Meet the Linwood Library Team!

Kia ora koutou,

We - the library staff at Linwood Library - missed our wonderful customers when the library was closed! While we worked from home, we did a lot of interesting things including putting together booklists for you to help you find your next great read. As well as that, we put together a wee profile of who we are at Linwood, so you can get to know us better!

We are a diverse, unique group with different interests, life experiences and reading genres. Some of us have been around for a good while, others are relatively new but we all love books, and we all love to help you as best we can.

So without further ado: meet our team!


At my Place:

Missing work. Also missing travelling around Christchurch with Rafa, my toddler son. Rafa has discovered TV programs and I now know more nursery rhymes than I ever wanted to know. 

Time Spent:

Making sure that our bunny and Rafa do not hurt each other, or destroy the house. Long walks around the corner, we are lucky to have a leafy street. My time is spent in its (almost) entirety with my beloved son and hubby, we bake, we do gardening, read books and dance together every day.

Couch Time:

I just created a List with some of my best reads. If you have some time left I also recommend The Meaning of Life from Kanopy, it is a long and intense course, but totally worth it, if you are into this sort of search.

Mayra's favourite reads - digital edition

List created by LinwoodLibraryStaffPicks

These are some of the books that I have really enjoyed at different stages in my life. Some funny, some challenging, some emotional. I hope they stay with you after years of having read them, just like they did with me.

This is a story about love. Quote: "I was always hungry for love. Just once, I wanted to know what it was like to get my fill of it—to be fed so much love I couldn’t take any more." This book seems very dark and depressing, but the light comes out at the very end and you can see the sunshine through the clouds.

A funny novel about a poor young black girl from the slums of South Africa gifted with a rare intelligence, a quick wit and an uncanny capacity to easily manage situations and charm those she meets.

View Full List


At my Place:

Six 20-somethings in close quarter living,

But if we go outside the cops won't be forgiving!

Making our own fun while staying indoors,

Board games, movies, avoiding our chores.

Time Spent:

Watching the people outside walking by,

Strolls in the park and resisting hair dye.

My Book Shelf:

Lots of Young Adult Fiction, Historic Fiction and Fantasy. Non-Fiction wise, Medieval History, Folklore and Mythology and Women's History too!


The Knife of Never Letting Go
By Patrick Ness

One of my all time favourites, I would recommend this to everyone! Todd lives in a world in which every person and creature can hear the thoughts of one another. He lives his life amidst a constant cacophony until he stumbles upon something he didn’t think possible, a spot of complete silence.


By Terry Pratchett

This novel is a departure from Pratchett's usual disk world stories, an alternative history set in 1860. Following a tsunami, Mau, the last survivor of his nation and Daphne, a lone ship wreck survivor are seemingly the last two people in the world. This book is insightful, warm and of course hilarious!


Lady Macbeth
directed by William Oldroyd
This historic drama piece is beautifully shot and deeply unsettling. In 1865 Katherine, a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage, begins a sordid affair with a farm hand. I would recommend this film to anyone looking for a different sort of period drama to enjoy, one without unnecessary frills of dialogue.


At my place:

Lots of noise from a certain 6-year old, the rustling of lego, squeaks from the trampoline springs and late-autumn sun beaming through the windows.

Time spent:

Enjoying the sunshine, navigating home-schooling with my 6-year old and fantastic husband, family bike rides through the abandoned streets in the red zone, attempting to make sourdough, baking far too much for 3 people and soaking up the slower-paced lifestyle while we have it.

I've been reading:

Mostly Young Adult Fiction - I've been going on a mystery bender recently and have clocked up quite the completed pile.

Amy's YA Lockdown Reads

List created by craftyfoxac

While at home during the Level 4 lockdown I have been reading a variety of Young Adult Fiction - mostly Mystery or Thrillers.

A really cool book about how Ella can see peoples emotions in colours - Synesthesia. Her gift is put to the test when Alex shows up and tells her that her parent's deaths may not have been an accident. Intriguing and exciting.

This book is crazy! Focusing on Pete who is a maths prodigy but also has huge social anxiety and tics. Pete's mother is attacked and his sister disappears and he gets caught up in a spy mission where he doesn't know who to trust. He must use his skills to figure out what is going on. Fast paced and mind-bending.

