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The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks (Vinyl Cafe essays)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  401 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
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 light-hearted opinion. Whether McLean is visiting a for ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Viking (first published October 1st 2010)
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Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-gots
I loved this book! Something to curl up with on a cold day with a hot mug of tea. Not the stories of Morley and Dave, this book covers the other side of McLean - the traveling-, working-, Canadian-, true-side. Sometimes funny, sometimes reflective, often insightful, each story is only about two or three pages long. Covering everything from the pleasures of curling to the quirkiness of a rug in McLean's office, you never know what you're going to get as you read through the sections, which makes ...more
Lino's Version
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks
Stuart McLean

All that I hope to say in books all that I ever hope to say is that I love the world ~ E.B. White

When you read a series of Stuart McLean stories you are likely to frown & laugh; learn & smile; think & ponder; remember & reminisce; and perhaps most of all grow wiser.
Patience, tolerance, humour and good grace will flow through – if you let it.
Doubt that Stuart was a saint – but then who is?
However we can learn from the sinners as well as t
Jodie Commons
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've been an avid listener to The Vinyl Cafe for years now. And upon hearing of Stuart McLean's death earlier this month, I've taken to revisiting some of his books. This one is one of my favourites. As it's non-fiction, and written in the style of a journal/diary, it gives the reader a tiny window into Stuart's thought process and into who he is at heart. Though in truth, if you're a fan of the show, you probably already have a pretty good idea about the latter. This book, for me anyway, is sor ...more
Paula Dembeck
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This volume published in 2010, is a collection of essays McLean wrote over a period of fifteen years originally intended for radio. He has edited and neatly organized these pieces into several chapters, all based on the theme of “notes” or thoughts on different topics. McLean is well known in Canada for his Dave and Morley stories about a family living in Toronto, but this book is more about the writer himself. It has a very different feel, with thoughts about his connections to his past, his we ...more
Tina Siegel
I miss Stuart McLean. I miss Dave and Morley, and the affection with which he shared their lives every week. I miss his appreciation for small pleasures, his love of minutia, his good heart, his over-all Canadian-ness.

So I was thrilled to find that there was still a book of his I hadn't read.

The Vinyl Cafe: Notebooks isn't a collection of stories. Rather, it's a series of essays that McLean wrote during his years with The Vinyl Cafe. Some of them aren't even that. Some are musings, or memories
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book, full of Stuart's funny moments and heart warming takes on life. He will be missed.
Salty Swift
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It doesn't take much to get me to weep over Stuart McLean stories. His immense love for our beautiful land (Canada) is evident in every single morsel.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I miss Stuart McLean. At one of his live shows I was selected as one of his helpers. I was so nervous but he was really kind. He even signed this book for me. I miss him. RIP Stuart McLean
Michelle Spear
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Delightfully charming! I smiled a lot and wiped away laugh-tears. I want more.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
generates lots of smiles
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it
I couldn't decide between two or three stars with this book, so I went with two and a half, which I rounded up to three out of respect for the author, of whom I am a fan.

To tell the truth, some of the notes near the beginning of the book made me grumble a bit. Like Salt of the Earth, where for some reason I was expecting McLean to write something along the lines of how salting the roads is bad. But he doesn't do this. He just mentions it, and the fact that to his neighbors, trying to keep the si
Ilya Ivanov
I discovered McLean via vinyl cafe stories on radio: idyllic short tales about life in small Canadian town. He has an incredible gift, through the nostalgia glasses he sees everything that happens around him and sort of around me too. I'm really grateful that he wrote this book and that I had a chance to read it.

Это такой канадский Гришковец и немножко мистер Роджерс с документальными зарисовками. У него удивительный дар, писать в тональности светлой и щемящей ностальгии о том, что происходит се
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
SUCH a great book of essays/stories! Very warm, very funny, very interesting - perfectly lovely. One of my favorites features a small independent bakery that helps readers appreciate the importance of these businesses and the people who depend on them whether for products, services or a paycheck. The business started out as a neighborhood co-op and few organically. Lots of great issues -- good stewardship of the land, paying people fairly, patronizing businesses that treat their employees fairly ...more
Annet Maurer
Oct 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
No Dave & Morley stories in this book - just Stuart's own essays. Short thoughts on a wide range of things. A very simple, fast read as most essays are only two pages of biggish font long. Now that we've seen him live, I really could "see" him reading them outloud and that made it fun. Marked a few as favourites. Overall a nice read to finish on a Sunday evening (I'd read a bunch of the stories much earlier and then hadn't picked it back up again).
I think I'm reading a bit now because of hol
Violet Sunflower
Vinyl Cafe Notebooks is a collection of essays of such variety of tone and subject that practically anybody could find something to their interests. From meditations on the symbolism of bridges to nutritional facts about watermelon, Stuart McLean explores the world with his signature spirit of childlike curiosity and eye for meaning. Stuart McLean is the only man alive who can make a reader laugh about poratoes, and tear up over the sight of two boys playing with an office chair. Whether you are ...more
Dayna Cunningham
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is my second time reading this collection of short stories by canadian storytelling genius Stuart McLean . It is the best book I have read in well over a year. I am really looking forward to sharing some of these stories with my high school English students. Stuart has a beautiful writing style and I find myself laughing, crying, laughing again, and wanting to share these little tid bits of humor with those around me. This book will make you feel great about life and all of the stories are ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Good ol' Stuart McLean ~ a Canadian treasure! I remember Sunday mornings as a young child my parents tuning into CBC's The Vinyl Cafe, and the hushes to be quiet and listen. Stuart McLean feels like a funny old friend, and to vicariously live through him and his stories is an adventure into uncontrollable laughter!

