The Pulitzer Prize-winning and Minneapolis born novelist Anne Tyler sets her fiction among families in Baltimore. Complicated, yet wonderful mothers are a specialty of hers. In Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, cautious Pearl Tull has a third, just-in-case, child, in fear that she might lose one of her children. Instead Pearl’s husband walks out on her in 1944, leaving her to raise three children alone. Breathing Lessons is a road trip novel taken by Maggie and Ira Moran. The destination of this travel is a funeral. Kooky Maggie, a meddling mother all readers will understand, is off set by her practical husband Ira. Iranian-born Maryam Yazdan is the mother and widow at the heart of Digging to America, a novel about adoption and otherness. Any of these novels would make memorable reading, but reading them all reveals why Anne Tyler is a national treasure.
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Author Maureen Millea Smith is a librarian at the Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.
I dedicate this month’s wine to all the hard-working ladies out there in the wine industry. From California to France, Italy and beyond, the world of winemaking is no longer run by just men. I have always appreciated the style of female-made wines as they almost always display a sense of softness among their palates.
Spain’s Parés Baltà Winery located in the heart of Cava country, the Penedès wine growing region, brings a gorgeous example of this style with its sparkling brut. Winemakers Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas, are committed to making wines of quality. Loaded with notes of snappy green apple and pear, this wine perfectly gives way to a gorgeous salted lemon curd center, making it a perfect pairing to scones in the morning or roasted poultry on a Sunday evening. A wine so good, it’ll be on your ‘favorites’ list for months to come.
Since I write about music, I am going to write about someone who is near and dear to me, my mother, Jeanne Arland Peterson. Jeanne began playing piano at age 3 and was considered a child prodigy. She went on to sing and play for WCCO Radio, starting in the 1930s and later married Willie Peterson (first organist for the Minnesota Twins and pianist for Peggy Lee). Together they had 5 children, all who currently perform and record. Linda, Billy, Patty, Ricky and Paul. Jeanne’s recordings came about when her youngest son, Paul, invited her to record every song she knew in the studio one day. That resulted in three solo piano CDs, one of which is called My Calendar, and received critical acclaim. Other CDs are Young and Foolish, and 88 Grand which she released on her 88th birthday. Although Jeanne is no longer with us, her music lives on. Every time her music is played, I’m reminded of how amazing and gifted our mother truly was.
Author Patty Peterson is an award winning vocalist and Jazz 88, KBEM radio host.