View Full List


At my place:

Enjoying having the french doors open while I work with the sun streaming in and our neighbour playing his guitar and singing for the neighbourhood. I miss our Linwood customers and our book chat and craft groups.

Time spent:

Gardening, gardening, gardening! Walking the hills behind our house with our dog Cracker. He's having a wonderful time with us home.

Couch time:

Enjoying lots of Kanopy, Netfix and Season 3 of Killing Eve. I've finished all my physical books so listening to and reading ebooks through Libby and BorrowBox. I loved listening to Charlotte's Web read by the author himself.

I recommend:

For those with a connection to Heathcote Valley, check out the wonderful historic Gimblett photo collection held by Christchurch City Libraries.

Check out the eBook and eAudiobook recommendations by the Linwood team through our online staff picks shelf.

Suzanne's favourites. Bringing our Linwood Staff Picks shelf to your home.

List created by LinwoodLibraryStaffPicks

Linwood Staff Picks online. The following are books and authors that I have particularly enjoyed over the years.

Evocative, poetic, a story of love and renewal set in a brutal but enticing Newfoundland landscape. Other Annie Proulx titles available in e-book and e-audiobook format.

Gripping novelised account of the plight of four convicts stranded on the Snares Islands in the 1800s. New Zealand author. Several other excellent Charlotte Randall titles available in e-book format.

View Full List


At my place:

I've been going for walks around the hills above Lyttelton, hanging out with the family, catching up with friends on messenger, playing the guitar badly, working on art projects, listening to lots of loud heavy metal and drinking too many cups of tea!

Time spent:

Trying to homeschool the kids, working on book lists and projects for the library, exploring the amazing online resources that Christchurch City Libraries has to offer, and studying for my library diploma, all while drinking far too many cups of tea and listening to loud heavy metal.

Couch time:

I've been watching the web series adaptions of The Boys by Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and The Terror by Dan Simmons (all of of which are books we have at the library) on Amazon Prime, and watching lots of free streaming movies & docos on Kanopy and Beamafilm (got to love free movies from your library).

Re-reading Dracula by Bram Stoker and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, listening to lots of audio books and reading ebooks on Libby (I really enjoyed Christopher Lee reading Dennis Wheatley's classic The Devil Rides Out), and Borrowbox. I also managed to get out some books for the tween before the lockdown and we've both really enjoyed The Call by Peadar O'Guilan, The Whitby Witch series by Robin Jarvis, and The League of Beastly Dreadfuls by Holly Grant. The youngest has really been liking the Storytimes videos made by my awesome workmates!


At my place:

My dog cannot believe that I am home so much so she can follow me around the house (or follow the sun for nice sleeping spots), until I take her out for a long walk.  My cat doesn't seem to be so bothered by my presence, as long as I don't annoy her too much!

Time spent:

Working from home on small things, reading books and listening to audiobooks. Also I have recently discovered The Peter Crouch Podcast (an English footballer who has just recently retired this year). I listen to podcasts or audiobooks on my walks with my dog, or when I'm cleaning or doing the gardening or even baking!  (I seem to be doing more of all of the above at the moment, go figure).

Couch time:

Definitely reading, luckily I haven't run out of books yet.  Playing backgammon with my aunty via Facetime!  A throw-back to when I was young and we used to play together.  And this weekend I watched the 2012 FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Everton as I have been missing watching live sport (Liverpool won)! I hadn't seen the game on TV before as I was lucky enough to be at the game at Wembley in London in person.

Some all-time favourite reads!

List created by LinwoodLibraryStaffPicks

A mix of contemporary fiction, with a little mystery, speculative fiction and even poetry thrown in, on our virtual Linwood Library Staff Picks shelf!

A carefully crafted psychological thriller. Provocative prose that captivates, making it hard to stop reading. As Frances is faced with nearing the end of her life, she relives the summer that changed her life. Flitting between the past and present, she shares bit by bit the events of that fateful summer. Also available as an e-book.

A well-written, psychological and dark story about an aspiring novelist who will do anything to get his stories published. The story is told from the people he is closest to at different times in his life. Also available as an audiobook.

View Full List


At my place:

It’s one heck of a full house here but wouldn’t have it any other way.

Time spent:

Been bingeing all those Netflix shows that I usually don’t have time for. Spending quite a bit of time with whānau too (not by choice) 😉.

