Home From the Vinyl Cafe: A Year Of Stories Paperback – Sep 29 2009
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As the storytelling host of CBC Radio's The Vinyl Café, Stuart McLean has become one of Canada's best-loved broadcasters. His tales are heartwarming and brimming with real-life humour, and the Vinyl Café collections are perennial best-sellers in Canada. Home from the Vinyl Café, the second in the series of stories collected from the show and the winner of the 1999 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, revisits the lives of Dave, owner of a downtown Toronto record store, his wife, Morley, and their children Stephanie and Sam.
The stories take the reader through a year in the life of the quirky family, beginning with the hilarious Christmas story "Dave Cooks a Turkey." Having forgotten his promise to buy the Christmas turkey, Dave finds a frozen one at an all-night convenience store and thaws it with a hair dryer (and a glass of scotch for him). "Emil" is the touching tale of a homeless man who, much to Dave's chagrin, shows up one day in front of the Vinyl Café wearing ripped pants and slippers. When Emil wins $10,000 in the lottery and gives $500 of it to Morley, she finds a way to return the money to him with little gifts and offerings. In the end, it's Emil who enriches the lives of Dave, Morley, and the children. Other subjects include summer camp, life at the cottage, music lessons, and one fiasco of a Christmas party at which all the parents stay strangely sober while the children accidentally get drunk. McLean's stories vibrate with warmth, laughter, and compassion. And because they had their beginnings in spoken storytelling, these slices of daily life are wonderful to read aloud with friends and family members of all generations. --Mark Frutkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Colloquial, interlocking stories chronicle the ups and downs of a suburban Toronto couple in this warm-hearted latest by Canadian author and broadcast personality McLean (Stories from the Vinyl Café). "Holland" considers the courtship and marriage of Dave, the owner of the eponymous record store, and his wife, Morley; early differences in perspective (she thinks eating raw onions is gross; he can't stand those frou-frou chive snippets in his eggs) lead them to a spontaneous skating trip to Holland to cement their romance. "Sourdough" concerns what happens when a neighbor asks Dave to baby-sit the starter for his precious sourdough bread; the sweet, charming "Burd" charts the consequences of Dave's decision to feed an unlikely avian visitor. Dave's daughter and niece enter the picture in subsequent stories, and McLean includes funny scenes about holiday dinners and road trips as well as poignant thoughts about the inevitable failing of Dave and Morley's parents. McLean's natural flair for storytelling helps overcome the limitations of the Lake Wobegonesque conceit, and while he reaches for overly cute, contrived humor in several entries, the overall package is highly enjoyable.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, if you have no idea who I'm talking about, you're in for a real treat. Stuart McLean is a humourist who speaks on the radio twice a week with his wonderful Canadian prose short narratives, which always manage to make me laugh out loud. I've bought a few of his tape collections so I can listen to them whenever I'd like; he's that good. You follow the lives of this small family through their idiosyncratic - and wonderfully Canadian - trials and laughs throughout this book.
Stephen Leacock award winner McLean has put together a wonderful collection here, and if you can get a copy, do.
It is important to note that this book is not out of print, it is merely published in Canada. You could get it through a Canadian source with no troubles.
If you do manage to find this title (I've got my fingers crossed for you), then beware - do not read this while on public transport or eating out. You'll be laughing out loud, long and hard, from the get-go.
The opening sequence is one of the funniest pieces of prose I've read in a long time; you will never look at Christmas dinner in the same light again.
McLean has an easy-going, conversational writing style that engages the reader immediately - he draws you in as a willing voyeur, anticipating the next hilarious calamity to strike the book's protagonist.
If you live in the north climes where it gets cold at night, the final sequence in the book will harken back your days of daring... ever stick your tongue to cold metal? Not so funny for the poor soul who dares such trickery, hilarious for those who're watching.
This book gets a big thumbs up - it's not a challenging read, but it's tremendous fun nonetheless!
The characters in it are lovable and recogizable. The teenage daughter in it was very much like my own teenager, and it was with relief and interest to see how other families interact with such a character. (Often with trepidation!)
The stories really are quite wonderful----I don't often laugh out loud whilst reading, but I certainly did with this book----so much so, that my husband checked my night table to make sure my tea cup actually did have tea in it, and not something a little more adult like.
A great book---I want all my friends and family to read it;however I am insisting that first they lend me a prized possession of theirs to be returned only when I get my book back.