This & That: October 27, 2023
Friday October 27, 2023

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Bibliophiles are in for a treat (and I promise, no trick) this week as I have no fewer than 10 books of all sorts of genres to share with you, many of them Editor’s Picks and all definitely worth exploring. As well, a fantastic new film I cannot wait to see that reunites the magic that had such great success in Sideways. Fall style finds are also shared along with two sales and the return of a favorite show that takes us back just over 100 years in US history. Plus, much, much more.


The deVol Kitchen: Designing and Styling the Most Important Room in Your Home by Paul O’Leary, Robin McLellan and Helen Parker

The kitchen can easily become the most frequented room in the home, and if you love to cook, even more so. In a new book being released on October 31st, Paul O’Leary, who founded deVol more than 30 years ago back in his workshop in Leicestershire, England, alongside his co-directors Robin McLellan and Helen Parker, they share how kitchens are more than a workplace, but also full of “stories about [the home cooks and their family’s] personal journeys, and it is full of passion, determination, and sometimes a little luck. Alongside the inspiring photographs of kitchens they’ve designed and furnished, The deVOL Kitchen reveals childhood memories and fascinating experiences that have undoubtedly shaped their unique approach to designing, making, and running deVOL.”

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A Dictator Calls: A novel by Ismail Kadare 

A translated book that has been receiving international praise, Ismail Kadare’s novel A Dictator Calls reflects on three particular minutes in a long moment of time when the dark shadow of Joseph Stalin passed over the world. “In June 1934, Stalin allegedly called Boris Pasternak and they spoke about the arrest of Osip Mandelstam. A telephone call from the dictator was not something necessarily relished, and in the complicated world of literary politics it would have provided opportunities for potential misunderstanding and profound trouble. But this was a call one could not ignore. Stalin wanted to know what Pasternak thought of the idea that Mandelstam had been arrested. 

“Ismail Kadare explores the afterlife of this phone call using accounts of witnesses, reporters, writers such as Isaiah Berlin and Anna Akhmatova, wives, mistresses, biographers, and even archivists of the KGB.”

Dressing the Part: Televisions Most Stylish Shows by Hal Rubenstein

Clothes can have the power to influence culture, and Hal Rubenstein demonstrates just this point in his new book being released on October 31st. In Dressing the Part, explore “Mary Tyler Moore’s capri pants on The Dick van Dyke Show and Emma Peel’s dominatrix jumpsuit on The Avengers to Olivia Pope’s trademark white trench on Scandal and Don Drapers’ grey sharkskin suits on Mad MenDressing the Part is a rich history of popular American fashion and culture in the modern age. In this gorgeous compendium, the longtime fashion director and expert identifies the most stylish television shows of the past 70 years, highlighting the ways they have affected and often inspired ordinary Americans’ wardrobes. Combining his decades of fashion expertise and insider knowledge with lush photographs, archival sketches, fascinating interviews with  over two dozen of television’s best costume designers, commentary from showrunners and co-stars, and little-known backstories, Rubenstein reveals with insight and wit how television has shaped everyday fashion, guiding and often elevating how we dress.”

Madonna: A Rebel Life by Mary Gabriel

As someone who came of age in the late 80s and into the 90s, Madonna was the singer of our times, at least in my world. If I can recall correctly, it was her tape that was my first purchase to listen to in my walkman. I know! I am dating myself. ☺️ In a new biography that editors are praising, released on October 10th, Mary Gabriel explores what many of us now know more than we understood when she was began her career as a one-name star that quickly skyrocketed.

“Madonna was more than just a pop star. Everywhere, fans gravitated to her as an emblem of a new age, one in which feminism could shed the buttoned-down demeanor of the 1970s and feel relevant to a new generation. Amid the scourge of AIDS, she brought queer identities into the mainstream, fiercely defending a person’s right to love whomever—and be whoever—they wanted. Despite fierce criticism, she never separated her music from her political activism. And, as an artist, she never stopped experimenting. Madonna existed to push past boundaries by creating provocative, visionary music, videos, films, and live performances that changed culture globally.”

On Marriage by Devorah Baum

An intriguing and thought-provoking exploration about how discussion of marriage told through history, or perhaps more aptly, as Devorah Baum reveals, history told through marriage, affects how we value, and perhaps misplace value regarding the importance of marriage. “Interweaving reflections on her own experiences of matrimony to both critique and celebrate marriage’s many contradictions and its profound effects on us all, in doing so, she reveals how marriage has worked as a cover story for power and its abuses on the one hand, and for subversive and even utopian relational practices on the other.” I for one, am most curious to read On Marriage, released earlier this week on the 24th.