Couch time:

Currently reading some Paranormal Romance (ooooh)


J.R. Ward – Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood Series)

Dark Lover

Following the story of Wrath, the last purebred vampire on earth and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood this book is one hell of a rollercoaster of emotions. So, if you like vampires, some seki time and a whole lot of action then what are you waiting for? Read me!! 


At my place:

Working from the kitchen table has been tricky at times but in general I have enjoyed the slower pace of life.

Time spent:

Cooking the more time consuming things. One recent highlight was a 3000yr old recipe for hand pulled Biang Biang Szechaun noodles!
Walking and foraging for mushrooms is a favourite past time - so far I have scored a good harvest of porcini, shaggy inkcaps and puffballs.
Training for a post-lockdown 10k race.

Couch time:

I've been listening to a lot of podcasts in between work and other things. My go-to podcast for relaxation is BBC Desert Island Discs. The premise being that a notable person from musicians, actors, authors, athletes and poets choose 8 discs they would want to take if cast away to a desert island. You get to hear their music choices and beautiful, insightful stories from their lives. Personal favourites include Nile Rodgers from Chic, Lois Armstrong, David Nott - a war surgeon in Gaza, Lemm Sissay and Yoko Ono to name a few! Available on your podcast app.

You can also check out my lock-down list of reading and watching:

Holly's Lockdown List

List created by LinwoodLibraryStaffPicks

Here is a selection of some of the different things I've been watching, reading and listening to during this period of social distancing. All items can be accessed online using your library card. I hope you find something here to enjoy for yourself!

Set in the middle of the Southern Ocean, far away from the last accessible point by tourists coming in from Tasmania lies 'The Red Wheel' and the focus of this hugely descriptive novel on the terror and beauty of nature. Twice the size of Everest and only ever summited once by our billionaire protaganist, we follow his attempts to claim victory over this behemoth of the natural world and the unfolding realisation of presences bigger than his own inflated ego. Also available in audiobook.

George Orwell said of this novel written in the early 1900's "a book everyone should read" and that didn't go amiss in the working class areas of the UK for generations to come. Semi-autobiographical, this is a political commentary on the dark side of capitalism. Tressell, through the main protaganist Frank, sheds light on the disparity between the haves and have nots and attempts to enlighten his fellow workers as to the source of their woes. An anthemic novel for the working class.

View Full List


At my place:

A dream came true for our Lennie (cat)! Food and door openings on demand, persistent wake-up calls delivered at 7 am and guaranteed minute by minute attention.

Time spent:

Walking through the autumn leaves most days, a jam making lesson for my cousin outside her kitchen window, chats with passersby, neighbours, family and friends. Painted half a fence (o dear, paint is not available online)! Veges planted, new recipes tasted.  Lots more waiting to be done!

Couch time:

A nonfiction reading recommendation to keep you on the couch and a fascinating video link!

The Spy and the Traitor

This double agent is still alive today! Fascinating, breathless with the author racing you through the pages as you consider this man’s intellectuality and capacity to understand the psychology of his comrades and adversaries. How observant are you and what do notice?

Check out Access Video. Documentaries, films, how to, instructional and educational clips galore! There is a fascinating viewing experience here for everyone, have an explore and go on an adventure and share.

Non fiction: e resources

List created by Kaye2

Amazing people, fascinating lives! Ideas and experiences that astound!

An honest and heart felt story of her life and her relationships. Her private life revealed, from the veneer of the life of an actress to exposing the hardships, trauma and vulnerabilities she endured. A wonderful writer! Also available as a book.

View Full List


At my place:

My cat is happy to have everyone home! And it always seems to be snack time……..

Time spent:

Helping people with Skinny Jumps and connecting with friends.

Couch time:

Two booklists for you to check out - Twisty Mysteries and Fun Picture Books!

Twisty Mystery!

List created by akawendals

Fast paced mystery thrillers with a twist in the tale

View Full List

Smiles at Storytimes

List created by akawendals

Some of my favourite happy tales from Storytimes gone by.....

View Full List


At my place:

Spies, wizards and demolition crews vie for control while I get increasingly creative in my pursuit of a home office space.

Time spent:

Working with a laptop on my knee; escaping with the kids to the beach (is winter over already?); feeding hungry tummys…all...the…time.

Couch Time:

Can’t get enough of Rachel Cusk at the moment – started her Outline trilogy while in lockdown. An unnamed protagonist on a trip to Athens observes and listens to friends and strangers tell stories about their lives. Empathy without sentimentalism. It might not sound like a page turner but it’s totally engaging.


