This & That: January 5, 2024
Friday January 5, 2024

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I continue to hear people in the publishing world recommend Robert Gottlieb’s book of essays, Avid Reader. As the editor-in-chief of Knopf Publishing he worked with some of the most recognizable authors, “including Toni Morrison, John Cheever, Doris Lessing, John le Carré, Michael Crichton, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Graham, Robert Caro, Nora Ephron, and Bill Clinton–not to mention Bruno Bettelheim and Miss Piggy. In Avid Reader, Gottlieb writes with wit and candor about succeeding William Shawn as the editor of The New Yorker, and the challenges and satisfactions of running America’s preeminent magazine.”

The book was released in 2017, and with Gottlieb’s passing away this past summer, the book continues to be mentioned as one to read for his voice, experience and talent with the written word, “but this account of a life founded upon reading is about more than the arc of a singular career–one that also includes a lifelong involvement with the world of dance. It’s about transcendent friendships and collaborations, “elective affinities” and family, psychoanalysis and Bakelite purses, the alchemical relationship between writer and editor, the glory days of publishing, and–always–the sheer exhilaration of work.”

Being released this coming Tuesday, January 9th, The Busy Brain identifies its subject as resulting “from chronic unchecked stress and burnout. The Busy Brain Cure is integrated approach to heal the root cause of ADD/ADHD, anxiety, and insomnia, while also transforming the conversation on mental health and workplace wellness.

“In this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Overcome the stimulant-sedative cycle, reducing dependence on caffeine by day and sleep aids at night.
  • Heal your Busy Brain without resorting to fad diets or cleanses. Embrace comfort food choices that combat stress, and move away from the toxic diet culture.
  • Use the 8-week brainSHIFT Protocol for better sleep, increased energy, and sustained focus.
  • Heal the root cause of attention deficit disorder (ADD), anxiety, and insomnia without addictive medications.
  • Based on twenty years of clinical research and experience, this book introduces a simple and easy to implement 8-week plan to heal the root cause of burnout.”

I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on this book. NYTimes bestselling author Natalie Haynes follows up Pandora’s Jar with Divine Might: Goddesses in Greek Myth. “A female-centered look at Olympus and the Furies, focusing on the goddesses whose prowess, passions, jealousies, and desires rival those of their male kin, including:

  • Athene, who sprang fully formed from her father’s brow (giving Zeus a killer headache in the process), the goddess of war and provider of wise counsel.
  • Aphrodite, born of the foam (and sperm released from a Titan’s castrated testicles), the most beautiful of all the Olympian goddesses, the epitome of love who dispenses desire and inspires longing—yet harbors a fearsome vengeful side, doling out brutal punishments to those who displease her.
  • Hera, Zeus’s long-suffering wife, whose jealousy born of his repeated dalliances with mortals, nymphs, and other goddesses, leads her to wreak elaborate and often painful revenge on those she believes have wronged her. (Well, wouldn’t you?)
  • Demeter, goddess of the harvest and mother of Persephone; Artemis, the hunter and goddess of wild spaces; the Muses, the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory; and Hestia, goddess of domesticity and sacrificial fire.”

“Haynes offers a refreshing take on the legends and stories we thought we knew.” Released just this past Tuesday, for all my fellow English majors out there, this is one for our personal libraries.

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Released this past Tuesday, from the author who brought us The Last Mona Lisa, Jonathan Santlofer’s new novel The Lost Van Gogh centers around the possibility that “Van Gogh completed a final self-portrait. Curators and art historians have savored this rumor, hoping it could illuminate some of the troubled artist’s many secrets, but even they have to concede that the missing painting is likely lost forever.

“But when Luke Perrone, artist and great-grandson of the man who stole the Mona Lisa, and Alexis Verde, daughter of a notorious art thief, discover what may be the missing portrait, they are drawn into a most epic art puzzles. When only days later the painting disappears again, they are reunited with INTERPOL agent John Washington Smith in a dangerous and deadly search that will not only expose secrets of the artist’s last days but draws them into one of history’s darkest eras.”

Following up on her popular and Sunday Times Bestselling book Manifest (released in 2022 – a book that inspired this podcast episode – #348 – last year), Roxie Nafousi’s new book Manifest in Action is now available in the states being released this past Tuesday. “Providing practical techniques to expand readers’ understanding of each of the seven steps to manifestation, Manifest in Action demonstrates how to harness your potential and confidently step into your power. Each chapter is filled with simple and inspiring exercises designed to cultivate self-awareness, reflection, and growth, empowering readers to manifest the change they want to see in their lives.”