The Raging Storm: A novel (book #3 in Matthew Venn series) by Ann Cleaves

Reviewed recently in The WSJ, Ann Cleaves’ (the author of both the beloved Vera and Shetland series now turned into successful tv shows)) third book in her Matthew Venn mystery series, The Raging Storm takes readers, “during an autumn gale, to Greystone, Devon. The residents are delighted to have a celebrity in their midst with the arrival of Jem Rosco―sailor, adventurer, and legend. But just as abruptly as he arrived, Rosco disappears again, and soon his lifeless body is discovered in a dinghy, anchored off Scully Cove, a place with legends of its own.” Sounds like a captivating read during a blustery autumn evening at home.

British Finds

Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night: A novel by Sophie Hannah

In preparation for the holidays, a new book starring Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgian sleuth was released this past Tuesday, written by Sophie Hannah. Let’s set the scene: “It’s December 19, 1931. Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool are looking forward to a much-needed, restful Christmas holiday, when they are called upon to investigate the murder of a man in a Norfolk hospital ward. Cynthia Catchpool, Edward’s mother, insists that Poirot stay with her in a crumbling mansion by the coast, so that they can all be together for the festive period while he solves the case.” I think this may be another cosy mystery to savor, as when Poirot leads the way, I know we are in good hands.

This England, BritBox

The drama behind the doors of 10 Downing Street whilst Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it his residence continued to unfold well after the pandemic came to an end as no doubt all Britons are well aware, and now a new Sky original (which recently aired in September in the UK) is coming to BritBox. Tune in on November 1st to watch a limited series that follows the events surrounding Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government in the face of the first wave of COVID-19. Have a look at the trailer below, starring Thomas Turgoose as Johnson.


Big Heart, Little Stove Cookbook: Bringing Home Meals and Moments from the Lost Kitchen by Erin French

Being released on Tuesday October 31st, Erin French’s new cookbook Big Heart Little Stove will provide “go-to inspiration for cooking thoughtful and meaningful, yet refreshingly simple meals. With more than 75 recipes and her favorite hospitality “signatures,” Erin French shares from the “family recipe box and the menu at The Lost Kitchen, ranging from irresistible nibbles like Pecorino Puffs and Gram’s Clam Dip; to luscious soups like Golden Tomato & Peach and Potato & Lentil with Bacon and Herbs; to heaping platters of family-style salads and sides like Peach & Blackberry Salad and Green Beans with Sage, Garlic, and Breadcrumbs; to show-stopping main courses like Pickle-Brined Roast Chicken and Wednesday Night Fish Fry; to French’s favorite all-purpose kitchen staples like Kitchen Sink Pesto and Floral Vinegar, this cookbook has all the tools you need for assembling a seamlessly special meal.

But this is not just a cookbook. “With tips and tricks French has used in her own dining room―at home and in the restaurant―this book is your invitation to use what’s around you to create meaningful moments, from setting a table with found treasures, to adorning dishes with edible flowers, to thoughtful gestures such as offering a cold cloth on a hot day.”

Seafood Simple: A Cookbook by Eric Ripert

After reading a fun profile piece on the Michelin starred chef Eric Ripert in the WSJ this past weekend, I immediately wanted to take a look at his new cookbook (his simple, yet adamant approach of noting the flavor value of salt and pepper had me nodding my head in complete agreement), and as someone who eats seafood multiple times each week, I think this book may be making its way soon to my cookbook library.

Already a New York Times Bestseller, Seafood Simple “breaks down cooking techniques into their building blocks, along with images to illustrate each step in the process, Seafood Simple teaches readers how to master core skills, from poaching and deep frying to filleting a fish and shucking an oyster. These techniques are then applied to eighty-five straightforward, delicious recipes, many of which include substitutions for maximum ease. Dishes like Tuna Carpaccio, Crispy Fish Tacos, Shrimp Tempura, Miso Cod, and Spaghetti Vongole show us how to bring out the vibrant flavor and incredible versatility of seafood. Each recipe is accompanied by a gorgeous image by renowned photographer Nigel Parry, as well as step-by-step photos for each of the twenty techniques taught in the book.”

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Veg-Table: Recipes, Techniques and Plant Science for Big-Flavored, Vegetable-Focused Meals by Nik Sharma

It all began with his blog, A Brown Table, and now Winner of the IACP’s Trailblazer award and a nominee for multiple James Beard awards, Nik Sharma‘s new cookbook Veg-Table, arriving this past Tuesday, is receiving rave reviews from critics. “Vegetable-focused recipes are organized into chapters by plant family, with storage, buying, and cooking methods for all. The result is a recipe collection of big flavors and techniques that are tried, true, and perfected by rigorous testing and a deep scientific lens. 

