Beam me up Dr McCoy

Cover of Turm back your age clockPerhaps its my age, but I’ve been noticing an growing number of reports in the media about the in-roads science is making into the problems of aging. They’ve very recently discovered that a reversible protein deficiency causes age-related memory loss, that healthy living can reverse the aging process at a cellular level and body parts can now not only be grown in the laboratory, but they can be reproduced on a chip using a 3D printer, to test medicines.

It all brings forth the vision, long dreamed of by sci-fi writers, of much longer and healthier lives. Have a heart problem? Just plug in a new one. Losing your memory? Just let me give you a little injection of protein (note from me – could you get right onto that research please?)

So, all those books on reversing your age and increasing your longevity may not be just wishful thinking after all. The doctor demanding that you look at your diet and exercise regimes could be starting you in the road to rejuvenation and practicing yoga and meditation are starting to look age defying.

Will this all start us on the road to healthy living I ask myself, or will we carry on eating junk food and slouching in front of computers in the hope that injections and transplants will overcome our bad habits?

What do you think?

September’s fantasy newsletter

A small selection of the book covers from our September Fantasy newsletter.
Cover of The Arrivals by Melissa Marr Cover of Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik Cover of Blood Song by Anthony Ryan Cover of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon Cover of The Thousand Names by Django Wexler Cover of Written in Red by Anne Bishop
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Positive Ageing Expo – Monday 30 September 2013

South Learning CentreChristchurch City Libraries will be at the Positive Ageing Expo on Monday 30 September from 9.30am – 2.30pm at Papanui High School. Our mobile van will be there and we’ll showcase our online resources on DORA (mobile digital learning centre) – she will be parked by the van.

Age Concern Canterbury, in collaboration with Papanui High School, celebrates International Day of Older Persons with this Positive Ageing Expo. There will be over 110 exhibitors. Yvonne Palmer, Age Concern Canterbury’s Project Co-ordinator and organiser of the event. says:

The Expo provides a great opportunity for older people to learn more about the services and support available to them.

Come and visit us if you’re there!

The Breeze Walking Festival will put spring in step

Nancy Sinatra’s  boots are made for walking, however my boots are not. My sneakers are, and I’ll need good sneakers for The Breeze Walking Festival. This ten day festival features 25 walks across the city. The walks are graded, so you can choose anything from easy walks on flat terrain to hard walks on hills. Some walks are suitable for buggies; some are dog-friendly; all of them look like fun and will make a pleasant change from my usual walk through Bottle Lake Plantation.

Now I like winning stuff, though most of the time I can’t manage to win an argument.  During the Walking Festival, for every walk you do, you can enter a draw to win one of two prize packs from Stirling Sports.

The walks will be very social, so if you see me say hello.  I’ll be the one wearing white sneakers. It is quite possible that you will see me at the Halswell Quarry, or at The Groynes, or at the beach, or in the city, or…

You can pick up a brochure from any Christchurch City Library or Service Centre or download one [2MB PDF].

If The Breeze Walking festival has inspired you to take up walking:

This week in Christchurch history (23 September – 29 September)

23 September 1914
First Canterbury contingent sails on Tahiti and Athenic from Lyttelton for the war in Europe.

24 September 1881
Telephone exchange (the first in New Zealand) begins operation.

24 September 1960
Jellie Park Pool opens.

Charles Upham26 September 1945
Charles Hazlett Upham (born Christchurch 1908) awarded second V.C. for gallantry in the Western Desert, 1942. He won his previous award in Crete during May 1941.

26 September 1976
Orana Park Wildlife Reserve opens.

27 September 1853
160 years since the first meeting of the Provincial Council.

Christchurch chronology
A timeline of Christchurch events in
chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More September events in the Chronology.

Biography and Memoir: picks from our September newsletter

Some picks from our September Biography and Memoir newsletter:

Cover of Undercover CopCover of MansonCover of Kathleen and FrankCover of ShockedCover of Wear Your DreamsCover of The Black RussianCover of I Hate to Leave This Beautiful PlaceCover of How to Live to Be 22Cover of Tears of the Desert

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight from your inbox.

For more great biographies and memoirs, check out our lists of winners of  the Costa Biography Award.

Fiction A to Z: picks from our September newsletter

Some picks from our September Fiction A to Z  newsletter:

Cover of The Light in the RuinsCover of Children of the Jacaranda TreeCover of In The Summer TimeCover of The Impossible Lives of Greta WellsCover of The Last Days of the National CostumeCover of The Road between USCover of Amy Falls DownCover of The Emperor of ParisCover of The Elementals

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I want a shed

Cover of My Cool ShedIt’s spring and it seems like everyone is out in their sheds making stuff.  Brewing home brew, potting up the seedlings, making wooden toys for Christmas or just pottering around.  It’s not fair.

I want a shed. Why should men have all the fun? I think I’m missing out. Barbara Hepworth had a shed and so did Dylan Thomas. I read all about their sheds in My cool shed. I might have to make one, but I will have to visit a shed owner so I could borrow their tools. I love the old sheds that men have. They built them from recycled materials and didn’t have to worry too much about earthquake proof foundations and building codes. I think my husband would be happy to have my knitting wool and sewing machine relocated to a shed.

In my shed, I would escape from the ironing.  I could curl up with a good book,and enjoy a cup of tea with a jam tart.  I think my shed should have a big window with red curtains.  It would have a long bench for my craft UFOs (Unfinished Objects) and there would be lots of shelves for my bucket list books.

If you were to visit my shed at around 3 o’clock and I wasn’t there, you would find the key under the garden gnome.  The jam tarts will be in the tin labelled ‘buttons’.  Make yourself a cup of tea. I’ll be back soon.

Clement in his car: Picturing Canterbury

Car in Christchurch

Clement Talbot photographed outside Limes Hospital where the Christchurch Town Hall now stands.
The car is still buried under a concrete drive in North Beach.

Novel ideas from novelists

Rachael KingThe Press Christchurch Writers Festival event A novel idea at Christchurch Arts Festival was a corker. Author (and Christchurch Writers Festival literary director) Rachael King talked to novelists Stephanie Johnson, Sarah Laing, and Carl Nixon.

The authors read from their latest books. It worked well; each author was quite different in style and personality. They also had a lot to say about the creative process of writing.

Here are some quotable quotes:

There are more people writing novels than buying the bloody things. (Rachael)

Writing novels is like being a piece of fly paper. (Sarah)

Novels enable you to inhabit another person’s space … your own personality becomes richer and more informed. (Carl)

It is good to be struggling to find time to write. (Stephanie)

I have the rhythm of stories in my head. (Sarah)

Writers should have a really good bullshit detector. (Stephanie)

How about a quote from a character in a novel? Here’s Merle, from Stephanie’s novel The writing class:

The beauty of the novel in full sail will never be lost even though we are choking in a plume of electrical soot.

Sarah Laing, Carl Nixon and Stephanie Johnson

Cover of The Writing Class Cover of The virgin and the whale  Cover of The fall of light

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