Read, Drink, Listen

The monthly must-haves.

In The Night Guest, author Fiona McFarlane depicts how dementia has begun in main character Ruth. She knows the tiger she hears snuffling in her living room isn’t real. But it is thrilling. So is the unexpected appearance of a “carer,” sent by the government to Ruth’s isolated beach house. McFarlane brings warmth and encouragement to Ruth’s unkempt life, even helping Ruth connect with an old love from her youth. But can she protect Ruth from the predator that circles the house every night? Suspenseful and packed with insight about the vulnerability of being old, this is a knockout debut novel from a young Australian.  –Ann Woodbeck

Excelsior Bay Books, 36 Water St,.Excelsior 952.401.0932.

Ann Woodbeck has been a “bookseller extraordinaire” for Excelsior Bay Books for the past nine years. When not recommending the next great novel, she reads, writes and spends time with her husband and poodle in Excelsior.


Crafted by winemaker Kevin Kelley, the Salinia North Coast Blend was originally made for his own personal consumption. This unfiltered blend of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot gris was fermented in the skins, giving the wonderful, rusty-colored offering a rich mouthfeel. It shows subtle oxidized nuttiness while remaining fresh and balanced with stone-fruit aromatics and acidity. There is a wild balsamic note on the finish that makes this wine complex yet versatile with food. Try this wine with spicy Asian cuisine. Don’t worry: It’s supposed be cloudy! $29.99  –Tyler Melton

The Wine Shop, 17521 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka, 952.988.9463.

Tyler Melton is the manager of the Wine Shop. Sign up for their weekly recommendations by emailing and read their best seasonal drink pick on this page each month.


Periphery’s newest EP, Clear, is a solid, if somewhat uneven, snapshot of the band’s musical prowess. The songs, each one written by a different member of the band, run the gamut in styles and themes, from the punkish “Feed the Ground” to the industrially inspired “The Parade of Ashes.” But while the experiments are a fun diversion from the band’s norm, it’s the more-familiar passages of de-tuned and syncopated guitar blasts that will capture listeners the most. By the end of the EP-closer “Pale Aura” (the best song of the bunch, complete with a crescendo of an ending), you’ll be more than ready for the band’s next full-fledged effort, the much-hyped Juggernaut. –Alex Skjong

Barnes & Noble, 13131 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka, 952.546.2006.

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.