While summer is all about frothy beach reads, autumn is made for books you can really sink into. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom certainly fits the bill. This historical novel tells the stories of Lavinia, an orphaned Irish girl growing up on an American plantation, and Belle, the young slave woman who takes Lavinia under her wing at the plantation’s kitchen house. The novel illuminates a dark part of our country’s history, but Grissom’s well-developed characters will take hold of your heart. —Raela Schoenherr // Available at Excelsior Bay Books
Raela Schoenherr is a fictions acquisitions editor at a Minnesota publishing company. She also loves to talk books and writing on Twitter at @raelaschoenherr.
France’s Loire Valley is a diverse producer of excellent red, white and rosé wines. As you travel from west to east, you wind through the region’s cool climate and crisp, refreshing white wines, from dry to sweet. The Touraine region is known for its sauvignon blanc (or, as they label it, just “sauvignon”). Le Coeur de la Reine is crisp, aromatic and unoaked, with terrific acidity. There are citrus notes, with spiciness reminiscent of sancerre. These vines are planted in flinty soils, which give the wine great minerality. Pair it with any great sauvignon blanc matches, like ham, other pork and spicy dishes. $16.99. —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.
Lately, I’ve created my own personal Beatlemania, listening to the prolific band’s masterpieces. This month, I’m taking a look back at a timeless album, already reviewed into the ground (but for good reason). All Things Must Pass was George Harrison’s first true solo effort. After years of having his writing efforts pushed aside by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, in 1970 the “quiet Beatle” decided to present his back-catalog to the world. This triple LP features Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and other figures of late ‘60s pop music on sunny, introspective songs. The whole work shines. Highlights: “My Sweet Lord,” “Isn’t It a Pity.” For fans of: The Beatles, The Band, Bob Dylan. —Tyler Phelps // The album is available online and at local book and music stores.
Tyler Phelps is a local recording engineer and music producer. Follow him on Facebook