This book is filled with personal stories and gives the reader insight into Stuart McLean's upbringing and his own personal adventures. I loved the short stories and found many gems i
Dec 16, 2012 rated it liked it
I like Stuart McLean. Part of that is the fact that I have listened to him enough on the radio that as I read this collection of essays I could almost hear him reading to me. That lent itself to my enjoyment of The Vinyl Cafe Notebook. Granted not all of the essays resounded with me-his Ode to the Potato comes to mind, but most did what McLean does best. He sees the subtlety in the simple, the profound in the pedestrian, and more often than not watches you leave his tale with a smile on your fac ...more
Christina Vasilevski
It's a pleasant little book, but if you're a constant listener to the Vinyl Cafe, these stories won't seem new - they've been read aloud by Stuart during several of the live concerts broadcast on the radio.

Because the vignettes are so short, and because the dose of McLean's genial, distinctive, aw-shucks voice is so concentrated, it's not a book that's meant to be read like a typical novel or non-fiction book. End-to-end doesn't really work here. And yes, it is nearly impossible to read this boo
Kelly Osmond
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure about this McLean book when I figured out it wasn't about Dave and his family. But boy, this man can write! Short stories aren't generally my thing except for Dave ones but Mr. McLean's writing is so vivid and always hits close to home. I almost rated this a four until I read the Maynard story. Having grown up with a similar neighbour named Dukie in Williamswood, it brought back some great memories of a time when small, tight communities meant so much. RIP Maynard and Dukie!

Heather Martin
While I enjoy McLean's radio programs, I just can't get into his writing. I've tried reading a few of his books, and it just comes across to me as very "high school English teacher" (which, to be fair, he was a high school English teacher) in how he presents the written stories, and I lose interest. I think I'm also missing his radio-story delivery, which I'm sure would present these stories differently. Clearly, I just need to find an audio book narrated by him.
Feb 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
I didn't care for this book. I presumed it would be a book with more short stories about Dave and Morley but it is just stories from Stuart McLean's life. Not sure why he had the words "Vinyl Cafe" in the title because to me that indicates it's a continuation of his other books in the Dave/Morley series. It is well written. I just didn't find the stories that interesting.
B.j. Thompson
Feb 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ditched
Sorry to say this book by one of my most favourite authors didn't even catch a tiny bit of my attention. The short reflections on things in Stuart McLean's life were simply not the same as his hilarious stories about Dave and Morley.
Essay collection from Stuart McLean.

I gave up on this, it wasn't holding my attention. I might try again some day, nothing is really holding my attention as I am in the midst of wedding-planning madness.
Rose Bredenhof
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Relaxing and light reading. Very interesting stories! A mixture of funny and sad memoirs of different places in Canada and things the author has seen and experienced in his life.

I personally enjoy his writing style.
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved this book for the cravings of short reads that I get. Stuart Maclean's style of saying weaving his life in with his surroundings and the people he meets hooks you in from page one but allows you to put the book down when you've read to the end of that particular story by the next two pages.
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My only complaint with this is that is has nothing to do Vinyl Cafe (Dave & Morley)--it is a collection of personal essays from Stuart McLean. He is such an amazing writer, I loved every page of this book and was so sad to see it end. I wish he toured in Portland so I could see him live.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
such a good story teller - life recorder. he is like a WAY better, funnier, more clever Garrison Keilor type of Canadian.
Revealing personal insights from the man behind the stories.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love the vinyl cafe stories but somehow I love the personal anecdotes even more. Stuart McLean has a brilliant way of eliciting a rousing chorus of "me too!" with everything he writes.
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Librarian Note: There was more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

From the Vinyl Cafe web site: Stuart McLean was a best-selling author, award-winning journalist and humorist, and host of CBC Radio program The Vinyl Cafe.

Stuart began his broadcasting career making radio documentaries for CBC Radio's Sunday Morning. In 1979 he won an ACTRA award for Best Radio Documentary for
More about Stuart McLean

Other books in the series

Vinyl Cafe (7 books)
  • Stories from the Vinyl Cafe (Vinyl Cafe, #1)
  • Home From The Vinyl Cafe: A Year Of Stories (Vinyl Cafe, #2)
  • Vinyl Cafe Unplugged (Vinyl Cafe, #3)
  • Vinyl Cafe Diaries (Vinyl Cafe, #4)
  • Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe (Vinyl Cafe, #5)
  • Extreme Vinyl Cafe (Vinyl Cafe, #6)
  • Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe (Vinyl Cafe, #7)

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