Read, Drink, Listen

The monthly must-haves.


In 1947, a passenger plane headed to New York falls from the sky. A scrappy personal injury lawyer named Arthur Wise represents the families of the deceased. Years pass, and finally, Arthur wins big. He moves his family to Cape Cod, to a house named Bluepoint. There Arthur’s awkward 17-year-old son, Hilly, meets Lem Dawson, the African-American caretaker of the house, and Lem’s beautiful niece Savannah. One summer and a series of passionate mistakes will haunt Hilly Wise for the rest of his life. Stuart Nadler’s novel, Wise Men, is the gift that readers should give themselves this month

—Maureen Millea Smith is a librarian at Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.

*Available for $25.99  at Barnes & Noble in the Galleria.


While it’s fun to receive gifts this time of year, the greatest feeling is giving gifts that others appreciate. This month, try a wine that not only gives back, but is made by Minneapolis native Dave Ready Jr., who believes that making good wine means showing the “soul” of the wine. Ready is the lead winemaker at the California winery Murphy Goode in Sonoma County and makes a plethora of fabulous varietals and styles. Its Homefront Red is sultry, with a combination of syrah, merlot, petite sirah and zinfandel; the winery also believes in giving back, so for every bottle sold, Murphy Goode donates 50 cents to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit that provides emergency and financial assistance to families of service members and wounded warriors. This holiday season, give a wine that not only tastes good but helps others too.

—Leslee Miller is a certified sommelier and owner of local wine consulting firm Amusée.

*Available at Edina Liquor locations for $12.99.


Happy holidays! A fun CD that finds itself in my player each year is When It Snows by the Blenders. The band hails from the Fargo area, but currently lives in the Twin Cities. Each year, they perform to sold-out houses on their holiday tour. When It Snows includes timeless collections of Christmas classics in a unique vocal blend style. “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory segues into “White Christmas”; “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” shows off their vocal blend, sans instruments, and “When it Snows” portrays the warmth of the holiday season. The Blenders have other holiday CDs as well, and once you hear this one, you’ll want them all.

Patty Peterson, award-winning vocalist and Jazz 88 KBEM radio host, shares her CD pick of the month. Visit her at

* Available online at iTunes for $9.99.