In November 2008, David Rohde was a New York Times reporter when he was invited to interview a Taliban commander in Afghanistan and was subsequently kidnapped. A Rope and a Prayer: The Story of a Kidnapping, by Rohde and his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, is the fascinating story of his seven months in captivity, from the alternating perspectives of the husband and wife. The story of how the couple weathered such an unimaginable start to their life together is touching and inspirational, shedding light on those affected by international kidnapping in a way traditional news reporting never will. —Raela Schoenherr
Available at Excelsior Bay Books.
Raela Schoenherr is a fictions acquisitions editor at a Minnesota publishing company.
This month’s pick is the 2013 cabernet sauvignon from Substance winery in Columbia Valley, Washington. It’s a 100-percent cabernet sauvignon, aged in French oak barrels. This Washington state wine is much like its Napa Valley and Sonoma counterparts, but with a silkier, smoother side; it’s easy to drink and full-bodied yet refined. In particular, the 2013 release is full of velvety tannins, juicy red berries, and hints of vanilla. This one is terrific to pair with red meats and burgers this summer, since its full body helps it stand up to hearty foods. Drink it now, or lay it down for a couple years. $17.99. —Kevin Castellano
Available at Wayzata Wine and Spirits.
Kevin Castellano is the general manager of Wayzata Wine and Spirits and a respected lake-area wine and liquor expert.
Longtime Twin Cities mainstay Mason Jennings’ newest release, Wild Dark Metal, is an album for thinking. Sparse arrangement and colorful production draw the ear to Jennings’ lyrics, which are standard but well-crafted musings on love lost and not yet found. Those familiar with Jennings will recognize his Dylan-esque craftwork, too. The album is aptly named, as this singular tonality sounds perfectly wild, dark and metallic. The energy is not all lost in the dark, though: rocking tracks “Arma” and “Two Dollar Man” punctuate the midpoint of the album. Highlights: “Death Grips,” “Heaven,” “Two Dollar Man.” For fans of: Ryan Adams, The Black Keys, Wilco. —Tyler Phelps
The album is available on iTunes, at amazon.com and at local book and music stores.
Tyler Phelps is a local recording engineer and music producer. Connect with him on Facebook @tylerlouiephelps or on Instagram @phelps.ty.