Released last April, but now is the perfect time to pick up Brianna Wiest’s book full of daily meditations to begin the year well. Written for adults and young adults alike, have a look at an example entry below. Perhaps you are currently in a pivot period. What does that mean exactly? Wiest defines it as “still bridging the space between where you are and where you want to be”. She goes on to remind, “remember that the person you’re becoming is already within you. The journey is convincing your mind to act consistently on what your heart already knows it wants to do.” Pivot Year may just be the book you are looking for to be a companion for 2024.

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Published in the UK this past year, and while not easily available in the states, if you purchase through Blackwell’s (for fewer than $30, this includes shipping), you can welcome it to your home to explore in about two week’s time (a conservative estimate, I usually receive the books from them far more quickly).

In Style & Substance stylist Bay Garnett shares “through a collection of essays, extracts and interviews . . . a glorious celebration of the clothes we wear and the meaning behind them. From the looks of Maya Angelou and Zadie Smith”,” as well as Oscar Wilde and Stanley Tucci. Ddiscover what style means to each of the many well-dressed individuals included and be inspired to cultivate your own style without feeling as though doing so is an extravagant or frivolous pastime.

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The beginning of the year often encourages us to take the reins of our life and improve or learn tools to elevate the quality, and while we can do this at any time of the year, if January prompts us to do so, accept the invitation. TikTok made pyschotherapist Dr. Annie Zimmerman into a world-wide name, but with her PhD in psychology, whether or not TikTok was around, the respect is well-deserved. Teaching clients the tools they need to thrive and love the life they live, her new book is one worth exploring.

In Your Pocket Therapist (released on January 9th), “Dr. Zimmerman helps readers delve into their past to identify old, unhelpful patterns and teach them how to unlock the present. The book combines practical tools with anecdotes gleaned from the therapy room, distilling complex psychological concepts with her signature warmth and empathy. Her belief—galvanized by her hundreds of thousands of followers—is that if we learn to understand the roots of our suffering, we can bring about meaningful—and permanent—change in our lives. It comes down to learning how to ask the right questions.”

The fourth season premieres this Sunday! Set in Victorian London, Miss Scarlet is the city’s first-ever female detective, “who spars (and sparks!) with Scotland Yard Detective Inspector William Wellington, a.k.a., The Duke.” In season 4 “things are not going entirely smoothly, although help comes from some familiar sources. Outside work, her relationship with William (The Duke) builds towards a looming decision that will shape both their lives.” Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy the six episodes that will run through February 11th.

While already released in the UK, Mary Berry’s latest cookbook is now available in the US. Mary Makes It Easy is full of “a brand-new collection of 120 recipes, published alongside her new BBC Series Mary Makes It Easy. Divided into clear chapters, featuring one-pot recipes and 5-ingredient meals, easy bakes and desserts as well as prep-ahead and store cupboard favourites, this book contains fuss-free, crowd-pleasing food that everyone will enjoy. Each recipe is photographed and accompanied by no-fuss tips and advice on preparing ahead and freezing.”

And speaking of Mary Berry, did you see her co-host the second of four Gardeners’ World Winter Specials? These episodes were just dropped on BritBox this past weekend for us here in the states, and each takes viewers into beautiful winter gardens, reminds us of tips and tasks to tend to during the winter months and one fun inclusion is taking tours of Berry’s garden and greenhouse in the second episode. Oh my goodness, her roses!

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I happened upon this film and quite enjoyed it. Bank of Dave is based on a true story that took place and continues to take place in north England – Burnley to be exact – meaning the Bank of Dave is still open and running strong. Bank of Dave is an uplifting and fun film, categorized as a comedy/dramedy and stars Rory Kinnear as Dave, Phoebe Dynevor (from Bridgerton) as Alexandra and Joel Fry as Hugh. Critics appear to be enjoying it as well, giving the film a ranking so far of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Have a look at the trailer below and watch it now on Netflix.

Oh, this film looks to be one to watch for a bevy of reasons. Written, directed and starring Dan Levy, Good Grief is primarily set in Paris, so viewers will have the beautiful backdrop of the City of Light to the plot presented involving Levy’s character an artist grieving the loss of his famous writer husband. After a year of grieving, he takes his two best friends on a trip to Paris, “where they unpack messy secrets and hard truths.” Have a look at the trailer below and find it on Netflix now.