I managed to pick up the latest issue of the Surfer's Journal before lockdown, although I’m not sure it was quite enough of a distraction from 4 weeks out of the water! Hooray we made it to level 3!

The Surfer's Journal

If you haven’t checked it out yet – head over to Beamafilm. So many great titles including this local gem Stray - beautifully shot with a haunting Central Otago winter as the setting for two damaged souls.


At my place:

Different because usually we’d find someplace to swim, be tiki touring playgrounds or visiting parentals, broskis n cuzzurinos every other day… 

Time spent:

Working, studying & spending quality time with my lil’ fambams: Chatty McChatterson, Potterhead Gez, Cidermaker & Nemo Storm Blackler a.k.a Ezra, Georgia, Wade & Neems (our ginger tom)

Couch time:


This book is on the top five of my rereads series that led me to a lifelong devotion to the fantasy genre. Classic fantasy epic set in the world of Midkemia following orphan named Pug apprentice to a master magician. Unexpectedly, the peace of the Kingdom is destroyed as alien invaders swarm the land. Pug is swept up into the battle but for him and his warrior friend, Tomas, a journey into the unknown has only just begun.


Drama/Short ‧ 9 mins
A lost soul stumbles drunken through the city. In a park, Death finds him and shows him many things.


At my place:

My son returned from Australia a couple of days before lock down after living and working over there for the last 18 months. Do I need to say any more? There was no getting away from his happy mother who was so relieved to have him home safe and well. Not so happy for the neighbourhood cats who were chased away in favour of the neighbourhood birds. Their time being the boss of our lives and digging up my garden for the toilet came to a crashing end!

Time spent:

After 10 years of not riding a bike we dug out the old ones in the garage, inflated the tyres and gave it a go. At the end of Level 4 my partner and I had clocked up over 250km* and we are addicted. *We stayed local. It was liberating and inspiring. Rocking our fitness, suntans and the weather was perfect. Also lots of walking. We've learnt how to make tomato, feijoa and quince relish. And desserts! Crocheted two gorgeous rugs for two gorgeous friends. We decided to talk to three people a day and not the same ones day in, day out. Lots of gardening. We loved and embraced this time together.

Couch time:

I read Magda Szubanski's autobiographical novel Reckoning and Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris.


Cilka's Journey

Yes, OK I'm going to own this one. Binge watched Tiger King Netflix.

I'm a big podcast listener so have been catching up on old favourites - Mountain Murders on Spotify being my latest thing.   

I also recommend on Borrow Box A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I'm overwhelmed by this book especially after listening to it. A charming and memorable story that stays with you. 

A Gentleman in Moscow


At my place:

Our 3 year old has really enjoyed having us home all the time so there had been lots of baking, puzzles, hide and seek and colouring in.

Time spent:

We have finally finished off some home odd jobs and lots of gardening (more like pulling out weeds!).

Couch time:

I am currently reading The Break by Marion Keyes and The BFG by Roald Dahl as I never read this as a child. I’m only part way in for both and really enjoying them.

The Break



At my place:

I have really been enjoying reading more, making yummier meals, going for more walks and getting to those ‘little jobs’ on the house and the garden.

Time spent:

I have been using my kitchen table, the couch and the spare room as my new workspace which has a nice view to my garden through my windows and I make sure I do my exercises as somehow I end up moving around less than I usually do.

Couch time:

My favourite read during this time was The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didier-Laurent. Such an original and beautiful story, too short! One I grappled with, and persevered with, was Private Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte. The writing was amazing but the characters were a seriously sorry lot! I was also lucky enough to get my hands on Gregg Hurwitz latest Nowhere Man novel, Into the Fire. True to form, gripping to the last word! I prefer fiction to non-fiction but not because I don’t want to read non-fiction, it’s just so much easier to follow a great narrative and I really enjoy other people’s imagination.

The Reader on the 6.27

Private Citizens

Into the Fire


At my place:

  • The opportunity to get lots of fresh air
  • Enjoying not having shopping malls as a default outing destination

Time spent:

  • Lots more time spent with my five-year-old son (teaching him how to play chess, building forts, going on duck-finding missions)
  • Noodling on my guitar
  • Falling down YouTube wormholes

Couch time:

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