Read, Drink, Listen

The monthly must-haves.

Tom Rob Smith's debut novel, Child 44, remains to this day one of the best thrillers I have ever read. Exciting, adventuresome, at times disturbing and extraordinarily original, Child 44 is one of those rare debuts that seems impossible to top.


Smith does an equally impressive job in his newest novel: Agent 6. Set in the Cold War-era Soviet Union, Agent 6 follows the store of Leo Demidov, a former member of Moscow's secret police, who finds himself trapped in a political conspiracy when his wife and daughters are invited to attend an event in New York City without him. The tragedy that ensues and the steps that Demidov takes to solve the mystery will keep you at the edge of your seat. –Charlie Leonard



607 E. Lake St.



Agent 6


Besides being the owner of the Bookcase in Wayzata, the Twin Cities’ oldest independent bookstore, Charlie Leonard has been at various times a writer, editor and teacher, and is currently the founder and executive director of Blue Water Theatre Company in Plymouth.




This month, I’d like to introduce my favorite German beer from Dusseldorf: Uerige Doppelsticke Altbier. It starts off with an enormous grain bill similar to that of an English barley wine, although in this one, they add a large amount of wheat as well. It’s then aggressively bittered with Spalt hops and undergoes the classic alt-style fermentation. This lightly carbonated beauty pours mahogany in color with rich plum, fig, brown sugar and spice notes. The beer has a warming but dry and tight finish that hides the 8.5 percent ABV. Its hops add to the complexity, giving this beer a great herbal aroma that balances its vinous, port-like qualities. Try this beer with your favorite German cuisine, earthy cheeses and chocolate desserts. –Tyler Melton

uerige dopplesticke althier



17521 Minnetonka Blvd.




Tyler Melton is the manager of The Wine Shop. Sign up for their weekly recommendations by e-mailing [email protected], and read their best seasonal drink pick on this page each month.




It took 44 years, but The Beach Boys' The Smile Sessions is finally finished. Sort of. This isn't the Pet Sounds follow-up that drove Brian Wilson insane, but rather an astonishingly complete album culled from the glut of material recorded by Wilson, The Boys and an army of session musicians from 1966–67. While the "real" Smile will remain forever unknown, The Smile Sessions has killer singles interspersed with dense sound collages. "Heroes and Villains" contains more ideas in five minutes than any song by Wilson's rivals, The Beatles. The cryptic beauty of "Surf's Up" is capital-A art. "Good Vibrations" is the Beach Boys song for many; slotting it as the last track concludes the album with one of the best pop songs ever committed to tape. –Jack Kentala

Smile The Beach Boys



Barnes & Noble

13131 Ridgedale Dr.


Jack Kentala, a local freelance writer and filmmaker, haunts most Twin Cities indie rock shows. He’s the tall guy blocking your view of the stage. He also recently directed his second feature film, which hits the festival circuit this year.