As the summer entertainment season winds down, more than a few films worth exploring, a new series debuting starring Nicola Walker from The Split, two different styles of classic trench coats, both at great prices, a new series adapted from a favorite film that is receiving high praise, a book to read that is already on the Best Books of 2022 list, travel to and visit Provence with a favorite blogger in her new offering, and much more.
—The Candy House: A Novel by Jennifer Egan
Released this past spring in April, Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House recently became one of NPR’s Top Picks of 2022 and Barack Obama chose it as one of his summer favorites. After reading the synopsis and listening to NPR’s description, I too am quite curious to read it. Centered around a “new technology which allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share your memories in exchange for access to the memories of others”, Egan’s imagination creates vast food for thought with themes focused on our “longing for connection, family, privacy, and love”. Listen/Read to NPR’s review and recommendation here.
—Either/Or: a novel by Elif Bautman
This book. I am most looking forward to reading Pulitzer Prize nominated Elif’s Bautman’s second novel Either/Or after listening to an interview she gave recently to The Financial Times‘ Weekend podcast. Instantly becoming a bestseller with its release earlier this year, Bautman draws inspiration from her own life during college as she pursued her English degree at Harvard. The main character Selin, who was also the main character in her previous novel The Idiot, as well a bestseller, is beginning her sophomore year at Harvard and the year is 1996. “The first order of business: to figure out the meaning of everything that happened over the summer. Why did Selin’s elusive crush, Ivan, find her that job in the Hungarian countryside? What was up with all those other people in the Hungarian countryside? Why is Ivan’s weird ex-girlfriend now trying to get in touch with Selin? On the plus side, it feels like the plot of an exciting novel. On the other hand, why do so many novels have crazy abandoned women in them? How does one live a life as interesting as a novel—a life worthy of becoming a novel—without becoming a crazy abandoned woman oneself?”
Now initially these questions may sound superficial, but please do listen to the interview on the FT’s Weekend podcast; the author’s objective for the novel dives deep into how women were/are projected in literature that has been taught for decades in the canons of higher ed institutions as well as, well, yep, public schools across the country. Such a focus continues into our current culture she argues, and really, she safely distances this opinion by setting the book in the 1990s, but why are women primarily, if only given a narrative in books, novels, plays, etc. of finding love and bearing children? Don’t they have other avenues for fulfillment? Her arguments are sound and long-overdue. I immediately related to her questions that she brought to the forefront with her writing both as an English major myself and then, for the past 20 years, an English teacher who had to adhere to such canons. But again, do listen to the interview with the author herself to understand the inspiration behind this novel, Either/Or.
—This Story Will Change: After the Happily Ever After, A Memoir by Elizabeth Crane
An author whose name has been spoken in the same breath as Nora Ephron’s for her raw and honest personal commentary of her life journey to and through marriage, Elizabeth Crane’s new book, a memoir written in real time with the events she shares, was released this past Tuesday. Journey through the highs of a marriage that lasted 15 years before it no longer did. Crane’s honesty revealing the details of the journey, as well as the discoveries that the transition to life aprés marriage “brings unexpected comfort and much-needed healing for wounds even older than her marriage”, if you are looking for a hope-filled conclusion to a marriage coming to an end, this is the book to read.
—Marriage, series, BBC1
A Big Thank You to long-time Reader Sarah H, who lives in Britain for bringing to my attention the new series Nicola Walker stars in alongside Sean Bean (Game of Thrones), Marriage. A four-part series (two episodes will air this coming weekend – Sunday and Monday on BBC1, and the remaining two the following weekend on Sunday and Monday), takes a look into the 27-year marriage of Ian and Emma, who have known each other for 30 years. Capturing 12 days in their life, critics are praising it for its raw honesty and brilliant acting. Take a look at the trailer below.
On a bit darker side, okay a lot darker, but sadly and interestingly enough, all too true, the film Rogue Agent stars Gemma Arterton and, from the first couple of seasons of Grantchester James Norton and is released today. Norton stars as a man falsely presenting himself as an MI5 agent to seduce women and then kidnap them. It took Gemma Arterton’s character Alice Archer to bring him to justice, but not without first becoming his target. Each of us enjoys different genres of film, and while I likely won’t watch this one as it will be a bit too intense (and being that is actually a true story) for me, the ending is such that it is worth considering and each of the two actors are such beloved English stars, I had to share as I thought you might want to know about it. Take a look at the trailer below.
Another beauty of a table lamp to add a signature touch whilst still adhering to a neutral aesthetic.