Bonnard, Pierre et Marthe

Being released in France this coming Thursday, January 10th, Bonnard, Pierre et Marthe is a film based on the true story of French painter Pierre Bonnard and his wife, model, and muse Marthe. “When Pierre met Marthe de Méligny, he didn’t know this self-proclaimed aristocrat would become the cornerstone of his life and work. From this moment, she became more than just a muse for the ‘painter of happiness’, appearing in more than a third of his work. Together, they reached their artistic fulfillment thanks to a colourful love, different from the standards of their time, nurturing the great mystery around their relationship.” Have a look at the trailer below and hopefully soon it will be available outside of France as well.

And while we wait for the film to arrive for those of us not fortunate to live in France, we can explore extraordinary collections found in France by the French artisan Marin Montagut. “French artist, designer, and talented antique hunter Marin Montagut celebrates the joy of collecting everything from textiles to barware to architectural details, taking readers inside a dozen private homes, flea markets, and unusual ateliers to discover the most whimsical treasure troves in France.” Released this past October, I thought this book would be a wonderful one to peruse while cozying in this winter making your upcoming plans to France. 🙂

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Speaking of Paris, I found, watched and largely quite enjoyed this French series that is now available on MHzChoice. Released originally in 2021 in France, Love & Trouble in Paris is an 8-episode comedy series that reminds me a bit of The Hook Up Plan (the Petit Plaisir for episode #293) and somewhat of Emily in Paris. It is a wonderful series for supplementing learning conversational French, and while there are tired tropes running throughout (the plight of being single as an inferior life status, disparaging pet owners, etc.), I found the supporting cast to be absolutely adorable. Have a look at the premise of the series below in the trailer.

January is the time for brands to be clearing out their storage of winter items, and Boden is doing just that, BUT including everything in their sale. Yep! Save 60% off just about everything on their site when you use promo code USES. I did some shopping for you below, but you will want to shop the entire sale to see what catches your eye. There is SO much to see. 🙂

SHOP THE Site-Wide Sale:

While not on sale, La Ligne has some wonderful new items worth saving up for, and if possible purchasing as they will definitely be timeless essentials to love and wear for years to come. One such item is the Elizabeth Blazer seen below.

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And one more delightful find discovered at La Ligne is their Breton sweater (navy and cream) for pups! The sizes are going fast, but I picked up one for Nelle. If it fits as I hope, we’ll keep it. *fingers crossed*. Norman loves his Barbour coat, so we are set there for him. 🙂

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I have welcomed a few Equipment cashmere sweaters into my wardrobe over the years, and have found them to be of sound quality for fair prices. They do slightly oversized well, as is the case for this classic style of sweater.

J.Crew End-of-Season Cashmere Sale

One more sale of note! Save on cashmere at J.Crew. While many sweaters and tops are on sale, my eye went for the gloves as I am in the market for a new pair. 🙂


Back to the office and regular weekly routines we go!

Norman happily stepped back into his bed in the office to nap while I worked this week, but first I caught this pic of him. Handsome mister this 14 1/2 year old gentleman is.

I hope this first week of the new year began well, and I must say, I love it when a year begins on a Monday. Now that is a fresh way to begin the new year!

And speaking of a new year, FR 105 (A2.3) class commenced right back up again, and this week my mind received a fantastic workout learning about the placement of COD (direct objects) pronouns as well as how (and when and where) to use les relatif pronoms (qui et que), both of which are grammatical knowledge I have always wanted to understand in French, and now I do! So that means this weekend I will be neck-deep, so to speak, drilling this knowledge into my memory.

With snow forecast this weekend here in Bend and most importantly on the mountain, I think nearly every Bendite’s toes and fingers are crossed that it will materialize. In the meantime, I have been savoring garden ponderings ,and this week’s Petit Plaisir has been the perfect companion for reading whilst I did so.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend full of moments to relax into the new year well, acknowledging your efforts to make the conscious change you seek and as always, savoring everyday moments that make you smile. Until Monday, bonne journée.

~Here is a list of the nominees for this Sunday’s Golden Globes Award Show, look for it on CBS [Variety]

~Rail is having a renaissance in Europe with more tracks and routes on the way! [NYTimes, gift link]

~America Ferrera talks about the monologue, you know the one, in Barbie [NYTimes]

~A wonderful resource post to save for travels to Paris and all of France created by The Earful Tower The Ultimate A to Z of Paris and France: The Full List.

