Read, Drink, Listen

The monthly must-haves.


Plant a Pocket of Prairie by prolific children’s author Phyllis Root spins a lovely vision of a native prairie reborn that will enchant even the youngest reader. But the book offers much more through background on this endangered ecosystem, descriptions of the animals, birds and insects that an “upside-down forest” will attract, and directions on how to plant a pocket of prairie right where you are. If we all get started, encourages the author, eventually we might see “the prairie coming home.”   –Phyllis Alsdurf

A long-time Minnetonka resident, Phyllis Alsdurf is a journalism professor at Bethel University in St. Paul. She is the author the children’s book It’s Milking Time (Random House, 2012).

Excelsior Bay Books

36 Water St., Excelsior


If you’ve got an extra bottle of white or red wine rolling around your fridge, summer is the right time to use it! From sangria to spritzers, there are so many ways to drink wine. Try my favorite, white or red wine sangria. Take one bottle of wine, 1 cup of flavored soda, ½ cup peach vodka and ¼ cup brandy and combine in a pitcher; stir and add ice. Garnish with fresh berries to bring colors to each glass. –John Farrell III

12900 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka

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.


After 2013’s boldly titled Save Rock And Roll, a decidedly less-than-emo affair that ditched a focus on guitars and diary-entry lyrics for samples and drum machines, American Beauty/American Psycho thrusts Fall Out Boy squarely into the realm of radio pop. Now, the Chicago boys build huge choruses that sound more like Maroon 5 than the FOB of yore. Your appreciation may be a crapshoot, but your chances of escaping radio (and advertising) gold such as “Irresistible,” “Uma Thurman” and “Fourth of July” are anything but. –Alex Skjong

Find the album at:
Barnes & Noble
13131 Ridgedale Dr.

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.