Pick ‘n’ mix: Oh, the horror!

CoverI’m not a big fan of Halloween, to be honest – I don’t find the idea of sending your kids out to knock on strangers’ doors and demand things with the threat of violence in any way attractive.  I am also a wee bit of a wuss when it comes to horror at the movies – Hostel and Saw don’t really do it for me either; although I do have a great fondness for Asian horror movies, which have the ability to thoroughly unsettle me in a really enjoyable way, and without the so-called torture-porn approach of a lot of current Western-style films.

What I DO love is curling up with a book and a blankie and being scared silly by what I’m reading.  It’s hard to find good-quality horror writing (believe me, I know, I’ve looked; and I’m sure our library selectors would agree).  A lot of it is either silly, or rubbish, or really icky, and some is an unholy combination of all three …

So for those who want to get into the spirit of horror before Halloween, without having to resort to cutting holes in sheets and stocking up on pre-wrapped sweeties, here’s a pick ‘n’ mix selection of a few of my favourite horror writers.

FG Cottam is a recent find, and I particularly enjoyed The Waiting Room, which reminded me so much of one of my favourite episodes of Sapphire and Steel, it was like watching the series over again – a double bonus!  Beautifully written, with believable characters, Cottam’s books have the ability to unsettle and disturb while also being a great read, and I’m waving them at everyone I talk to at the moment.

Sarah Rayne’s Property of a Lady was another great read – I love horror books that feature houses as setting (and/or character), and I found this one really enjoyable too.  Clocks that wind themselves, mysterious rooms with heavy draperies, and unexplained footsteps in the attic are always good for a wee chill.

If, like me, you enjoy Asian horror, try Thomas Randall’s new series The Waking.  First in the series Dreams of the Dead is a genuinely creepy story of American teen Kara who moves to Japan with her father, and finds herself caught up in a supernatural mystery of missing girls, murderous school students, and Japanese demons.  Again, the writing is excellent, the characters warmly drawn and the authentic setting and atmosphere make these books a must-read, not just for teens but anyone who loves good horror.

And I can’t let you leave without talking about one of my favourite ever horror books.  Now over 50 years old, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House still has the power to keep me awake at night and disturb my peace of mind in the daytime. Don’t say I didn’t warn you …

Linwood Cemetery tours

pictureOur resident cemetery guru Richard Greenaway (a.k.a The Sexton) will be revealing the fascinating stories behind some of the people buried in Linwood Cemetery with two tours in October and November.

  • Saturday 29 October  ‘Up the hill’
    2pm – 3pm  A talk about the ‘high flyers’ buried ‘up the hill’ in Linwood Cemetery who have shaped our heritage as a community, city and country
    3pm Get help finding the location of your ancestors and ask about the work of the Friends.
    Note:  This tour has been designed for ease of walking although the entrance is steep.Meet at the Information Board in the cemetery near the Jollie St foot-entrance. Some chairs will be available.
    Gold coin donation for the Trust’s operational funds appreciated.
  • Saturday 5 November ‘Meet your neighbours’
    11am – An update on the Trust’s work.
    11.15am – A tour of interesting people which takes you all over Linwood Cemetery pointing out people who were good (or bad) neighbours and nevertheless shaped our community, Christchurch and New Zealand.
    12.30pm – Sausage sizzle and refreshments, or bring your own picnic.
    1pm – Get help finding the location of your ancestors and ask about the work of the Trust.
    Note:   This tour covers a long walking distance.
    Meet at the Linwood Cemetery Car Park, Butterfield Ave
    Some chairs will be available to carry on the tour.
    Gold coin donation for the Trust’s operational funds appreciated.

Richard is running these tours on behalf of the Friends of Linwood Cemetery – a great bunch of volunteers who work and advocate on behalf of the Cemetery. They run working bees, identify work needed in the cemetery and plan awareness raising events. Find out more about what they do and how to join them on their informative website.

Over the years we have built up some great online resources about Christchurch and other cemeteries. Our collection of resources about Linwood will give you maps, cemetery tours and a brief history.

It might not be Pere Lachaise but Linwood is a fascinating and tranquil corner of old Christchurch just waiting to be explored.

We are in the heart of your neighbourhood

photo of kite day at New BrightonThe past year has been a real test of our neighbourhoods.  Perhaps your street has been the scene of communal silt shovelling and chimney removal. Now there is a chance to get together and have some fun.

Every year the Christchurch City Council encourages streets and groups of neighbours to get together for some neighbourly activities like a street party, barbeque, garage sale, morning tea, neighbourhood cleanup and so on.

Celebrate Neighbourhood Week from Saturday 29 October to Sunday 6  November 2011.

It’s all about getting to know the people who live close to you and there’s no better place than your local library. Christchurch City Libraries are in the heart of your neighbourhood.

Our libraries are a great place to meet friends and neighbours.  Spend time at the library with family or friends, take part in one of our events or activities, share a conversation over coffee in one of our cafes, or talk to our staff if you need help or ideas to get more from your visit. If you’re visiting on your own, the library can be a great place to strike up a conversation with someone who shares the same interests as you.