September Read, Drink, Listen

Expert picks for the best books, wine and music.


Back to school means back to book club. Kent Haruf’s novel, Our Souls at Night, can be read over a weekend, on the bus to work or as you wait in the parking lot to pick up the kids. Widow Addie Moore asks her neighbor, a widower named Louis Waters, if he would sleep next to her at night. They will talk and then sleep, that’s all. Addie surmises it will fight their loneliness and be better than pills. But when Louis is seen leaving Addie’s house in the morning, tongues begin to wag in the town of Holt, Colorado. This elegiac story is Haruf’s final work.
Available at Barnes and Noble

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


Finding the right wine for your style is a thing of beauty. Whether you buy wine based on label, price or my advice, have you ever really gotten down to what it is that you like about a particular wine? There are apps like Vivino and Delectable to help you log preferred wines, but the best way is to start your own wine diary. Keep track on Instagram, Pinterest or in a good old-fashioned notebook. Write down what you like or don’t like about a wine. Pay attention to elements like acidity, fruit, oak or even style, then start to find regions that drive certain components of your likes and dislikes. For a light-bodied, earthy, spicy red, try Friedrich Becker’s pinot noir (aka Spätburgunder) from Pfalz, Germany.
Available at France 44

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


Josh Groban’s voice makes my heart melt. I believe he has that effect on everyone. He has that innate ability to take a song–any song–and make it his own. His newest release is filled with selections from musicals, appropriately titled Stages. The opening song is “Pure Imagination” and features lush orchestration that transports you to a magical place. Kelly Clarkson joins him on Phantom of the Opera’s “All I Ask Of You” and their voices blend beautifully. “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz and “That Old Devil Moon” from Finian’s Rainbow are done with great passion, and the latter features Chris Botti on trumpet. My favorites are the medley of “Children Will Listen” from Into The Woods and “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd.
Available on iTunes

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