Our book club held a Christmas book exchange in early December. Each member wrapped one of their favourite books for exchange. We had a great time unwrapping the books and I was lucky to receive Vinyl Cafe Turns the Page by Canadian author and journalist, Stuart McLean. This book is a delightful collection of short stories.
The short stories all revolve around Dave and Morley, their children Stephanie and Sam as well as a combination of family, friends and neighbours. Some of the stories are laugh out loud funny – for example Dave’s experience at a Yoga retreat where he accidentally signs up for cocktail hour (colonics) and ends up leaving 3 days early or when he and the neighbours experiment with the defibrillator ending up cooking beef the diner. Other stories are poignant examples of growing up (when Sam gets his first job or when Stephanie takes her first statistics class in university) or about parents growing older (when Helen moves in).
The book club had struggled to find a “happy” book to read in November and I wish that we had considered Vinyl Cafe (although I did enjoy Dewey the Library Cat after giving up on the obnoxious Furiously Happy). With all the short stories, we could have had a great discussion and a lot of laughs.
McLean does a great job creating easy to read, beautifully written stories. He reads these stories on the CBC so I think that I will be looking for these podcasts when I start commuting to work in January. He also travels across the country telling tales but is currently taking a break while he deals with health issues and I wish him well.