At first, I didn’t know what the heck this film was about because I saw the trailer below and to me, initially, it wasn’t clear. Then I saw the second trailer in the theaters a couple of weeks ago when I watched Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, and it all made brilliant sense as to why Diane Keaton was cast. I could not for the life of me find the second trailer to share with you, so I do apologize for that, but essentially, a young woman (in her late 20s/early 30s) has always felt like an old soul and doesn’t fit in with the regular hobbies and interest of her peers. Welcome some playful wizardry and she is turned into Diane Keaton, embodying the age she feels she is, yet still young at heart. With Keaton’s physical comedy, this film will be a hoot to watch, and all along the way, it reminds the viewer to honor our true selves and don’t hide it away in shame. Take a look at the trailer and enjoy watching it in theaters today.
An independent film that is being compared to the 1984 classic coming-of-age film Stand By Me, but with four female leads instead of male leads, Summering might just be what you want to watch to step back into your nostalgic youth before you began middle school. Critics are mixed on this one – I have read great praise and meh reviews, so it really comes down to you. Take a look at the trailer and look for it in theaters today.
I stumbled upon this film this past weekend on Netflix, and knew I wanted to share it with you. The main character Elijah (Mamoudou Athie) dreams of becoming a sommelier, but he is torn between pursuing this career that he not only has a passion for, but a clear talent, and inheriting his father’s Memphis BBQ going (Courtney B. Vance stars as Louis, Elijah’s father). Niecy Nash is cast as Elijah’s mother, and the juxtaposing of the two different worlds reveals a journey of honoring your home and past and embracing your future. Take a look at the trailer below and watch it now on Netflix.
I know, I know, I know. Next week’s is TSLL’s 7th Annual French Week, so why am I not saving this one until next Friday? Believe it or not, I have so many items for next week’s This & That, that I had to include a few this week. Martin Walker’s beloved Bruno is sleuthing again in the latest novel set in the Dordogne region of France, and this time it all revolves around a song, and then the banning of that song.
“Les Troubadours, a folk music group that Bruno has long supported, go viral with their new number, “Song for Catalonia,” when the Spanish government suddenly bans the song. The songwriter, Joel Martin, is a local enthusiast for the old Occitan language of Périgord and the medieval troubadours, and he sympathizes with the Catalan bid for independence. The success of his song provokes outrage among extreme Spanish nationalists. Then, in a stolen car found on a Périgord back road, police discover a distinctive bullet for a state-of-the-art sniper’s rifle that can kill at three kilometers, and they fear that Joel might be the intended target.”
—The Good Life Retreat: Tour Provence this fall with Madame de la Maison
Announced this week, Ajiri Aki, the founder of Madame de la Maison and living in Paris for the past 11 years whilst exploring all about France is hosting her first retreat, named The Good Life Retreat. For six days, tour about Provence, accommodations are included in the price, and stay in a villa located in Gordes where the retreat will begin. It takes place this October, so be sure to stop by via these links to learn more is your interest is piqued.
—& Other Stories Wide Belt Trench Coat (two colors)
On September 1st, TSLL’s Annual Fall Shopping Guide will be released, so I am beginning to shop for items, but a few I have to share now because a classic trench at a great price and classic style is worth scooping up even if you won’t be wearing it for another month or so.
—Aquazzura Nude 85mm leather slingback sandals (more colors available)
This heel is the heel I need right now – a neutral summer sandal to wear with dresses and formal or more-than-casual events. I love this one, and it comes in black as well.
This trench is perfect for early fall and all of spring, and it is new at J.Crew. Wear it for years to come due to its classic style.
I have the coast on my mind as Norman and I will be slipping away for a few days later this fall, and I am in need (okay, maybe not need, but I don’t know if I can have enough cozy oversized sweaters) of stripes and cozy sweaters such as this one. I tried to discern if the stripes are navy or black as the site doesn’t share (it does share the name of the white is porcelain, but no luck on the dark color). My guess is a deep navy, but I could be wrong.
—Woera Classic Wrap Dress Pink Poplin, on sale
I just learned of this luxury oversized shirt and shirt dress company Woera as they use high quality cotton in all of their products, and this shirt dress was on sale. Medium and Small are still available, but do check their size chart to make sure US sizes align with theirs.
—A League of Their Own, series AmazonPrime
Abbi Jacobsen created and stars in the adaptation NPR has called savvy. Following the lives of the WWII All-American professional women’s baseball league, this series is a comedy that premieres today on Amazon Prime. Take a look at the trailer below.
