All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr made the rounds at all the most prestigious literary awards in 2014 and is as deserving as they come. Beautiful prose mesmerizes as the story alternates between the lives of a French girl and an Austrian boy in the years leading up to and during World War II. Doerr’s research on wide-ranging topics ensures there’s something here to interest everyone. Ultimately, this heartbreaking look at the sacrifices and indomitability of human beings makes this book worth all the hype. —Raela Schoenherr
Available at Excelsior Bay Books.
Raela Schoenherr is a fiction acquisitions editor at a Minnesota publishing company and enjoys reading whenever and however possible. She also loves to chat books and writing on Twitter at @raelaschoenherr.
Once in a while, stars align and the right wine matches with great food. Here are some of my absolute favorites for food and wine pairings: A mushroom risotto with a bottle of Chateau des Mille Anges Bordeaux Blanc ($7.99); Cotes du Rhone Delas Saint-Esprit ($11) and any food with a char or sear marks, from grilled veggies to a big steak; Stack House Cabernet ($20) and sea salt chocolate caramels. (Decadent, and sometimes you deserve it!) —John Farrell III
Available at Haskell’s.
John Farrell III is the vice president of sales and merchandising for Haskell’s. His family business has been locally owned and operated since 1934.
There’s a decent chance the last time you heard Third Eye Blind was in 1997, right after definitely not crying in the theater during Titanic (it’s OK—I believe you). While the “Semi-Charmed Life” group has cranked out a steady string of releases since, the late-’90s-radio branding remains strong and those looking to relive a bit of pre-millennium rock could do worse than this latest effort, Dopamine EP. From the bouncy heart-spilling of “Everything Is Easy” to the steady roll of “Back to Zero,” the small collection of tunes certainly has hooks. How long you’ll remain on the line, however, will depend on your appreciation of Clinton-era radio waves. —Alex Skjong
Available at Barnes & Noble.
Alex Skjong has written for a number of publications in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Atlanta. He is a music lover first and an unreasonably tall human being second.