Kirkus Reviews called the book an "excellent work of biography. In rich, lyrical prose, McKinney deftly honors both the man and the mystery."
October 5: "The Oranges"
David and Paige Walling (Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener) and Terry and Cathy Ostroff (Oliver Platt, Allison Janney) are life-long friends and neighbors <a href="http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/theoranges/">living on Orange Drive</a> in suburban New Jersey. The Wailing's daughter, Leighton Meester, comes home for the holidays and creates a scandal that forces everyone to re-examine their definition of happiness.
October 8: "Who I Am: A Memoir"
Pete Townshend, the lead guitarist and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Who-I-Am-A-Memoir/dp/0062127241">songwriter for The Who tells his story in a new memoir</a>, that recounts the time he "heard the voice of God on a vibrating bed in rural Illinois, peered Abbie Hoffman in the neck with the head of his guitar, followed Keith Moon off a hotel balcony into a pool and nearly died, did too much cocaine and nearly died, drank too much and nearly died, detached from his body in an airplane, on LSD, and nearly died…and is banned for life from Holiday Inns," according to the book's description. In a 4-1/2-star review, <em>Rolling Stone</em> called this collection of near-death experiences “intensely intimate…candid to the point of self-laceration…[Townshend’s] tone is less lofty than anyone would have expected, just as this book is more honest than any fan would have hoped.”
October 11: "In Search of Cleo: How I Found My Pussy and Lost My Mind"
Actress Gina Gershon, 50, known for her roles in "Bound" and "Showgirls," offers this memoir from Penguin Publishing that follows Gershon’s despair when her beloved cat Cleo is lost, and the two months she spent looking for her. Ellen DeGeneres, a pet psychic named Sonia and a mysterious fortune-teller all play cameos. Gershon also recalls other cats she's loved -- and compares those relationships to her romantic life and continuing quest for true love.
October 12: "Excuse Me For Living"
Written, produced and directed by Ric Klass, "<a href="http://www.excusemeforliving.net/">Excuse Me For Living</a>" tells the story of a Dan Topler (Pelphrey), a rich, bright, suicidal twenty-something who dropped out of medical school to pursue his own drug habit. A suicide attempt results in a stint in an upscale rehab clinic, where Dr. Jacob Bernstein (Robert Vaughn) demands he join a geriatric men’s group or face incarceration. Dan also falls for Laura (Archer), Dr. Bernstein’s daughter. The cast includes Christopher Lloyd, Dick Cavett and Jerry Stiller, and is <a href="http://www.excusemeforliving.net/showtimes/">in limited release</a> nationwide on October 12.
October 26: "The Sessions"
Helen Hunt and John Hawkes star in this film, based on the true story of a paralyzed poet who engages a sex surrogate to lose his virginity, with the assistance of his therapist and priest (William H. Macy). "<a href="http://www.foxsearchlight.com/thesessions/">The Sessions</a>" won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, as well as a Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting.
October 26: "The Big Wedding"
"<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/31/the-big-wedding-trailer_n_1725191.html">The Big Wedding</a>" stars Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton as a divorced couple who pretend to be together for their adopted son's wedding so that his biological mother (who is Colombian and deeply religious) doesn't flip out. Robin Williams stars as a priest and Susan Sarandon as De Niro's love interest (<a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/story/2012-07-23/the-big-wedding/56445026/1">director Justin Zackham tells USA Today they get frisky in the kitchen</a>.) The rom-com also stars Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace and Katherine Heigl.
October 28: "On Julia Child at 100: An Appreciation"
In this centennial year of Julia Child’s birth, Judith Jones, vice president and senior editor at Alfred A. Knopf and editor of Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Laura Shapiro, culinary historian and author of the prize-winning Julia Child biography, come together to celebrate America’s first lady of French food. The talk is part of <a href="http://www.92y.org/Uptown/Live-from-NYs-92nd-Street-Y/Satellite-Broadcast-Schedule.aspx">LIVE from New York's 92nd Street Y</a>, a series of discussions broadcast via satellite to communities around the country.
October 30: "Bruce"
Peter A. Carlin's biography of Bruce Springsteen (Touchstone (October 30) is the first in 25 years written in cooperation with The Boss himself. Carlin enjoyed unfettered access to Springsteen, his family and band members -— including Clarence Clemons in his last major interview. Carlin traces Springsteen’s journey from working-class Freehold, New Jersey, through his rise to fame -- including 20 Grammy Awards and more than 120 million albums sold -- to his "quest to conquer the demons that nearly destroyed his father," according to Amazon.
October 30: "Elsewhere"
We loved this memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo, who chronicles his childhood in the 1950s with a single mother in Gloversville, the small upstate New York town both struggle to escape. Russo offers a poignant description of his extended family and the swift decline of the thriving town of his formative years. But this is primarily a story about his intense relationship with his mother, whose polished, poised and ambitious exterior hid a deeply troubled soul.