~A beautiful thought to ponder and possibly change your perspective and brighten your everydays – The Parable of Luminous Reality [Zen Habits]

~And from the same writer, but on a more tactile front – Mastering the Inbox as a Spiritual Practice (ideas included) [Zen Habits]

~Monty Don’s January’s Tips & Advice post

~Speaking of gardening, the inextricable link between gardening and happiness [House & Garden UK]

~Men’s pajamas, a few wonderful brands worth getting out of bed for (for both men and women), [FT]

~The prettiest villages in the UK. Well, I have a feeling this is going to be debatable as there are SO many to choose from! But these no doubt are stunning and worth putting on a list of “visit soon!” [House & Garden UK]

~Let’s stay in Britain for a bit longer, shall we? Thank you long-time TSLL reader and member Janet B. for sharing this and the next article about tea – How Britain’s taste for tea may have been a life saver [BBC]

~It’s time for tea and more of us are savoring doing just that here in the states. What a great idea I hear TSLL readers saying years ago! 😉 [NYTimes, gift link]

~The Regime, A six-part mini-series that is a sartorial take on a modern European authoritarian regime’s downfall over the course of a year. The selected cast looks superb beginning with the lead Kate Winslett, and including many other well-known actors. Have a look at the trailer below and rest assured I will include it on a future This & That on the week it premieres in March.


~~Please note: TSLL is supported by you, readers who take the time to stop by (merci!), peruse and sometimes welcome into your life mentioned and recommended finds. Affiliate links are present in today’s post and may earn commissions for TSLL when you purchase. View TSLL’s full Privacy Policy here.

24 thoughts on “This & That: January 5, 2024

  1. I watched Bank of Dave earlier this week. Really enjoyed it and especially that it is based on a true story. Also liked The Empress, on Netflix, produced in Germany and based on the true story of Empress Elisabeth in 19th century Austria who was not afraid of making waves and asserting her independence.

    1. Judy,

      Thank you for sharing! And for the introduction to The Empress. 🙂 That sounds like something that would definitely be enjoyable. Thank you for stopping by today and have a wonderful weekend. xo

  2. What does your “typical” day look like? Just curious about rituals and routines, not in a creepy way.

  3. Yes, The Bank of Dave is a great film! I also liked the tea story links. I have had many tea parties over the years and drink tea daily from pretty cups. At my last tea party I made Jam Pennys, one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite nursery tea treats 🙂

  4. Happy New Year, Shannon! As usual, T&T is superb!
    The book recommendations look good. I’m definitely going to read The Pivot. Bank of Dave also looks interesting…with Downton’s Robert and Bond’s Tanner.
    I enjoyed the article about tea. A few years ago, I bought my little granddaughters a china tea set. They love it.
    Thank you for everything you do and the joy you bring the TSLL community.

    1. Katina,

      Thank you for stopping by. I enjoy reading what catches readers’ interest and thank you for the reminder about the cast of Bank of Dave. I hope you enjoy the film. 🙂 What a very special gift to give. No doubt they will treasure it for years to come. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  5. Shannon, as I’m leisurely working my way through this week’s T&T, I have to play catch-up & RAVE about a cookbook you mention in your Oct 13/23 T&T: “Milk Street Simple”. Wow. It’s fairly rare when I look through a new (to me) cookbook that, as much as I may love the photos & recipes, I find even one recipe that I actually put the effort into making.

    But 10 minutes after picking this book up from the library I was on-line ordering a copy, because it’s fantastic! First, this is the food we love — lots of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern & African influences & flavours (with a satisfying number of Far Eastern ones as well). Second, the recipes themselves are simple & straightforward (& healthy), with common & easily-found ingredients taken to new levels with the deft use of seasonings. And third, the book itself is a treat, with beautiful photos, well-presented recipes & plenty of tips & hints on how to achieve “simple” while maintaining a superior level of food excellence.

    A final endorsement? I spent 2023 learning how to cook all kinds of tofu in all kinds of ways, & at the end both my husband & I agreed that absolutely nothing we did to it made it palatable enough to want to ever try it again. He looked through “Milk Street Simple” & said, “this dude makes even tofu look good — maybe we should give it another try.”

    So thanks, Shannon! 2024 may be my year of doing a “Julie & Julia” inspired challenge, except with “Milk Street Simple” 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing your review of Milk Street. I was wondering about it. Also, Suzanne, I share your opinion of tofu. Let me know if you find a recipe you can live with😄

  6. Thanks, Shannon, for the first T&T of the year! 🙂

    A quick list of what caught my eye:
    – Divine Might
    – Miss Scarlet
    – Dave’s Bank
    – Good Grief
    – Chien Sweaters – I might have to get a pup now, just too cute to resist these little sweaters… 😉

    – and, of course, Norman’s beautiful picture. He is a true gentleman!

