Edina Books, Wine and Music Picks for November

The monthly must-haves.

Nothing is better than the gift of a book. Friends who enjoyed the taut psychological suspense of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn will appreciate The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison, a word-of-mouth summer favorite. Foodies will want both Michael Pollan’s Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation and Michael Paterniti’s The Telling Room: A Story of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese. Mystery lovers will enjoy The Cuckoo’s Calling, written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs that Squeak, Soar, and Roar! is the choice for all ages.
–Maureen Millea Smith is a librarian at Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.

As the holiday season approaches, gifting wine for different tastes can feel overwhelming. But a couple of wine styles will intrigue even the toughest critics. An unoaked chardonnay will strike those looking for something crisp, yet rich. For those who only drink red wine, how about a crowd-pleaser from the Rhône valley of France? Wine merchant Kermit Lynch’s Côtes du Rhône, a blend of grenache and syrah, is a supple yet structured red that pairs with almost everything on a holiday table—and most red-wine-loving personalities. From lighter salads and root vegetables to roasted turkey and sliced rare tenderloin, the depth of this peppery Rhône keeps the palate wanting more, while the juicy, dark-berry fruit tempts even the toughest of palates. Perfect for any occasion or holiday gift!
–Leslee Miller is a certified sommelier and owner of local wine consulting firm Amusée.


Thanksgiving is the official kickoff of the holiday season, and imagine turning on the songs of Nat King Cole, done to perfection by another artist. That artist is George Benson. His newest release is called INSPIRATION—A Tribute to Nat King Cole. He begins with his rendition of “Mona Lisa” as an 8-year-old boy, singing and playing ukulele, and then continues with current arrangements of “Just One of Those Things,” “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and one of my all-time favorites, “Nature Boy.” The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra did orchestration for the recording project, and the easily identifiable Benson guitar/vocal interpretations shine during the solo sections. Benson also covers Cole’s “Route 66,” “Smile”, and “When I Fall in Love.” Another time in our lives to create memories that are truly “Unforgettable.”
-Patty Peterson, award-winning vocalist and Jazz 88-KBEM radio host, shares her CD pick of the month.