Madeleine Miller’s stunning novel Circe imagines the life of Circe, a goddess from Greek mythology, most recognized for her part in Homer’s The Odyssey. Miller writes in such a way that both mythology buffs and those with little to no interest in mythology can all appreciate her book. The story spans a thousand years, but the pacing is pitch-perfect, and readers will have a hard time tearing their attention away. Appearances by numerous familiar mythological characters flesh out the cast, but Circe’s journey from being a strange, powerless disappointment to her sun-god father and dangerously beautiful mother to a goddess who knows and appreciates her own worth while also owning her faults and weaknesses is far and away the highlight of this stand-out work of epic fiction.
Raela Schoenherr is an editor at a Minnesota publishing company. She loves to talk books and writing on Twitter at @raelaschoenherr.
For October, our wine is something unusual, and a must-try for any “cork dork” like me. The dessert wine category is often overlooked, and there are some really cool wines out there. One of my favorites is Royal Tokaji of Hungary. The Royal Tokaji Late Harvest is a great cap to any meal, and I’d enjoy it as dessert on its own. Tokaji region wines can be made from up to six varieties of grapes. This wine is sweet, but with good acidity and flavors of melon, honey, peach and subtle spices. This is also an excellent pairing with Asian food and compatible with an array of cheeses. Serve chilled; it comes in a great 500 ml bottle. $19.99.
Kevin Castellano is the general manager of Wayzata Wine and Spirits and a lake-area wine and liquor expert.
Courtney Barnett’s second solo effort is a complete rock record. It has a little bit of everything, but not too much of one thing. Tell Me How You Really Feel opens with a brooding organ on “Hopefulessness,” picking up momentum until the music is a literal kettle boiling. “City Looks Pretty” is a cool burner. “Nameless, Faceless” is a perfect witty single, which features a poignant quote from writer Margaret Atwood (“Men are scared that women will laugh at them. Women are scared that men will kill them.”). Barnett’s vocals are deadpan, mumbled in her Australian accent, and conjure the rambling spirit of Bob Dylan. She packs in the prose with Shakespearean ease, but still leaves space for the instrumentation. The album also features guest appearances by alt-rock greats Kim and Kelley Deal (Pixies, The Breeders). Check out Lotta Sea Lice, Barnett’s 2017 co-release with Kurt Vile, if you’re eager for more material.
Sean Schultz is a lifelong musician who enjoys consuming popular culture. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, new baby daughter and two dogs.
Read, Drink, Listen: October 2018