Books·Canadian

The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks

A collection of essays from Stuart McLean on all things Canada, drawn from 15 years of radio archives.

Stuart McLean

Selected from 15 years of radio show archives and re-edited by the author, this wonderfully eclectic essay collection gives a glimpse into the thoughtful mind at work behind The Vinyl Cafe. From meditations on peacekeeping to praise for the toothpick, The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks runs the gamut from considered argument to lighthearted opinion. Whether McLean is visiting a forgotten corner of the Canadian Shield, a big-city doughnut factory or Sir John A. Macdonald's gravesite, his observations are absorbing, unexpected and original. With thought-provoking proposals about the world we live in and introductions to the people he meets in his extensive travels across our country, The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks is informed by McLean's intimate relationship with Canada and Canadians. Yet the collection is also an intriguing look at the writer himself — his past, his present and his vision of the future. Sometimes funny, often wise and always entertaining, The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks is sure to provide a wealth of reading pleasure that fans will return to again and again. (From Penguin Canada)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

I was seven years old the afternoon I had my first piano lesson. My teacher was a young man from Scotland. His name was Mr. McLachlan. He wore tweed sports jackets and carried a soft leather briefcase, and, like the doctor and the bread man and the milkman back in those unhurried days of the mid-1950s, he came to the house.

Mr. McLachlan came once a week: Wednesday afternoons after school. He and I would go down to the basement, past the furnace and into the playroom my father had finished with blue-stained plywood and tiles. There was a blackboard on one wall, and a pretty good train set, and in the corner, an old upright piano.


From "The Piano" in The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks by Stuart McLean ©2010. Published by Penguin Canada.

Author interviews

now