Stuart McLean is an avid reader of history

Stuart McLean has been on the road with The Vinyl Cafe since mid-November. He brings his Christmas show to Winnipeg on Monday November 25.
Stuart McLean spends a lot of time behind the mic. (Bruce J. Dynes)

He's an award winning journalist, a best selling author, and host of the CBC radio program called The Vinyl Cafe.

Stuart McLean has been on the road with The Vinyl Cafe since mid-November.  He wraps up his tour on Christmas Eve in Montreal. 

SCENE asked McLean if he had time to read and if so, what was on his reading pile:

My favourite two books this summer were Devil in the White City by Erik Larson and John Ralston Saul’s contribution to Penguin’s Extraordinary Canadians series about Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Knopf)
Larson’s book is an immaculately researched account of the struggle to build and organize the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  The story of the fair would have been enough in itself – it sparked the invention of the Ferris Wheel, and the introduction of Shredded Wheat, Juicy Fruit Gum, Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, the Pledge of Allegiance, and on and on;  but in alternating chapters Larson recounts the story of a serial killer who lived in Chicago at the time and who is eventually run down in Toronto of all places. It is a phenomenal read.
Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine & Robert Baldwin by John Ralston Saul (Penguin)
In his interpretation of the reform movements of the 1840s, Saul persuasively argues that Baldwin and LaFontaine were visionary figures in Canada’s journey to develop as an equitable and tolerant society. It is a stirring piece of history.

This autumn I have been carting around the massive Shields and Salerno account of the life of JD Salinger.  I suspect it represents the paper edit of their film, which I have (as of this writing) yet to see. I can’t wait.

Stuart McLean will feature new Dave & Morley stories and live music from the Good Lovelies at 7:30 on Monday November 25 at the Concert Hall in Winnipeg.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.