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1. VSL readers fell in love with Alex Ross’s first book, The Rest Is Noise, a definitive look at the music and the history of the twentieth century. Ross, the non-pop-music critic at The New Yorker, brings the same erudition and cleverness he displays in his magazine writing to this ambitious 624-page book. To read the original e-mail, click here.

2. HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me attempts to break new ground when it comes to honestly portraying the pitfalls of marriage, but nothing compares to Ingmar Bergman’s classic Scenes From a Marriage, our top DVD pick of the month. The six-episode mini-series from 1973 remains as engrossing, enlightening, and impassioned as anything you’ll find on TV today. To read the original e-mail, click here.

3. The most popular Web pick of October? The funny and addictive Website Planet Hiltron. The site has tons of perfectly Photoshopped pictures of celebrities like Ben Affleck, J-Lo, Britney, and (of course) Paris Hilton doctored to resemble regular, schlumpy humans. Schadenfreude has never felt so good. To read the original e-mail, click here.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. You click, we listen