    Have a lovely weekend! Many pats to N & N! xo

    1. Isabel,

      Thank you for stopping by and Norman says thank you as well for your kind words ☺️🐾❤️ And isn’t that sweater for the pups too cute?! Oh my 🙃 Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Hi Shannon,

    As always I appreciate the weekly This n That. Thank you for the research that you do.

    I recently watched the Bank of Dave. I enjoyed it for the David vs Goliath theme, for a story well told with humour and a sprinkle of pathos, (my fave part is the courtroom scene) for likeable characters and for the happy feeling that I was left with.

    Happy New Year,

    1. Thank you for stopping by Linda 😌 So happy to hear you enjoyed the film (and as a teacher of rhetoric, so love hearing you caught the use of pathos ☺️). Happy New Year to you as well. 💛

  8. The first This & That of the year did not disappoint.

    Pivot Year looks like a wonderful daily read not only for myself, but for my daughter-in-law (who tends to overthink things) as well, and 2 were quickly placed in my cart as her birthday is next month.

    I mentioned in an earlier post that I enjoy observing what I like to call my Sabbath where I have a complete day of rest. Well, tomorrow is the day and I will spend it watching Bank of Dave and a “double-feature ‘ of Miss Scarlett and the Duke and another favorite, All Creatures Great and Small.
    Good Grief looks like a beautiful film and, judging by the cast, The Regime looks like a must-see.

    The Chien Sweater is simply adorable and Miss Nelle will look stunning.

    I immediately grabbed up the J Crew cashmere gloves and am even debating another pair. Thank you for always sharing such great finds. If anyone is a fan of linen sheets, now is the time to make that purchase. I absolutely love the set I picked up a few years ago and they are still in pristine condition.

    Hope everyone’s start to 2024 is going well and your year is spent relishing in every moment.

    ~Michelle xx

    1. Michelle,

      Tickled you enjoyed this week’s T&T and found it3ms that spoke to you. 😌 Wishing you a wonderful day today relaxing, rejuvenating and enjoying what speaks to you. Sounds delightful to me! ☺️

  9. All the articles look fabulous, can’t wait to peruse. How is it possible but I do not own a single Mary Berry cookbook, I must make amends, this one is just the ticket! “Divine Might” definitely belongs in my library–remember ordering Scholastic books in school? All the amazing choices, the winnowing down, the anticipation, and ahhh the joy when at last you were called up to the front of the class to receive your treasure?! The first book that I ordered, (I could only order one), was a collection of Greek myths. A book centering on the Greek goddesses?? Yes please–and I love the cover, very evocative of the decorations adorning Attic Greek pottery. Thank you Shannon, another great T&T! And oh my heart, sweet gentle Norman💖xx~Rona

    1. Rona,

      I do! It was one of my most anticipated times especially when they hosted a book sale in our library (not sure if that happened everywhere), so many books to dream about welcoming home ☺️ Thank you for the nostalgic reminder. 💛 I do hope yo7 enjoy this book. I agree, it looks to be fascinating and I cannot wait to read it myself. Have a wonderful Sunday!

  10. Dear Shannon,

    After pausing my subscription for over a year, I have un-paused it and returned to your lovely content. It is just what I need to feel grounded again, having lost my way a bit after retiring and moving from Philadelphia to midcoast Maine. Your podcasts and content are invaluable. Thank you for all that you do. So glad to be back.

    Carole xx

    1. Carole,

      Welcome back. You are always welcome here 😌 and may this year find you settling well into your new home and state! Thank you for stopping by and fo4 you4 comment to share what you have. Bonne année !

  11. Shannon. Love the picture of Norman, what a regal fella. Thank you for the film recommendations, Bank of Dave and Good Grief, the last couple of films I tried to watch were awful. Reading Single At Heart based on your blog post and interview with Bella DePaulo and really enjoying it. Did the test and surprise, surprise scored 14/14 with resounding Yes to the last question. 😀. Just purchased the Pivot Year which sounds interesting and something I would like to explore, the reviews were great, so thank you. Thanks Judy.m for The Empress, I will add that to my list to watch. Hope your snow materializes, seems like it is a very low snow year in so many places this year, which is always scary for our snow pack. Have a good weekend and coming week everyone

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