Read, Drink, Listen

Imagine standing outdoors on a sunny day beneath a sky darkened by billions of passenger pigeons. These birds seemed infinite to Native Americans and amazing to European explorers. Readers will learn from naturalist Joel Greenberg in A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction, about the 1914 death of Martha, the world’s last passenger pigeon, at the Cincinnati Zoo. Greenberg explains how this happened in fascinating and sobering historical detail. —Maureen Millea Smith

Available for $17.99 at Barnes & Noble in the Galleria.

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

Home, as they say, is where the heart is. While traveling, we can get caught up in exotic wine regions and forget about wines made in our home state of Minnesota.

Grape varietals that come from vitis riparia are used for many popular wine grapes developed at the University of Minnesota. One in particular that has gained popularity is Frontenac gris. With aromas of peach and apricot, this wine can surprise with its fresh and bright quality.

My current favorite, from the Indian Island Winery of Janesville, Minn., is loaded with notes of peach, pear, apricot, honey and citrus—a true gem of the state’s varietal. Fresh, balanced and perfectly priced for no more than $15, this wine is a real steal and a great way to sample wine made in our own backyard. —Leslee Miller

Find similar selections at Edina area liquor stores.

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

Ah, summer is here. Playing outdoors is so delightful that playful music must accompany our playful spirits. Hank Williams Jr.’s CD The Almeria Club Recordings is a classic example of this summer liveliness. Williams is known for his vocal work on the Monday Night Football theme song and for his sharp sense of humor in such songs as “Big Top Women” and “Outdoor Lovin’ Man.” He also embraces his emotional side, with songs written for friends he’s lost, including “On the Highway” and “America Will Survive.” And there’s plenty of that honky-tonk sound he’s known for. So go ahead, put on the Almeria jam and enjoy! —Patty Peterson

Available on iTunes, Amazon and at

Patty Peterson is an award-winning vocalist and KBEM radio host.