Read, Drink, Listen

Expert Picks for Books, Wine and Music


Set during the bombing of St. Malo in Brittany, All the Light We Cannot See brings together a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and Werner, a teenage German soldier, whose skills with radio have made him an expert tracker of the Resistance. Author Anthony Doerr weaves science, geography and the humanity of two wonderful characters into the arc of World War II’s painful drama to create a story that draws in readers of history, suspense and literary fiction. As summer begins on Memorial Day weekend, this impossible-to-put-down novel will add resonance to the holiday’s meaning. —Maureen Millea Smith
Available at Barnes and Noble and Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

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


May brings one of my favorite sporting seasons: baseball. Create your own wine and baseball pairing party at home the next time you’re catching your favorite Minnesota team on the telly.
Sparkling wine, because of its effervescence, is the best pairing answer for anything super-salty or fried. Sparkling wine is made from a wide range of grape varietals. So let’s go with my favorite ballpark food: Cracker Jack. The perfect pairing is Oregon winery Sokol Blosser’s new Evolution Sparkling. This winery’s sparkling keeps a nice balance of fresh, ripe citrus and sweet tropical flavors. Left with a slightly off-dry yet zippy finish, I can see this wine playing very nicely with a salty-sweet box of ballpark Cracker Jack. Try it and tell me what you think! —Leslee Miller
Visit Edina Liquor or France 44 for similar selections.

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


May flowers are here! Time to put on the dancing shoes and pop in some music that inspires. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga have had huge success with their release Cheek to Cheek. Turn this CD on to hear heartfelt interpretations of some of the most popular songs from the Great American Songbook. Gaga certainly surprises by singing jazz, and the pair’s connection proves age makes no differences when music is the bond. “Anything Goes,” “They All Laughed,” and “I Won’t Dance” are rousing big-band numbers featuring swinging vocals. A jazz quartet accompanies on several songs, and the ballads are done tastefully. Bennett and Gaga also have solo songs that will enchant. —Patty Peterson
CD or digital download available at Amazon and iTunes.

Patty Peterson is an award-winning vocalist and Jazz 88 KBEM radio host.