In 1922, Count Alexander Ilych Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel off Moscow’s Theatre Square. Convicted of being an aristocrat, Rostov is saved from execution by a poem. The count is then banished from a suite to a dusty attic room and is befriended by a little girl named Nina who knows all the secrets of the Metropol. Their friendship will define the rest of Rostov’s life. Readers who liked Amor Towles’ novel, Rules of Civility, will love A Gentleman in Moscow. Put down the rakes of October and pick up this great adventure novel set in a grand hotel. —Maureen Millea Smith
Available at a Hennepin County Library.
Maureen Millea Smith is a librarian at the Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.
There’s nothing more revitalizing than the change of seasons in the Mid-west. A grape I often crave during these seasonal changes is Schiava. Most notably grown in the northern Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige, Schiava is a light-bodied red grape with notes of delightfully ripe summer strawberry, cheery red raspberry, soft violet and sometimes dried rose petal floral aromas. While Schiava works any time of year alongside many light foods, it’s especially delicious paired with fall veggies. The grape can also stand up to roasted poultry and lighter beef dishes. One of my current favorites on the shelf today comes from Weingut Niklas with notes of wild berry, pomegranate, bright tangerine and spice. It’s perfect enough to sip with just a slight chill in the air or paired with favorites from your fall harvest. —Leslee Miller
Look for similar selections at Edina Liquor.
Leslee Miller is a certified sommelier and owner of local wine consulting firm, Amusée.
I love to play great music in the background when sitting outside on a lovely fall evening or while I’m cooking inside. This month, George Benson comes to mind. Benson is a child prodigy who started out as a jazz guitarist at age 21, playing his brand of soul jazz with organist Jack McDuff. In 1976, he segued into pop music with the release of his album Breezin that went triple platinum and hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Many of Benson’s hits are on a 1981 release called The George Benson Collection including the very first version of The Greatest Love Of All. Benson’s voice is second to none and his guitar riffs will leave you wanting more. —Patty Peterson
CD available on Amazon, iTunes and at the George Benson website.
Patty Peterson, award winning vocalist and Jazz 88, KBEM radio host.