“Included here are Sharma’s first-ever pasta recipes published in a cookbook: Pasta with Broccoli Miso Sauce, Shallot and Spicy Mushroom Pasta, and more. And vegetable-focused doesn’t mean strictly vegetarian; bring plants and animal protein together with delicious recipes like Chicken Katsu with Poppy Seed Coleslaw and Crispy Salmon with Green Curry Spinach. A wide variety of hot and cold soups, salads, sides, sauces, and rice-, egg-, and bean-based dishes round out this collection.”

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The Holdovers

Now, this film, just looks hilariously enjoyable. If you loved the film Sideways starring Paul Giamatti, I have a fairly good feeling, you are going to appreciate and savor this film as well. Why? Giamatti partners back up with director Alexander Payne who, yep, directed Sideways.

The Holdovers is “a Christmas story of three lonely, shipwrecked people at a New England boarding school over a very snowy holiday break in 1970. The comedy stars Giamatti as Paul Hunham, an odiferous, optically-challenged adjunct professor of ancient history who is universally disliked by students and faculty; Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb, the head cook of the school whose only child Curtis was killed in Vietnam, and Dominic Sessa, in his film debut, as Angus Tully, a student at the school – a smart, damaged, troublemaker but a good kid underneath who’s just trying to make his way. Left to their own devices in the empty school, there are adventures, a little calamity and finally, a semblance of family.”

Look for it in select theaters today, and then nationwide on November 10th. I think this will be a film to watch. Have a look at the trailer below.

The Pain Hustlers

Being released today on Netflix, starring Emily Blunt as Liza Drake, “after losing her job, a woman who’s struggling to raise her daughter takes a job out of desperation. She begins work at a failing pharmaceutical startup, but what she doesn’t anticipate is the dangerous racketeering scheme she’s suddenly entered.” Andy Garcia and Chris Evans also star in this drama that puts Drake in the middle of a criminal conspiracy. Have a look at the trailer for The Pain Hustlers below.


Everlane’s Italian ReWool Long Peacoat, heathered charcoal (two more colors)

Winter’s chill was felt this past week, and this coat communicates a statement as well as classic chicness. Oh, yes, it looks super warm as well. 😉 But sincerely, what a lovely take on a neutral. Love this look.

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Mango, 30% off site-wide (when you spend $230+)

If you have been eyeing anything at Mango recently, maybe a winter coat or something that will be a bit of an investment, now is the time to scoop it up because when you purchase $230 or more, you will receive 30% off – just remember to enter MANGO30 at checkout. I have shopped a few items below that would be worth adding to a capsule wardrobe.

This round-neck stripe sweater (a green and beige color option is also available)

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Serena & Lily’s Private Warehouse Sale, 15% off

Looking to add a few finishing touches to your home? Serena & Lily is cleaning out their warehouse and each item is already reduced, but then you can save an additional 15% when you use promo code GREAT. I have shopped a few items below, but be sure to take a look at the entire sale, especially if you are looking for duvets, pillows, sheets and any other fabric and textured items. Oh! Rugs! A great time to save on a rug from S & L if you have had your eye on a particular style.


The Gilded Age, season 2, Max

It’s been almost 18 months, but finally The Gilded Age has returned for its anticipated second season on Max. Premiering this coming Sunday, the 29th, tune in to Julian Fellowes’ new period piece that has captivated audiences to discover how “Bertha inches toward a leading role in society, Marian starts teaching, Ada begins a new courtship, and Peggy taps into her activist spirit.” Have a look at the trailer below. I will be watching with you this weekend!


And just like that, autumn (which resembled late summer) has shifted to a taste of winter.

On Wednesday morning we woke up to a skiff of snow, but much more than a fine layer, as at the park where we took our walk, Norman and Nelle romped and played in the coverings of the open grass areas, taking nibbles here and there and reveling in the season that said its first hello for this go-round. Skiing and snowshoeing (which they accompany me when I go) is soon to be our walk of choice!

Which means, the garden is now put to bed, or needs to be. I still have one more major task to do, as I shared in Monday’s monthly gardening post, but otherwise, the transition into cozying in and reading even more (is that possible? I will take it if it is!) is the trend I am embracing. I began to do just this when I enjoyed an afternoon tea break at a local bakery (shown above). With my copy of the new biography of Claude Monet, I sipped and nibbled and read away on a beautiful, yet slightly chilly Bend blue bird day.

With that said, the afternoon moment of repose followed a full week of writing as coming this Saturday (tomorrow) is a new episode of the cooking show. A peek at what we are making is shown here, and the coupe is a hint as to what is on the ingredient list. As well, on Sunday, the monthly Smile post will be shared for TOP Tier Members, and along with all of the other regular weekly content next week, look for the November A Cuppa Moments on November 1st and the Annual Holiday shopping guide on Saturday November 4th!

