Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to The Happiness Project.
In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the 12 months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference. —Charlie Leonard
607 E. Lake St.
Besides being the owner of the Bookcase in Wayzata, the Twin Cities’ oldest independent bookstore, Charlie Leonard has been at various times a writer, editor and teacher, and is currently the founder and executive director of Blue Water Theatre Company in Plymouth.
August is the perfect month to sit back and sip on some bubbly. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to break the bank on a delicious sparkler—especially with a glass of Italian prosecco. Completely underrated and one of my favorite whites for summer, bubbly in the backyard is a must! Originating in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, prosecco is produced using the Charmat process, in which the wine undergoes its secondary fermentation in glass-lined tanks, then is bottled under pressure. This method produces smaller, longer lasting bubbles in a more delicate wine. One of my favorites is Primaterra Prosecco. This bubbly has a wonderful pale yellow color, with aromas of apple, pear and citrus. Enjoy with your next summer salad, or try it with some salty potato chips. —Ryan Sadowski
17521 Minnetonka Blvd.
Ryan Sadowski is the owner of The Wine Shop. Sign up for his weekly recommendations via email, and read his best seasonal wine pick on this page each month.
I never thought I’d describe an experimental electronic-ambient rock band as “accessible,” but that’s what Brooklyn four-piece Bear In Heaven flawlessly executes on Beast Rest Fourth Mouth, the band’s second LP. While similar outfits would content themselves with filling their songs threadbare parts with drum machines and excess synths, Bear In Heaven’s sound pulses with the energy of live percussion, real guitars, electronic accoutrements, and the melodic coos and shouts of Jon Philpot’s vocals. While there’s nary a dud in the album’s 10 tracks, highlights include the pleading “Lovesick Teenagers,” the relentless momentum of “Ultimate Satisfaction,” the blissed-out haze of “Dust Cloud,” and the full-circle curtain call of “Casual Goodbye.” Few bands can achieve the level of Beast Rest Fourth Mouth’s sonic diversity in an entire discography; Bear In Heaven does it in 40 minutes. —Jack Kentala
Band: Bear In Heaven
People: Jon Philpot
Album: Beast Rest Fourth Mouth (yes, that’s correct; it’s a play on “east, west, north, south”)
Songs: “Lovesick Teenagers,” “Ultimate Satisfaction,” “Dust Cloud,” “Casual Goodbye”
FIND THE ALBUM AT:
13131 Ridgedale Dr.
Jack Kentala, a local freelance writer/filmmaker/musician, haunts most Twin Cities indie rock shows. He’s the tall guy blocking your view of the stage. He also recently directed his second feature film, which will hit the festival circuit this year.