The past week here in Bend has been very much like a dream come true. Buckets upon buckets of quenching rain fell on Tuesday that began late morning and continued on and off until early evening. I savored, savored and savored some more. The lightning and thunder show that came with the rain was a theater of beauty, and with so much rain, no new fires began in the area. Oddly enough that same morning, we awoke to no power as the lightning show began in the early morning and struck a pole in the area, and for an hour as I began my morning routine, I was reminded how such an important detail – electricity – is something to savor as well for all that it provides. Seems no doubt obvious, but sometimes, we forget the simple things that make a world of difference.
As the week unfolded, the final few episodes of the cooking show were taped, and now production will begin before the premiere of season 5 on Saturday September 10th. But I am getting faaaar too ahead of myself because this Sunday, TSLL’s 7th Annual French Week begins, and while this week’s This & That was full, next week’s is JAM-packed. Oh. My. Goodness. Or as Poirot would say, Mon Dieu! 😉
Here in the area, the annual Sunriver Classical Music Festival is taking place this week, and I had the opportunity to attend one of the performances which concluded with the symphony, which consists of musicians from around the country, playing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3. A magical way to end the evening and then to step outside into the summer night air and witness a full moon in all its grandeur set atop a clear night sky. Savor, savor and savor some more I did.
Needless to say, staying home this summer has been a treat, and I am grateful to be able to do so. Each morning I find myself out in the garden, checking on the flowers, filling up the bird bath and feeders and generally just gawking and smiling as I was doing upon seeing the echinacea purpurea (purple coneflowers seen above) this past weekend in the boulevard.
Already we find ourselves near the middle of August with autumn just around the corner, and while I am excited for the fall season, I will be drinking up these next few weeks in the garden, harvesting the blackberries that are about ready to be enjoyed, and dancing with giddiness with each bloom of my dahlias (the first bloomed this past weekend!).
Earlier this week, here on the blog, I shared a detailed tour of the curtains in the dining room – Provence inspired, and I want to thank everyone who has stopped by, and to those of you have left a comment, my apologizes for the delay in my response. I have read and appreciated each one, and will do my best to respond today. This past week I put my head down to try to finish taping the cooking show as my goal was to have Season 5 completed (front of camera work) before French Week, and while that happened (Wahoo!), it took more out of me than I realized. I am so excited for French Week and have much in store.
Be sure to stop by this coming Sunday as the festivities begin with two new posts as TSLL’s much anticipated Annual French Week kicks off (explore becoming a TOP Tier Member so you can enter each of the 6 giveaways and read all of the posts as there will be two new posts each day of this coming week through the 21st of August here on the blog). But first! I have gathered up a few articles and a lovely video of a English cottage I think you might enjoy. Wishing you a wonderful weekend and thank you for stopping by. Until Sunday, bonne journée!
~Favorite read of the week: Why Do British Shows Have So Few Episodes? [I Heart British TV]
~This post was a close second Favorite read of the week: Sienna Miller’s Cottage in the English Countryside [Architectural Digest]
~This recipe sings summer and subtle sweetness, and is simple to make: Strawberry Ricotta Cakes [House & Garden UK]
~7 Reasons People Who Journal are More Likely to Be Happy and Successful [Pick the Brain]
~How to Make Life Easier: 14 Simple Ideas to Try [The Simple Lionheart Life]
~18 Things That Fill Highly Sensitive People with Joy [Highly Sensitive Refuge]
~Take a tour of this Provençal garden with a thoughtful and ecological modernist aesthetic and find yourself slipping into tranquility and calm [H & G UK]
~6 Tips for Visiting the Louvre in Paris [The Earful Tower]
~Curious about Sherry? This detailed post written by contributor Kathryn Copeland is worth exploring, and I am grateful for her including a link to my Scallops & Sherry Sauce recipe [Wineries Guide & Wine Tips]
~5 Mistakes to avoid when organizing your kitchen drawers, tips from the pros [Kitchn]
~How climate change is changing tourism [The New York Times]
~And if you loved Sienna Miller’s English cottage as much as I did, you will enjoy the video below, touring the entire space she shares so much more than the photos in the post linked above and you can garner many decor ideas and inspiration:
~Explore last week’s This & That: August 5, 2022
Francophiles! Polish your French or begin to learn the language of the culture you love from a highly recommended language school, a new cookbook from a favorite Great British Bakeoff stand-out, a new series on AppleTV receiving great buzz, books about flowers and novels to intrigue as well as a book from a British author focused on eating well simply. Also, clothing for summer, fantastic sales on items for fall, and vintage décor finds to delight. And yep! Much more!