Community Reader Profile: Barb McLean

Barb McLeanName: Barb McLean

Job Title: Cultural Development Officer, North Vancouver Arts Office

Best book I read in 2012: The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers.  A sweeping saga about a Jewish man and African American woman who meet and marry in the mid-1900’s and their extraordinary life as a mixed race family. The mutual love of music that drew them together is passed on to their children who they try to raise beyond time, beyond identity, steeped only in song. The joys, the technicalities and the challenges of music and the music business are described against the backdrop and turbulence of the civil rights movement. A fantastic read for musicians – especially singers!

I will read any book by: British author, Ian McEwen. Always intriguing, insightful and topical. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear him read from one of his books if he comes to town!

Best place to curl up with a book on a rainy day: A hot bubble bath – although I need to pay special attention steam and water depth when reading on my Kindle!

Best place to lounge with a book in the sun: Third Beach in Stanley Park on a hot sunny day is heaven and there’s ample opportunity for a refreshing dip in the ocean between chapters.

A book I know I should read, but haven’t: James Joyce, Ulysses. While it seems rather daunting, I’m told it’s well worth the journey!

A guilty pleasure favourite: I would maintain that Tom Wolfe’s latest novel Back to Blood, and the author’s use of ‘over the top’ characterizations, literary sound effects and sensationalist subject matter places him firmly in the guilty pleasure category.

The book I push on all my friends because it is soooooooo good: I loved Elizabeth Hay’s Late Nights on Air and have recommended it to many with much success. A less successful recommendation, but wonderful read, is The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss by Edmund de Waal a story of the author’s journey to discover his past by tracing the origins of a collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings, called netsuke.

Where you can find me:  You can find me and all of the services that the North Vancouver Arts Offices provides at

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