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Needless to say, and with the snowfall mentioned as well, I am gently getting excited about the winter holidays arriving. But first, Halloween and All Saints Day, and as I have shared before, the first three weeks of November is often one my favorite times of the year as there is more ease, more calm, and knowing the end of a year is nearing, contemplation and reflection, thus more savoring. 😌

Speaking of contemplation, in Wednesday’s Signature Style post, I shared my detailed reflection (complete with hand-picked and shopped items) of what worked and what needs a bit of polish when it comes to what I packed on my recent trip to England, and thankfully there was much more of the former and less of the latter!

Now to the weekend, shall we! Thank you very much for stopping by today, and below I have compiled a handful of articles and one video you might enjoy. Until tomorrow, bonne journée.

~A worthwhile read, that for the most part had me nodding my head in agreement – Phone call etiquette with smart phones [The Washington Post]

~This is a beautiful home, full of inspiration for adding thoughtful details – the subside stool, the primary bedroom, Suleika’s office, so many ideas! – Tour Jon Baptist and Suleika Jaouad’s 19th Century Brooklyn Townhouse. [Architectural Digest]

~Perhaps you already know about Claudia Goldin’s Nobel prize in Economics, as it was announced earlier in October, but it certainly one of note as she uncovered key drivers of gender differences in the labour market. [Nobel Prize] I especially appreciated this column on the award recipient’s findings shared in The Financial Times.

~If you will be traveling to the Cotswolds, save this article – the best restaurants as recommended by foodies and locals. [House & Garden UK]

~If you are looking for a Halloween costume and want to celebrate being a Francophile, here are 21 French-Inspired costume ideas [Frenchly]

~Tracee Ellis Ross shares how solo travel is one of the highest forms of self-care. I concur completely. [Travel + Leisure]

~If you are beginning to plan your Thanksgiving menu, why not include David Lebovitz’s Pecan Pie with Bourbon and Ginger?

~And speaking of feasts, if you just love food and enjoy exploring its origins, this archived article about the history of pasta shared in The Atlantic is a worthwhile read.

~If your schedule is already becoming more harried than you would prefer, read this article – 7 easy steps to start prioritizing self-care [Pick the Brain]

~How simplicity reveals itself [Zen Habits]


~Well, I have been waiting for a peek of what is to come beginning on November 16th, and now we have it! The trailer for season 2 of Julia on Max! Take a look!

~Explore last week’s This & That: October 20, 2023:

Unique and highly praised new films, books for all sorts of interests – cooking, having it all, mystery and more, as well as sought-after tableware finds from trusted designers in their field, fall and winter style finds that will be with you for years to come and still much, much more. 

~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.

6 thoughts on “This & That: October 27, 2023

  1. Wow, yes, a treat for bibliophiles! I cannot do a proper perusing right now, so I will be back later to properly enjoy myself. 🙂

    In the meantime, I want to wish you – and everyone at TSLL – a lovely weekend! In Europe, Winter Time (Daylight Saving) starts this Sunday, so we will have a complementary hour to rest. Pats to all your furry companions. 🙂

    xo 🙂

  2. Shannon~

    It’s a full This & That day today!

    Turgoose has Johnson’s look down pat. Very interested in this one as I began following British news during that time since news in the States was so tumultuous, to say the least. Although the Brits had many of the same issues, I was able to separate myself from life as we knew it a bit. Erin French’s new cookbook looks enticing along with the Golden Tomato & Peach Soup, which has definitely piqued my curiosity as does anything by chef Eric Ripert (I might have a bit of a crush on him). The Holdovers looks fabulous. I love Paul Giamatti! I must watch Sideways as you are the second person of late to recommend it. Ooooo…Emily Blunt’s film looks excellent! And, I am so looking forward to the new season of Julia, as well.

    I wish I had the email address of the man who is near me at the coffee shop so I can send him the WP article about phone etiquette, and how it is inappropriate to use a speakerphone in public :).

    I can’t believe you are already experiencing snow. I must remember to cover my herbs on Tuesday as it is forecasted to get down to 31°, but, alas, it will creep back up to 62° by Friday.

    My Saturday will be spent taking my soon-to-be five-year-old granddaughter for brunch and a manicure as a birthday treat. Then we will bake a cake together from a recipe shared by Nigella, Autumnal Birthday Cake, made with maple syrup, which sounds interesting. However, I will be catching TSL Kitchen during her naptime ;).

    Have a wonderful weekend!


  3. Oh wow, looking forward to The Holdovers and Season 2 of Julia after seeing the trailers. Thank you for always bringing interesting content!

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