The monthly must-haves.


If you were to combine Homer’s Odyssey, Melville’s Moby Dick and anything by James Michener, you would likely end up with Carsten Jensen’s new epic novel, We, the Drowned. Set in the fictional port town of Marstal, the book tells the saga of a group of people throughout a 100-year period—from the mid-19th century to the end of World War II. A fantastic adventure novel that will appeal to the serious readers who are looking for something with a little bit of a classical appeal, it’s truly an outstanding summer read. Available at The Bookcase, 607 E. Lake St., Wayzata; 952.473.8341

–Charlie Leonard, owner of The Bookcase in Wayzata, is also the founder and director of the Blue Water Theatre Company in Plymouth.


As the mercury begins to rise, it’s time to think about hot days ahead and refreshing summer white wines to enjoy.  Twin Vines Vinho Verde from Portugal is one of the most soothing wines to prep for those summer scorchers. Vinho verde means “green vines” and refers to the youthful style of this light, crisp and slightly sparkling wine. If you want something a bit sweeter, try Bianchi New Age from Argentina. It is similar to the verde, but has a much sweeter edge. Available for less than $10 at Vinifera Wines and Ales in Oakwood Square, 1400 County Rd. 101 N.; 763.473.0008

–Christian Nesheim is the co-owner and general manager of Vinifera Wines and Ales, and has more than 10 years of experience in the wine, ale and spirits industry.


What am I listening to? What’s got my foot tapping the floor? It’s July Fighter, a local band with a self-titled debut album already out and a second CD slated for release this month. Their debut features a strong mix of rock and country/alternative tunes that speak of love, longing and loss from an uncertain hope and a knowledge of better things to come. I spoke with bass player Jason Krueth, an affable fellow with a perpetual optimism, and he assures me the new release will contain all the marvelous textures and tones of the debut, but with a musical maturity that only comes from a band that has spent the past year honing its craft to razor’s edge. Check for purchasing information, local shows and more.

–Pablo Charis is a local musician (currently recording his own CD to be released this summer), who plays with his band Soul Flower and teaches private guitar lessons throughout the Twin Cities.